Santa Cruz del Islote

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Santa Cruz del Islote
Native name:
Santa Cruz del Islote
Santa Cruz del Islote.jpg
LocationSan Bernardo Archipelago
Coordinates9°47′9″N 75°51′33″W / 9.78583°N 75.85917°W / 9.78583; -75.85917Coordinates: 9°47′9″N 75°51′33″W / 9.78583°N 75.85917°W / 9.78583; -75.85917
Area12,140.57 m2 (130,680.0 sq ft)
Length200 m (700 ft)
Width120 m (390 ft)

Santa Cruz del Islote (Spanish for: Santa Cruz Islet or Holy Cross Islet) is an artificial island located off the coast of Bolívar Department[1][2] in Colombia, close to Tolu and Coveñas.[3] It is a part of the Archipelago of San Bernardo.[3] Its significant population compared with its small size results in its being one of the most densely populated islands on Earth.[4]


The islet of artificial origin was started by locals who used materials such as coral, debris or stones to later gain land to the sea in a part of the coast of low tide. It is believed that this first establishment dates from 1870. Due to its small size some locals would later migrate to neighboring islets such as Tintipán Island or Mucura Island.

In 2013[5] a community council was formed by the local inhabitants to discuss local problems. In 2018[6] the island was affected by the flooding caused by the strong tidal wave, and some houses were affected.[6]

In August 2020,[7] at an event attended by the Minister of Technology (ICT) of the Government of Colombia,[7] and the Governor of the Department of Bolivar,[7] a free 24-hour Internet service[7] was inaugurated for the island, called "Zona Digital Rural",[2] to allow for distance education in the region in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic. Previously, the signal was poor and expensive, making it difficult to carry out administrative procedures and educational activities from home.[7]


The island has a total area of 12,140.57 m2, or almost 1.25 hectares.[8] It can be accessed by ferry from the port of Tolu. The inhabitants have to use neighboring islands as cemetery[4] and recreation grounds, and they work on the mainland rather than on the island. There is one school, with one teacher.[8] The Mucura Island Hotels are a prime source of work for the residents.

A map of Archipelago of San Bernardo. Santa Cruz del Islote is located in the upper-left of the map.

Government and politics[edit]

Due to its small size, the territory does not have any kind of autonomy, geographically it is part of the San Bernardo Archipelago in the Department of Bolivar[1] in the north of Colombia, and is occasionally guarded by the Colombian Navy.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Sin médico, agua ni luz enfrenta el COVID-19 una de las islas más pobladas del planeta: está en Bolívar". Noticias Caracol (in Spanish). 2020-07-03. Retrieved 2020-07-26.
  2. ^ a b "Mintic activa Zona Digital Rural en Santa Cruz del Islote". EL HERALDO (in Spanish). Retrieved 2020-08-26.
  3. ^ a b Rincon-Diaz, Martha Patricia; Rodríguez-Zárate, Clara Jimena (December 2004). "Characterization of nesting beaches and feeding areas of marine turtles at the San Bernardo Archipelago, Colombian Caribbean". Volume 33, Number 1. Bulletin of Marine and Coastal Research. Retrieved 9 January 2015. ISSN 0122-9761 (in Spanish)
  4. ^ a b Wells, Miriam; Jack, Hunter (January 5, 2013), "How people live on the most crowded island on Earth", Toronto Star
  5. ^ "El pequeño Manhattan del Caribe". ELMUNDO (in Spanish). 2017-09-19. Retrieved 2020-08-26.
  6. ^ a b "Fuerte oleaje causa emergencias en Santa Cruz del Islote, Bolívar". RCN Radio (in Spanish). 2018-09-24. Retrieved 2020-08-26.
  7. ^ a b c d e ""Esto es histórico, Santa Cruz del Islote ya tiene internet"". EL HERALDO (in Spanish). Retrieved 2020-08-26.
  8. ^ a b Lorena, Lucy (11 June 2013). "Un viaje por Santa Cruz del Islote, la isla más poblada de Colombia" [Santa Cruz del Islote, lo most densely populated island of Colombia]. El Pais (Colombia) (in Spanish).

External links[edit]