December 17, 2021, 4:36 pm
Gorgona National Park is made up of two islands, Gorgona and Gorgonilla, off the coast of Colombia. It rises to 330 meters above sea level or just under 1,100 feet. It's over 600 square kilometres or just under 240 square miles. While this island is not huge, it has a remarkable history and diverse ecosystem.
When these islands were first discovered by European explorers, they were named after the Gorgons or female monsters of Greek mythology due to the many fascinating snakes. There are signs of a 13th-century settlement as well. Later, this island was turned into a maximum-security prison and heavily logged. However, in 1984 the prison was closed, and the island was turned into a living laboratory open for ecotourism.
Gorgona is not just bliss for the scientists who visit to study the unique species of this island, but also a paradise for all its visitors, especially travellers and the ones who love nature. A trip to Gorgona is surely not easy to forget!
Tourism of Gorgona
The Gorgona National Park is an amazing place to study the science of reforestation. While eco-tourists are welcome, this is not a place in which you can lounge on the beach. With binoculars, you can enjoy watching birds, whales, and many other animals from approved trails and water passages.
Before you try to swim anywhere, it is recommended to get approval. Beware that you may need to get shots to protect yourself against tetanus and yellow fever before your visit. Depending on what you want to see, travellers should be aware that the island is temperate all year round. Whales can be seen from touring boats and approved beaches from June to August.
While this island was once an accursed place of torment as it was a prison before, since 1984 it has been a haven for those who love being around nature!
Reasons to Visit Gorgona
You'll find great diving off the coast of Gorgona. This UNESCO protected island offers snorkelers and divers a view of mantas, whale sharks, reef sharks, and groupers. Starting in June, you can see humpback whales breaching the water. They move on in October, so you'll have plenty of time to view from both under the water and from a tour boat.
You can make Gorgona your first dive thanks to great instructors and rental gear. You should be aware that nothing on Gorgona is set up to offer tourists any luxuries. There is a museum of the old prison and there are elevated walking trails, but this island is a sanctuary and a place of study. Birders will find plenty to study as they approach the shore. Be aware that animals of Gorgona can be observed, but they should never be approached, startled, or challenged in any way.
You would be convinced by now to plan your next trip to Gorgona Island, let me get you more excited about this trip!
Places to Visit in Gorgona
Plan to spend some time at the museum of when this area was a terrifying prison. The level of deforestation on this island was extreme and the progress has been remarkable. Near the shore, make sure you enjoy at least one hike along an approved beach. If you can tolerate a harder climb, there are many stairs and jungle walkways that will allow you to use your binoculars to their best effect.
Flora and Fauna in Gorgona
This island was once nearly deforested. It is now 85% covered by tropical forests. Because this island is under study, visitors are allowed to look without touching, and never taste anything growing on this island. Again, be prepared to use your binoculars, and if you want to take photos, but please turn off your flash.
The mosquitoes will definitely find you, but the birds love them so they are worth the bother! There are many native snakes on Gorgona, and several varieties of crabs, snails, and sea stars. If at all possible, take a cruise and a diving or snorkelling class with a professional guide who can get you to the coral reef!
Fun Things to do in Gorgona
Gorgona is not just all about its Flora and Fauna, there are other amazingly fun things to do in Gorgona too!
Hiking, bird watching, diving, and snorkelling are always fun on Gorgona. This is a tropical island, so it's best to gear up properly for your time in the park. While it will be warm, you would do well to wear shoes that will clear mud and breathe; the soil can get slippery after rain. Wicking socks to keep your feet as dry as possible are also a good choice.
Take a driving class or start with some snorkelling to discover the coastal magic of this island.
How to Reach Gorgona
You have three options to get to the beautiful Gorgona Island. The first is to take a boat to Isla Gorgona from Guapi, the municipality department of Cauca. This boat trip consumes around an hour and a half, as it leaves the Guapi River and travels into the open sea. To get to Guapi, you can take a bus from Cali or Popayan.
The second option is to take a speed boat to Isla Gorgona from the port of Buenaventura, which is in the Valle del Cauca. This is a round trip to Gorgona Island and costs around 245,000 COP. The third option is to take a boat from Buenaventura to Gorgona Island. This trip is a bit slower as it lasts around 12 hours and the tickets cost around 150,000 COP.
There are no overnight stays in Gorgona for tourists. There are also no restaurants, so carefully review the rules of what materials are welcome on the island and what products you'll need to leave behind. It will be quite humid and can get very warm on a hike, so be prepared to haul in quite a lot of water.
Even though you'll be roughing it during the day, you can dine and rest in luxury after your tour is done. Consider a stay at the Hotel Parque Nacional Gorgona, which faces the island and has great beach access.
- Hiking shoes with a strong tread
- Wicking socks
- Long nylon pants that will easily tuck into your socks
- Long-sleeved shirt
- Binoculars wildlife viewing
- Food in approved packages
- More water than you think you'll need
If you love to travel and study nature, a trip to Gorgona Island is a perfect destination to match your travelling endeavours. Travelling to Gorgona Island will not just refresh your mind, but will also soothe your soul. Contact us today if you want to include Gorgona Island in your Colombia Tour!
Share with your traveller friends!