Is it worth visiting or camping at the Butterfly Valley?
Short answer: NO!
We were in search for a small remote place on a beach to set up our tent and pitch up for a few nights. Surrounded by like-minded people, sitting around bonfires, eating bonfire cooked meals and sharing travel stories. This, we didn’t find at the Butterfly Valley, like we had hoped. Instead, we found a group of angry old retired hippies, some pretentious backpackers and an extremely overpriced camping ground.
Upon arrival I was instantly disappointed. What I had imagined to be a long stretch of a white sandy bay, peaceful and relaxing, was littered with large, selfie taking tourist boats, continuously docking up to unleash swarms of tourists to prowl around the pebbled beach. On the plus side, with the over population of tourist we blended in with our backpackers and therefor hoped we would secretly pitch our tent and blend into the scenery unnoticed. This worked for the first few hours of the day when we sat and relaxed under the warm sun. No one approached us, there was a small tourist desk set up at the restaurant but it was unsure if all the rents around were paid or not. As the sky turned to a beautiful array of bright earthly colours, and the sun sunk into the ocean, we thought it was safe enough to pitch up our tent.
We felt a little unsure in our tent, if we were meant to have paid or could get away with our wild camping like we normally do. I had read online, or so I thought, that it was safe and legal to camp there, and that the place was full of like-minded hippies. As we sat in the tent and a light shinned through with someone yelling strange Turkish at us, we guessed it wasn’t okay. As I hid in the tent, Tyral sorted it out with a pissed off ‘volunteer’. Tyral informed him no one bothered to check up on us all day, and they walked passed us numerous times and said hello, without even bothering to stop and ask for our registration. The volunteer wanted 180TL, for the two of us to sleep in our own tent (about $75AUD!).
Tyral managed to haggle him down to 80TL, but that was still 20AUD a night, the same price we paid to stay in a nice fancy hotel back on the beach of Oludeniz a week later. It was a complete flop of an operation. These so called ‘hippies’ were a bunch of money making mean ex-travellers mixed with some young pretentious travellers who stayed for free, did no work but lay on the beach and occasionally check people in at the desk.
It turns out, the hippy commune we were searching for was the illegal camp sight we had slept at the first night. On the left side of the popular tourist beach is a small collections of tents with Turkish campers. We joined the community of campers who welcomed us with open arms and pitched our tent for six nights. We met the funniest two Turkish guys from Istanbul, who we spent the whole week with and are now two of our greatest friends we met on this trip. On this popular tourist beach for about a week there was constantly 7 or so tents set up in plain view to the public. We didn’t bother anyone and no one bothered us. If you are planning on camping along the South coast of Turkey, give the butterfly valley a miss. It’s over rated, the tourist beach that looks like a small version of Vegas surprisingly is the better option for campers.
Visit is still worth it, it is a really beautiful spot and the waterfall is a nice walk. Just be warned what you are walking yourself into, and be willing to pay a lot of money if you want to camp.
The day tour boats are a lot of fun although you get dropped at the same time about a hundred other tourists, and you don’t get enough time to do the visit the waterfall. However you can take a ferry that takes you directly to and from the valley. It’s 20TL just for the ferry, and you can score a days trip through all the islands with lunch included for the same price. Personally, I would recommend this. Although I don’t always love tours, it is a really fun and cheap day out.