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Turbo is a city in the Antioquia region of Colombia.

Turbo itself doesn't have a lot to offer, and it's primary interest to travellers is its role as the place to get a boat to Capurganá, from where it is possible to get a boat to Puerto Obaldia in Panama.


The city itself has a population of just under 50,000, so there is stuff going on if you do decide to spend a few days here. There is a main plaza in the center of Turbo (Calle 100 and Carrera 13) and most of the shops and restaurants are within a few minutes walk of the plaza.

The docks where the boats leave from is just over the bridge from the main plaza, although you can find it just by following the smell; the water around the docks is a fetid, putrid mass of sludge that almost seems alive as it bubbles with the methane given off by decaying sewage.

More information on Turbo can be found on the city's government website :

Get in[edit]


Turbo is on the Pan-American highway, and there are regular buses here from Medellin. The ride from Medellin takes about 8 hours and costs 55,000 COP, but beware as the road is one of the worst main highways in Colombia, with frequent breaks in it due to landslides and much of it is not tarmacked. It is 330km to Medellin. The route to Cartagena lies along similarly low quality roadways, and it takes around 10 hours by bus via Monteria.


Fast boats to Turbo depart from Capurganá, further along the coast. The fare is COP$ 55,000, they also charge excess baggage at COP$ 500 per kilo over 10kg. Everything is weighed. The trip takes around two hours.

Get around[edit]

It is very easy to get around. Especially with the huge amount of motorcycle taxis in the city.

See[edit][add listing]

Do[edit][add listing]

Turbo has a beach (admittedly not a particularly nice one), about 15 minutes walk from the main plaza, crossing over a concrete bridge that affords a nice view of the surrounding mangrove swamps. If you don´t fancy the walk, there is a bus service, or you can get a taxi or motorcycle. There are a couple of nice bars on the beach, which faces west, so it's a great place to go and watch the sun set.

There's free WiFi with no password at what's called the park, right on the mainland-side of the little bridge that's leads to the docks. Its coverage works if sitting at the restaurant chairs there, and for some laptops from the balcony at Hostel Florencia right at the park. If going there again today and having issues from the balcony, I'd be happily willing to sit in a corner on the actual park, while I heard some story of some robbery, the impression I got is it's a very tranquil place.

Buy[edit][add listing]

There is a basic supermarket, and a veggies-fruit store, and a breads store with ordinary and sweet breads.

Eat[edit][add listing]

Drink[edit][add listing]

Sleep[edit][add listing]


  • Hotel 2000, Calle 101 N° 12-115 (A couple of minutes walk from the main plaza), 827 2333/827 2214 (fax: 827 5355). A good, clean hotel with rooms from 40,000 COP for a single (70,000 with AC) and 70,000 COP for a double (90,000 with AC).  edit
  • Hotel Playa Mar, Av. La Playa Turbo (On the main beach road at the far end, near the military barracks.), 827 2205/310 490 9250 (). A nice little hotel situated right on the beach, with rooms from 40,000 COP.  edit
  • Hotel Plataneras, Carrera 14 #100-48, Turbo, Antioquia (Only visible by a small entrance and LED-Sign above it.), +57 4 8276060. Central location, clean modern rooms, free internet and free computers to use in the lobby, nice personel. Double with private bathroom 65,000 COP with fan, 75,000 with AC [02/2014].  edit


  • Residencia Marcela, Carrera 14-B 110-54, 827 2487. Very simple and basic with rooms from 7,000 COP. By Aug 2012 8,000 COP.  edit
  • Residencia Turbo, (A few doors along from the Residencia Marcela). Very simple and basic with rooms from 7,000 COP.  edit

In addition to the above, there are a range of cheap hotels, just opposite the docks where the boats leave from :

  • Residencial El Guelfo, (Last one on the docks). Tiny and basic rooms which all have private bathrooms. Friendly staff. Single withtout TV : 14,000 COP / Single with TV : 18,000 COP.  edit

Stay safe[edit]


Get out[edit]

By Boat[edit]

Tickets for the boats go on sale from about 6am, with boats leaving up until just before midday; it´s advisable to get a ticket as early as possible to be certain of getting a place however. At least in low season, there is one daily boat only, in the morning at 08:30. The ticket office opens much earlier, at 06:30 or so.

The main operator seems to be Cootransflumar (872 9280). All these boats going at least in August, go from the building just right over the little bridge that leads to the docks and to the left, can't be missed.

A ticket to Capurganá costs 60,000 COP (july 2016), although be aware that you will also be required to pay 1,000 COP for every 2 kilos of luggage that you take when you board the boat (not always enforced). The ride to Capurganá is 2-3 hours of worth of concussion-inducing bumps as the launch jumps the waves, so be prepared before you go. You and your stuff are also likely to get wet, so take appropriate precautions like buying the large plastic bags that are available for sale on the docks. It's best to book your ticket the day before so your name is called early as they load the boat. Try to get a seat in the back on the port side of the boat for a more comfortable and drier ride. You can also tip one of the luggage boys to save you a good seat. It's worth it. You might also want to have rain gear ready. This with wild sea ought to be in the high season around December though. A traveler reported that an August journey had calm seas and was only rough at the bow (front) of the boat. Sitting on something thick and soft like 2-3 sweaters should alleviate the discomfort.

If you miss the boat to Capurgana in the morning in high season, there is another boat that leaves later to Acandi (35,000 COP), from which you can catch an additional boat to Capurgana in the afternoon (15,000 COP). In off season months such as August, availability is lower. The only one boat to Acandi leaves at 08:30 in low season, and it seems that there is only one boat to Capurgana, leaving very early.

Routes through Turbo
Puerto ObaldiaCapurgana  N noframe S  Medellin
CartagenaMonteria  NE noframe W  The Darien Gap

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