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Another day arrives in the Pacific town of Nuquí. Engulfed by the dark waters of nearby estuaries, the wooden huts built on stilts are only accessible by canoe. In the distance, a faint mist rises from a mangrove. Photojournalist Federico Ríos has been documenting the lives of the inhabitants of the Pacific as part of a visual roadtrip. From his base in Medellín, the journey to Nuquí can only be accomplished in a small plane, as road access remains impossible.

Nestled at the mouth of the Nuquí River, the community is home to fishermen and artisans. It is also a popular destination for eco travelers – especially during the much anticipated “whale season” which runs from July to October when grey humpbacks arrive in temperate Pacific waters to give birth. The proximity of the humpbacks to the shore not only draws in adventure seekers, but those who study the migration patterns of these giant mammals. As a result, many family-owned hostels operate in Nuquí and have embraced this community to foster employment and sustainable tourism practices. When in Nuquí, take a stroll along the volcanic sands of secluded beaches or bathe in the natural thermal springs of the Pacific’s lush rainforest. And there is always the thrill of catching the morning commute with the locals, in one of their elongated wooden canoes.

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