Colombian Islands: Top-5 Destinations in Colombia
Although just a decade ago Colombia was considered a dangerous spot and only a few tourists risked visiting it, times changed, and since 2016, Colombia has gone far in the development of its tourism industry.
Most people know Colombia for its incredible coffee beans and flowers, which are exported worldwide. Besides, you probably heard about the cultural and historical value of Colombian cities Bogotá and Cartagena. Yet, Colombia is more than these sites. Let’s discover one of the brightest sides of touristic Colombia – namely, Colombian islands.
A Brief Information About Islands in Colombia: Climate, Location, and Interesting Facts
Do you know that Colombia, although it is mostly a mainland country, has two coastlines, the Caribbean and the Pacific, which are 2,600 km long? And it is quite logical that it has some islands along these coastlines.
Yet, do you know that the total number of islands in Colombia is 74? Let’s consider some facts about them before deciding which of them is the best for tourists.
- There is even an insular region in Colombia.
- Colombian island Santa Cruz de Islote is one of the most densely populated islands in the world.
- Colombian islands are diverse in their climatic conditions. The Pacific islands of Colombia are covered with tropical rainforests while the Atlantic islands are more diverse in their landscapes with grass fields, forests, hills, and sandy shores.
- Almost every island in Colombia is located in the tropical climate zone with hot weather all year long and average temperatures are from +24 C to +35 C.
With the diversity of islands and directions, Colombia offers great tourist opportunities. And now it’s time to consider which islands of Colombia suit your vacation plans best.
5 Best Destinations Among Colombian Islands
To make your choice of destination among Colombian islands as diverse as possible, we considered adding to our top-5 list 2 Atlantic islands, 2 Pacific islands, and even one unique Amazon island which belongs to Colombia.
San Andrés Island – the Most Popular Destination in the Insular Region of Columbia
This is a bestselling tourist destination, awarded by World Travel Awards for the best sun and beach destination at least thrice! San Andrés is the biggest Colombian isle in the Archipelago of San Andrés, Providencia, and Santa Catalina. It is famous for its well-developed tourist infrastructure with multiple beach hotels, resorts, and bungalows.
The best ideas for San Andrés vacations are as follows:
- Enjoy sunbathing and beach activities on San Andrés beaches, which are among the best ones of the Caribbean basin.
- Try exceptional scuba diving options offered by local companies. San Andrés is located near a spectacular coral reef with a diverse underwater life.
- Boat trips to nearby islands are also among the best ideas on how to spend time in San Andrés.
- Golf cart trips are the best way to explore the island and get to its most distant places where no tourist crowds gather.
You can get to San Andrés not only from Bogotá. It also attracts tourists with the opportunities to fly directly from Panama and Miami, FL.
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Isla Baru – a Hot Spot for Beach Vacation Lovers and Birdwatchers
Isla Baru is not as big as San Andrés, but it attracts tourists for multiple reasons. It is a part of the Rosario Islands archipelago, which is close to Cartagena City in the Caribbean basin. What makes Isla Baru an attractive destination among Colombian islands?
- Its Playa Blanca beach zone is among the best beach amenities in the whole region. People go there to enjoy white sand and warm sea waters.
The nature sites of the island are amazing. You can enjoy the contrast of its azure coastline and mangroves, rainforests in the south part, and sandy beaches in the north. So, you can go hiking or plan boat trips around the island to look at nature’s wonders.
- This island is a great sport for water sports lovers. Isla Baru offers great opportunities for kitesurfing, snorkeling, and kayaking.
- Birdwatchers also make Isla Baru their hot spot. The island’s Aviary is the homeland for over 170 species of birds, including tropical birds and flamingos.
Moving to the Pacific: Isla Gorgona
Isla Gorgona or the Gorgona Island is situated 28 km from the Pacific coastline of Colombia. Despite it is only 10 sq. miles, it provides an exceptional experience for tourists. The island is famous for its historical heritage which consists of the invasion of the Kuna people, the conquistador period, pirates conquering, etc. Besides, you have multiple options on what to do on Gorgona Island:
- Enjoy its fantastic sites which look like fabulous Indiana Jones movies. The island has three hiking trails to explore and each of them offers exceptional tropical forest sites.
- Stay in the island’s lodge to enjoy ecotourism in its essence. The island can accommodate only 80 guests, so you won’t suffer from crowds of tourists there. Gorgona Island is a good place for glamping and ecotourism.
- Watch the incredible humpback whale migration during the boat trip. Humpback whales make Gorgona Island their home during their mating season.
- Explore local underwater life because Gorgona Island as well as its neighbor Malpelo Island is a perfect place for scuba diving and underwater photography.
Do not forget about the requirement to get permission to visit the island because Gorgona is a National Natural Park.
Malpelo Island – a UNESCO Heritage Island
Malpelo is a secluded island 310 miles west of the Pacific coast of Colombia. At a glance, it looks almost vegetation-free but in reality. Malpelo is a cradle for lots of unique algae and mosses.
The island is of volcanic origin, covered with lava fields. It was considered a UNESCO heritage site due to its unique wildlife. Malpelo hosts unique crabs and bird populations and its waters are full of various kinds of sharks including endangered whale sharks, hammerheads, and silk sharks. There are no tourist accommodations in Malpelo but you can go there to enjoy birdwatching and diving with one of the local diving companies.
Isla De Los Micos – a Monkey Island in the Amazon Area
The last island on our list doesn’t belong to the Pacific or Caribbean basins. It is situated in the middle of the Amazon River in south Colombia. The island has a unique population of squirrel monkeys you can interact with during your trip to the Isla de los Micos. Besides, you can also enjoy watching pink dolphins living in the Amazon, go kayaking or simply discover the uniqueness of local nature.
The diversity of Colombian islands amazes even sophisticated tourists. They provide tourists with outstanding opportunities from casual beach vacations and romantic glamping experiences to extreme shark diving and Indiana Jones-style adventures in local nature parks.