Jam-Packed Colombian Island

Jam-Packed Colombian Island

The world's most densely populated island, Santa Cruz del Islote in the Archipelago of San Bernardo off the coast of Colombia, is the size of two soccer fields.

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From a distance, it's hard at first to determine what Santa Cruz del Islote actually is. Rising from the sea, the island, one of the most densely populated in the world, appears to be floating.

Legend has it that fishermen from the nearby islands spent the night on Santa Cruz and decided to stay there permanently when they realized there were no mosquitoes. Locals attribute the mosquito-free environment to the absence of mangroves and beaches.

Santa Cruz isn't a traditional island retreat. There's nowhere for visitors to stay. Tourists often spend the night at the neighboring Punta Faro hotel on Múcura Island and travel to Santa Cruz by speed boat to explore for a few hours.

It's like stepping into a Gabriel García Márquez novel. Santa Cruz features a dreamlike, innocent way of life (there are no police on the island), and the colorful houses are passed down through generations, so there are no non-native residents.

Some estimates put about 1,200 inhabitants on the tiny island that's about the size of two soccer fields. But some say the community is smaller. Juve Nal, a sexagenarian who has lived on Santa Cruz his whole life, says it is more like 900.

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