Be it the 40-ton humpback whales you have always dreamed of, visiting natural swimming pools and mangroves or hiking the beaches and raw jungle with its lavish wildlife: you will find it in Bahía Malaga and Isla Gorgona. We recommend you to spend at least 2 to 3 nights here.
Humpback whales (also known as Yubarta whales): these giants turn up in the Pacific waters from (end of) June through October. They make an impressive journey of over 5500 miles (8850 kilometers) all the way from Antarctica in search of warmer currents to give birth to their babies. Sitting in a tiny boat at sea level, witnessing these whales jump from the sea surface is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Bahía Malaga (Uramba National Park)
Activities: at low tide you can hike to La Barra beach along the cliffs or at high tide it can be reached through a jungle trail. La Barra is the largest beach (2km) in the national park and it meets the mangrove swamps. You can also arrange surfing lessons or hiking, canoeing and sea kayaking trips with a tour guide. On those trips, you can visit small islands and beaches along Malaga Bay such as Tasqueros or Playa Dorada, mangroves and caves, swim in natural pools, and spot wildlife such as crabs, mollusks and birds.
La Sierpe waterfall: this 60m high waterfall scattering down in the Malaga Bay is a must see when the tide is high, so that you can swim in both salt and freshwater pools. Wounaan indigenous community: about half an hour walk from Ladrilleros beach, the indigenous people named Wounaan open their huts to visitors who would like to know more about their culture. They are known for palm handicrafts and weaving traditions.
San Cipriano: a visit to Bahía Malaga can be easily combined with a side trip to the little town of San Cipriano. Once cut off from civilization when the railway system was abandoned, you can nowadays only reach the town by way of a unique transportation system invented by the locals: small wooden open train carts called ‘brujitas’ using the railway tracks operated by either a hand-pumped cart or one attached to a motorbike. They will take you along lush scenery to a town of only a few streets, beautiful green river and rope bridges to cross it. Fun guaranteed!
Scuba diving/snorkeling: diving Gorgona’s coral reef and abundant marine life is a must if you have your license, as this island is one of the best diving destinations in Colombia. You will swim between large fishes and may even see whale sharks (July to September), humpback whales (July to October), white tip reef sharks, dolphins, turtles, eagle rays and giant mantas (May to July) to name a few. Night dives are also available. Snorkelers can enjoy colorful coral reefs. Best dive spots are the Yundigua aquarium, El Planchón or La Parguera.
Payán museum (abandoned prison): visit the dining room and bedrooms of the old jail, nowadays covered in green jungle leaves and branches. This site full of energy and history will give you an idea of how prisoners lived in their tropical hell. The museum tells the history of how the island was run as a penal colony and hosts some objects made by former prisoners.
Playa Palmeras: hike the island’s three trails – La Chonta, Pan and Playa Palmeras and spend some time at this beautiful beach. Guides are essential when walking trails, and you should be back at your lodge before 5pm as that is when the poisonous snakes wake up. Go swim and snorkel wherever you can, as chances are good that you will see turtles, dolphins and different kinds of fishes.