The wonders of Colombia aren’t just on dry land: the country boasts two separate coastlines, and a number of gorgeous islands and offshore natural reserves. All of this sea makes for some incredible diving experiences, and some fairly unique ones too.
In Colombia, there are 3 most famous diving area : Malpelo, Providencia & Santa Catalina and Gorgona Island.
To be able to dive in the Malpelo, divers only choice is by liveaboard, as it's a craggy rock in the Colombian Pacific, it can only be reached by boat. It is one of the best places in the world to dive with sharks, including hammerheads, whale, and the rare sunray shark.
Providencia and Santa Catalina is home to the third largest coral reef barrier on earth, and includes over 40 dive sites, it is possible to observe 4 species of shark and vary dive sites include caves, blue holes and even sunken pirate ships. The seas around Providencia are also a UNESCO protected area. It is possible to reach there by flights from San Andres or by boat trip between islands.
Gorgona Island is an inhospitable island, formerly used as a prison, which now serves as a nature reserve and breeding area for humpback whales. The best time to visit is between July and October, when you can combine diving the wrecks and cliffs of Gorgona with whale-watching.
Liveaboard Diving Regions :
The Malpelo Island is a big rock in the middle of the ocean about 500 km west of the Colombian mainland. Divers regularly see hundreds of different species of schooling sharks during their trips to Malpelo, huge schools of hammerheads are frequently seen and it is rare if don’t see at least a dozen of them.
From Silky sharks, huge Galapagos sharks, to Whale sharks, Tiger sharks and even the very rare Smalltooth Sandtiger shark. As well as the large schools of (up to 500) Hammerheads all can be seen in the waters around Malpelo. And Many ray species are also drawn to the island including pelagic manta rays, and hundreds of individual schooling Eagle rays can also be seen at Malpelo.
Liveaboard trips are usually departs from mainland Panama (Panama City) and set sail to Malpelo (36 hours +), it usually takes 10D/9N for the trip. Guest needs to arrive in Panama at least one day before vessel departure.
Coiba National Marine Park (Panama)
Coiba Island is the largest uninhabited tropical island in the world, found just 50 km/30 miles from mainland Panama in the Gulf of Chiriquí. Coiba Island was separated from the mainland only about 15,000 years ago when sea level rose, today the island is covered by a carpet of lush primary tropical rainforest, mangroves and adorned with white deserted beaches.
Diving around Coiba Island in the Coiba National Park, you will encounter large schools of big fish, several species of shark, giant mantas, schooling rays, whales and dolphins plus healthy coral reefs. Large numbers of migrating humpback whales mate and give birth to their calves in Coiba Island's calm and warm waters from July to November.
However, at any time, on any dive, it is possible to encounter an amazing abundance and variation of marine life, from whale shark to ornate sea horses and everything in between : the white-tip reef shark, scalloped and great hammerhead, whale shark, Galapagos shark, bull shark, tiger shark, and the bizarre guitar shark. Add to this, a variety of rays, giant manta rays, mobula rays, Thurston’s devil rays and stingrays. Schooling species include the spotted eagle ray, cow-nosed and golden rays, several species of dolphins, pilot whales, orcas, sperm whales, as well as large schools of predators, barracudas, jacks, snappers and the giant Pacific leatherback turtles can be observed.
However, due to the decision of the Colombian government end of 2016 to change the rules for the permits to Malpelo National Park, liveaboard operators in this area have decided to cease thier operation to Malpelo (as well as Coiba) effective January 2018. We will update untill further notice.