Isolte: Exploring the World’s Most Densely Populated Island

Santa Cruz del Isolte. 1,200 people living on a 2-acre island. Which for size reference is about 1 and a half football fields of land.


An island community living in harmony, although they are practically stacked on top of one another.

We were fortunate enough to get an inside look at the island. We shared our story visiting the island with the DameTraveler. You can find the whole story on their site by clicking the link above.

Aside from learning the in’s and out’s of life on the island we also got to swim with some nurse sharks in a very sketchy aquarium. Here’s an exerpt of our story.

Swimming With Sharks

“Our brief tour concluded with a stop at the small “aquarium” near where we docked our boat. This aquarium was actually just a pond constructed out of large sea rocks. And it housed some extremely large and scary looking fish. Amoung the fish were also a couple nurse sharks sulking on the bottom and a few small roaming sea turtles.

Naturally, when the offer was extended to hop into the dirty fish-crowded, literally shark infested waters….I couldn’t say no.

Without considering whether or not the massive fish would bite me or what would happen once I dove to the bottom and pet the nurse shark, I grabbed a mask and headed for the disintegrating ladder.

One of those, “if you don’t do it you’ll regret it later” kind of moments.

Luckily, nothing in the pond seemed hungry. They seemed eager to avoid me for the most part. They circled around me while I attempted to not touch or kick anything living. Neat fun fact for those who haven’t touched a shark yet. Their skin feels a lot like sand paper.

Once I saw the size of the dark red groupers that were hiding in the corners of the pond, watching me very closely, I was quick to get out of the water.

Looking for Tips on Cartagena?
  • Check out my guide on what to do in Cartagena Outside the Walled City.
  • Explore Mercado De Bazurto. For Adventurous travelers only.
  • The best way to see the island is to stay at one of the floating hostels in the San Bernardo Islands. Casa en el Agua + Isla Roots come highly recommended.
  • Prepare for a bumpy + windy two hours fast boat journey to the islands. Tickets can be purchased at TranqItEasy.

Question? Comments? Let me know here!