As a professional diver, I am marveled by the marine and ecological biodiversity of Colombia; every time I travel through the country, I discover amazing life forms.
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Diving in San Andrés. Photo: www.bandadiveshop.com
The country’s Caribbean Sea, with depths of 4,000 meters, is known as the Colombian Depression. All the marine environments and ecosystems of the Western Tropical Atlantic Ocean are represented in the waters of this warm semi-closed sea.
It begins in the Gulf of Urabá, at the Chocó rainforest, and advances towards the east, passing through regions that become more and more arid, until it reaches the desert of La Guajira. On the south it borders the northern foothills of the Andean Mountain Ranges and the valleys of the Cauca and Magdalena Rivers.
The area has a 20,000 km road network and exhibits the greatest port activity in the country, with La Guajira, Santa Marta, the Gulf of Morrosquillo, and Cartagena accounting for the greatest percentage. Air transport relies on three national, two international, and seven regional airports.
After the Indo-Pacific Ocean, the Caribbean Sea is second in number of coral species, which are spread across an area of 2,780 km². Eighty percent of the species are found in the surroundings of the Archipelago of San Andrés and Providencia. On the continental platform, species are distributed between Isla Fuerte and the Archipelagos of San Bernardo and Rosario.
A total of 215 mollusk species and 115 crustacean species have been recorded at the sea bottoms. Red, black, white, and button are the most common mangrove species. Additionally, there are 241 species of animals and algae.
There are 86,310 hectares of mangrove forests, the largest of which are at the deltas of the Magdalena, Atrato, and Sinú Rivers.
Close to 75% of the Colombian Caribbean shoreline is covered by sandy beaches.
Most of the region’s tourist activities are concentrated in Cartagena, Barranquilla, and Santa Marta. The Urabá region of the department of Chocó, the Gulf of Morrosquillo, and La Guajira offers unique, exuberant landscapes.