ColombiaOne.comEnvironmentGorgona Island: Colombia's Biodiversity Oasis in the Pacific

Gorgona Island: Colombia’s Biodiversity Oasis in the Pacific


Gorgona Island Colombia
Gorgona Island, with its lush rainforests, abundant marine life, and captivating history, stands as a testament to the enduring beauty of Colombia’s natural landscapes. Credit: AVIATUR/CC BY-SA 3.0

Washed by the emerald waters of the Pacific Ocean off the western coast of Colombia, Gorgona Island is a pristine and secluded paradise that boasts some of the country’s most breathtaking natural beauty. This remote island, often overshadowed by its more famous counterparts in the Caribbean, holds a unique charm that captivates those who seek to explore its wonders.

Gorgona Island, also known as “Isla Gorgona,” is a tropical haven of approximately 27 square kilometers. It forms part of the Choco region, a coastal area known for its lush rainforests, abundant biodiversity, and dramatic landscapes. This island paradise is renowned for its rich and diverse ecosystems, making it a natural sanctuary like no other.

A History of Isolation

The history of Gorgona Island is a blend of enchantment and isolation. Originally inhabited by indigenous communities, it later became a notorious penal colony. For decades, it housed some of Colombia’s most dangerous criminals, shrouding the island in an aura of mystery and intrigue. However, in 1984, the prison was closed, allowing nature to reclaim its territory.

Biodiversity Extravaganza

What truly sets Gorgona Island apart is its unparalleled biodiversity. The island is part of the Gorgona National Natural Park, a protected area established to preserve its unique ecosystems. Visitors can explore lush rainforests teeming with wildlife, including howler monkeys, iguanas, and an array of bird species.

Gorgona Island Colombia
The Gorgona blue lizard is an amazing reptile found only on Gorgona Island in the Colombian Pacific. Credit: Diego Gomez/CC BY-NC 2.0

The surrounding waters are equally mesmerizing, home to a dazzling array of marine life. Snorkelers and divers can encounter colorful coral reefs, sea turtles, and a plethora of tropical fish. Gorgona is also one of the few places on Earth where you can witness the annual migration of humpback whales, an awe-inspiring natural spectacle.

An Eco-Traveler’s Dream

Gorgona Island offers a paradise for eco-travelers and nature enthusiasts. The absence of large resorts and tourist crowds enhances the sense of solitude and tranquility. Visitors can explore the island’s pristine beaches, hike through its dense rainforests, and dive into the crystal-clear waters to discover the wonders beneath the surface.

Gorgona Island Colombia
Gorgona Island, in the Colombian Pacific, is recognized nationally and internationally as a unique site that is home to a wide variety of fauna and flora, framed in a landscape that combines the marine and terrestrial environment in a particular way. Credit: Your local connection/CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Practical Considerations

Access to Gorgona Island is regulated to protect its fragile ecosystems. Visitors typically arrive by boat from the nearby town of Buenaventura on Colombia’s mainland. Accommodation on the island is limited, with basic lodges and cabins available for those seeking an immersive natural experience.

Preserving Paradise

While Gorgona Island’s allure is undeniable, it is essential to approach this ecological wonder with care and respect. The delicate ecosystems and diverse wildlife require responsible tourism practices to ensure their protection for generations to come.

Gorgona Island, with its lush rainforests, abundant marine life, and captivating history, stands as a testament to the enduring beauty of Colombia’s natural landscapes. For those seeking an off-the-beaten-path adventure and a chance to connect with nature in its purest form, Gorgona Island remains one of Colombia’s best-kept secrets—a hidden gem waiting to be discovered.

See all the latest news from Colombia and the world at Contact our newsroom to report an update or send your story, photos and videos. Follow Colombia One on Google News, Facebook, Instagram, and subscribe here to our newsletter.