The tropical island of Isla Gorgona was the maximum security prison of Colombia, but since 1985 the Colombian government turned it into a national park. The island is fifty kilometers off the coast, which made it impossible for prisoners to escape. The island is an amazing natural reserve that has many different kind of wildlife including monkeys, lizards, birds and frogs, a perfect destination for travelers that love being in contact with nature. To visit the island, you have to book well in advance for accommodation to get a glimpse of this very special place because they only allow 80 people a day, so we recommend you to plan in advance your visit. There are plenty of activities to do there, including diving with turtles, white reef sharks and other big fishes. From May it’s possible to find whale sharks and giant manta rays, and from July to November is the humpback whale season that swim along the coast. Make sure to bring an umbrella and plastic bags for your belongings because it’s one of the wettest places of the world.
El Valle is surrounded by dense jungle and it’s slowly becoming a beach holiday town. There is plenty to do there, from diving, whale watching, surfing to fishing. It is also a turtle place, and from September to January baby turtles are hatching before beginning their journey into the ocean. You can also find a turtle sanctuary in the area. For animal lovers, there is also an opportunity to go to the place where the baby whales are playing. You can choose to do a day trip to the Utria Natural Park, hiring a tour that includes walking through the rain forest with exotic flowers, animal species and a crystal clear lagoon. This is a must see area that is better to visit any time between July and November.
The town of Ladrilleros doesn’t offered a great deal to do or see (although there are places to visit in the surrounding), and many streets are littered with garbage as there is no waste disposal infrastructure. In spite of that, beaches can be astonishing, so while being there, take a day trip to the Mangrove forest called La Sardinera or visit the 65 meter waterfall in the Bahia de Malaga. An interesting fact about this area is that over 80 percent of the whales passing South America are born in these waters.
This is a small island located 400 kilometers off the coast of Colombia and the home to many bird species. Isla Malpelo is a popular destination for divers from all over the world, attracted by the unparalleled shark population, with over 500 hammerhead sharks around. Silky sharks are often seen here and the rare smalltooth sand tiger shark have been also spotted a few times in its waters. The best way to get there is by doing liveaboard cruises. Stay at least 2 or 3 days around one of the best dive sites in the world.
If you want to enjoy great beaches surrounded by tropical forests, Nuqui is the perfect location. It has become a great destination for fishing and surfing. The amazingly pristine beach Olimpica is an outstretched paradise. Because the small town doesn’t have that much to offer, it is better to spend your time in hotels or ecolodges close to Nuqui. South of Nuqui is the town of Guachalito, known for having the best beaches of the pacific coast. Last but not least, the town of Jurubida is well of the beaten track but offers exciting plans like hot springs, canoes trips organized by the locals and boat trips to visit indigenous people in the jungle.
Bahia Solano is considered the best surfing spot in the country. This laid-back town is just 18 kilometers from El Valle and has deserted beaches and some of the finest ecolodges at the pacific coast. Get in touch with nature by visiting the botanical garden at Playa Mecana or do some exercise by walking to the El Tigre waterfall. If you are looking for more adventure, try the Boro Boro hike in the jungle that can take up to 6 hours.
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