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Malpelo Island Colombia Scuba Diving 2022 | Deep Blue Destinations
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Malpelo Island

Malpelo Island features strong and changing currents as well as occasional rough seas and is therefore recommended for advanced divers. It is only accessible by diving liveaboard vessels so make sure to book in advance as only one vessel is allowed at the island at any given time. Liveaboard vessels depart from two locations which are either David in Panama, or Buenaventura in Colombia.Dive sites around the island feature mostly steep walls and pinnacles as the island rises from an undersea ridge. There are also caverns and some sandy bottoms to explore. Water temperature is usually warm at 79-82°F (26-28°C) but at the beginning of the year, it can get chilly with a range of 61-77°F (16-25°C).Cold ocean upwelling caused by strong winds bring more plankton to the surface and this makes for busy dive sites at Malpelo Island. The plankton can reduce visibility to 33ft (10m) from the usual 100ft (30m) but it is well worth it given the abundant marine life around the island.

Malpelo Island Sea Life

Schooling scalloped hammerhead sharks are a highlight at Malpelo Island especially at the La Nevara dive site. Sometimes seen in schools of about 200 sharks, they can also be joined with even larger schools of silky sharks. They come to feed and to visit cleaning stations so expect to see plenty of butterflyfish as well. These cleaning stations and the nutrient rich waters also attract gentle giants like oceanic manta rays and whale sharks. Whale shark sightings are frequent towards the north of Malpelo Island.At most dive sites, find your visibility limited not necessarily by plankton in the water, but clouds of bigeye trevally, red snapper, pacific creolefish, juvenile barracuda and grunts. Pelagic hunters like yellowfin tuna, Galapagos sharks, and amberjacks eagerly patrol these enormous schools for meals.At deeper depths of 133ft (40m) you may chance upon the very rare smalltooth sand tiger shark at the Bajo del Monstruo dive site or perhaps the very strange red-lipped batfish. Dive guides will often be on the lookout for bait balls happening in the open sea which can result in a very exciting dive.

How To Get There

Fly to Gerardo Tobar López Airport in Buenaventura, Colombia or alternatively, fly to Cali (Airport Code CLO) and aim to arrive at least one day before your trip starts. Transfers from Cali to Buenaventura as well as back to Cali may be included in your hotel rates. Cali is connected internationally with Miami (American Airlines & AVIANCA), New York JFK, Madrid (both AVIANCA) and Panama-Tocumen (Copa Airlines).There are also direct flights to Cali from Quito, Guayaquil and Lima. It is also possible to fly to Cali via Bogota which is connected to various cities in North America (Atlanta, Boston, Dallas, Fort Lauderdale, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Newark, New York JFK, Orlando, Toronto, Washington) and Europe (Amsterdam, Barcelona, Frankfurt, Istanbul, London, Madrid, Munich, Paris).

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