Santa Cruz del Islote


One of the World’s Most Densely Populated Islands


Photographs and Story by Jonathan Adams

Aerial of the island of Santa Cruz del Islote

In the Caribbean Sea, approximately 25 miles off Colombia’s northern coast, the three acre island of Santa Cruz del Islote has the unique distinction of being one of the most densely populated islands in the world.


Islote, as the locals call it, was a barren island first settled in the late 19th century as temporary housing for fishermen and coconut plantation workers looking for relief from the surrounding mosquito infested islands.


The mostly man-made island of Islote sits on a shallow reef and has grown slowly in landmass to accommodate the rising population. Residents continue to expand the

island by adding to the shoreline with the use of coral, shells, rocks and any other filler they might find to provide a foundation for another home.

What was once primarily a fishing village has now evolved into an island that caters to the hundreds of tourists visiting the less-inhabited neighboring islands of Tintipáan and Mucura for their tropical beaches, resorts, and seafood.


The island of Islote is .012 km (approximately 3 acres) and is part of the San Bernardo Archipelago located about 25 miles off the northern coast of Colombia in the Caribbean Sea. In 1996, all of the islands in this region were annexed and became part of Colombia’s Corales del Rosario National Park.

Location Map Santa Cruz del Islote

A Walking Tour of Islote

Santa Cruz del Islote profile image

Santa Cruz del Islote – Sections