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Parque Nacional Natural Malpelo - National Park Buenaventura - Colombia

Admission: $50 per day

If you love diving, marine wildlife and exploring untouched nature, then it is worth  your time to arrange transportation from Buenaventura to the rocky island of Malpelo.

 

Located 322 kilometers (200 mi) off the coast, the tiny island is only 0.4 kilometers (0.25 mi) by 3.2 kilometers (2 mi), but the surrounding water is recognized as one of the best diving sites in the world (many say that it is similar to Cocos, Costa Rica). The diving sites include the Three Musketeers, La Gringa and the Alter of the Virgin. Divers have the opportunity to see Moray eels, dolphins, manta rays, white-tipped reef sharks, hammerheads, angelfish, starfish, whales, silky sharks and many other sea creatures.

 

In addition to life under the sea, Malpelo’s volcanic formations make it a wonder to behold and it is easy to believe why it’s referred to as one of Colombia’s treasures. The island is also home to a quarter of the world’s population of Nazca boobies.

 

Fishing is illegal within a 40-kilometer (25 mi) radius. In 2006, Malpelo was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. However, the wildlife, especially the sharks, are still considered in danger.

 

In order to visit Malpelo, you must book a package tour through either the Fundación Malpelo (Malpelo Foundation) or through La Oficina de Ecoturismo en Parques Nacionales (the Office of Ecotourism in the National Parks office). Three ships go to the island from Colombia: Nemo (a catamaran), Maria Patricia and Sea Wolf; the ride takes 36 hours. Trips are for a minimum of eight days and cost between $2,000-3,500. All nationals and foreigners must get permission to go to the park from the offices of Parques Naturales Nacionales de Colombia in Bogotá. Boats also leave from Panama; see www.inula-diving.com or www.coibadiveexpeditions.com/coiba for more information on this alternative option.

 

For more information about Malpelo’s surrounding waters, check out www.fundacionmalpelo.org. Fundación Malpelo has an office in Bogotá (Cra. 7, 32-33, 27th floor. Tel: 285-0700/0701).

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