Malpelo is considered one of the best shark diving destinations on the planet. Massive schools of hammerhead, and silky sharks are found here along with Galapagos, white tip, whale sharks, manta and eagle rays, free-swimming moray eels, as well as the reclusive small tooth sand tiger (ferox odontaspis).
Malpelo ridge is a 300 km long rock formation that belongs to an inter oceanic mountain range. 300 nautical miles west of the Colombian mainland it breaks the surface and the barren Isla de Malpelo looms more than 300 meters into the sky. The island is about 1600 meters in length and 700 meters in width. Except for a small military post, it is uninhabited. It is an oasis of life for native and migratory species and the Malpelo National Park is the largest no fishing zone in the Eastern Tropical Pacific. To protect this sanctuary a fee of USD 37 per day and diver is charged. In 2006 it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The sanctuary has a protected area of 9,584 km2, 383 species of fish, 15 species of corals, 110 species of echinoderms, 340 species of mollusks, 267 species of crustaceans, 18 of mammals, several endemics 7 species of terrestrial flora, 9 species of reptiles (terrestrial and marine) 60 species of birds reported many of them migratory.
The island and its offshore rocks are surrounded by deep water. This and its various ocean currents make Malpelo the perfect place for extraordinary shark populations. It is a twelve months dive destination and all of them are spectacular with an abundance of marine life.
Hammerhead sharks can be seen all year round but due to thermoclines in shallower depths they tend to be more numerous from December to March. In the first three months of the year the temperature below the thermocline is colder and the smalltooth sand tiger shark ascends to depths accessible for recreational divers. Silky sharks are more prevalent in the months of April to September. But not only sharks are regular visitors to Malpelo. Along the residing eagle rays, mobula and the majestic manta rays can be experienced in the months of May and June. In April and May divers can be lucky and see hunting scenes with baitballs and chasing tunas, sharks and masked boobies. June is the month of the arrival of whale sharks which stay along the Galapagos sharks until September. Warmer water temperatures and thermoclines in deeper water are found from June to November.
Malpelo is a destination for experienced divers. Its various ocean currents can change quickly and can create very demanding conditions. All divers must have an Advanced Open Water certification (or equivalent) and a minimum of 50 dives in their logbooks. Every diver will be equipped with a personal locator beacon and a surface marker buy during all dives. To reduce the risk of decompression sickness and nitrogen narcosis NITROX is the gas of choice and all divers must be certified to use it. Please find out more regarding the requirements and recommendations in our Know before you go section.