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Isla Gorgona

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South America : Colombia : Colombian Islands : Isla Gorgona
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The beach at Isla Gorgona

Isla Gorgona [1] is an island in the Pacific Ocean near Colombia.

Understand

Parque Nacional Natural Isla Gorgona is an small island 30 kilometres out of the Colombian coast.

History

It was a prison island, but now it is national park. Some of the prisons are converted into a research centre, accommodation and a restaurant. The rest is overgrown by jungle and can be visited.

Landscape

Flora and fauna

The island is covered with tropical forest. The island is famous for its poisonous snakes. Further inhabitants includes monkeys, endemic lizards, pelicans, blue footed boobies, frigate birds and more. The ocean is roamed by sea turtles, whales, whalesharks, whitetip sharks and a lot of other fish species.

From mid-june till novembre is whale season. Male humpback whales can be seen breaching while the females and their offspring come real close to the island at the surface to breath.

Climate

Warm and wet.gewd

Get in

There are three ways to get to Isla Gorgona

Via Buenaventura

There are several ways to get to the island by boat from Buenaventura. Cargo Ships, Dive Boats, and Launches. The Cargo Ships typically leave from the Muelle el Piñal in the afternoon (4pm -6pm) and are headed south towards Saltinga.

  • Bodega Lizcano (Muelle el Piñal), (2)2446106, has overcrowded cargoboats shippping food and wood to the southern part of the country. If there are enough passegners it makes the de-tour to the island. The one-way fair is C$80,000. It leaves at 4pm (but is usually late) and takes 10 hours. Reserve early.
  • M/N Discovery, (2)2446021/(2)2439540, Had tight cabins, and cargo destined for (bocas de) Satinga, and arrived at the island at 4:00 am (It left at 6pm, was supposed to leave at 4pm). The Captain asked us for COP$90,000 each, but we paid COP$150,000 for two.

There are other cargo ships at the Muelle el Piñal- tell the locals there you want to go to Gorgona and they will take you to whichever ship happens to be leaving that day(if any).

Launches are faster boats that take 4 hours. Boats can be arranged through Aviatur, or you can arrange it yourself.

  • Embarcaciones de Turismo "Asturias" , (2)2424620, (2)2415370. Reservations can be made on (2)2424521 or (2)2412738. Boats leave from Muelle Turistico' and the price is about C$200,000 two ways.
  • Pacifico Express, it has a speedboat for groups of atleast 10 persons. it takes 4~5 hours and the cost is about C$80,000 per person. For info and reservations contact the office in Cali (Centro commercial passeo de la 5a of. 225, tel (2)5548142) or in Buenaventura (2)2416507.

You can also arrange for a live aboard dive boat to take you to the islands. There are at least three different boats that visit the islands (depending on the season). They are typically weekend trips leaving from Buenaventura at 6pm Fridays, and returning 6am Monday morning, with approxamatly 6-7 dives around the island, visits to the islands sights, and are all inclusive of meals and park entry fees. These trips are about COP$890,000, and can be arranged through the various dive shops in Cali and Buenaventura.

Via Guapi

Guapi is only accessible by air. Aerolíneas Satena has flights from Cali. Contact them in Cali (2)8857709 - (2)885798 or in Guapi (2)8400547 - (2)8400313

Several companies have boats with a maximum capacity of 10 persons. The price is between C$350,000 anc C$400,000 for the 2 hour trip. Here is a list of contacts.

  • Ruber Aguiño: (2)8400329 - (2)8400208 - (2)8400004
  • Santiago Aguiño: (2)8400974 - (2)8400313
  • Adolfo Aguiño: (2)8400501 - (2)8400499
  • Plutarco Grueso - Rafael Grueso: (2)8400208 - (2)8400137 - (2)8400150
  • Rubén Antonio Montaño: (2)8400502
  • Juan Antonio Esupiñan: (2)8400196
  • Pacífico Express: Guapi (2)8400960, Buenaventura (2)2416507, Cali (2)5548142

Via El Charco

Taxi de Carga (2)6663042 has flights from Cali.

Contact Dagobert Paredes (in El Charco (2)7470177 - (2)7470091 or in Cali (2)3155605 ) for boats to the island. The capacity is 15 to 20 persons and cost C$500,000 one-way.


If your boat out of the island doesn't show up, you get a free night on the island.

It is not allowed to bring alcohol to the island. Bags are sometimes checked on entrance. Confiscated goods will be returned at your departure. On departure bags are sometimes checked for corals or endangered animal species.

Fees/Permits

The entrance to the park is COP$ 21.000 and has to be payed in advanced together with the cost of accommodation. Since January 2006, Aviatur has taken over the concession for Isla Gorgona. You can get your entry fee at any Aviatur location (there is one in Buenaventura, as well as locations in Cali (072) 6645050

Get around

Access to the park is restricted. You're only allowed without a guide on the area, called El Poblado between the accommodations and the dive shop. With a (free) guide it is possible to visit the former prison area and the one trail leading to the other side of the island.

See

Do

  • Diving is the main reason people visit this island. There is one dive shop. The prices are low and the equipment is what you expect for that price. The dive sites are amazing and it is likely you see seaturtles, moreens and whitefin sharks. If you are really lucky you might see a whale or a whaleshark. It's possible to do a PADI open water or a PADI advance courses.

Buy

There is nothing to buy on the island, so take everything you need with you.

Eat

There is only one restaurant. The meals are good, but prepare for lots of seafood and rice. A breakfast cost COP$4,000, lunch and dinner COP$11,500.

Drink

Sleep

Accommodation is in shared 4-person rooms and cost COP$30.000 a night and has to be paid in advanced.

Cope

Vaccination against yellow fever, tetanus and hepatitus B is recommended

There are several species of poisonous snakes on the island. Walking to playa Blanca and further is only allowed with guide and rubber boots (You can rent them at restaurant for COP$7000). After 5pm the it's advisable to wear rubber boots as well and use torches.

Get out

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