The basics of travel, weather & diving conditions
To help you plan your trip, we've prepared a list of basic information you'll want to know before you book. Once your trip has been reserved, you'll receive pre-departure information with all the details you need for your adventure.
Getting to Malpelo
Trips to Malpelo start and end in Buenaventura on the Colombian Pacific coast. You will fly to Cali (Airport Code CLO) and should arrive/depart one day before/after the trip. Transfers from Cali to Buenaventura as well as back to Cali are included in the rate.
Cali is connected internationally with Miami (American Airlines & AVIANCA), New York JFK, Madrid (both AVIANCA) and Panama-Tocumen (Copa Airlines). There are also direct flights to Cali from Quito, Guayaquil and Lima.
It is also possible to fly to Cali via Bogota which is connected to various cities in North America (Atlanta, Boston, Dallas, Fort Lauderdale, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Newark, New York JFK, Orlando, Toronto, Washington) and Europe (Amsterdam, Barcelona, Frankfurt, Istanbul, London, Madrid, Munich, Paris).
Please make sure that you have a valid ESTA number for flights via the US and that you don’t need to arrange a visa before arriving in Colombia (most nationalities receive 90 days on arrival).
Please make sure that your passport has validity of at least 3-6 months, depending on nationality, beyond the period you intend to stay in Malpelo. If you are travelling with medication please ensure to bring your physician’s prescription with you.
Check with your consulate to verify if you need a visa to enter Colombia.
What´s the weather like at Malpelo ?
The dry season is from mid-December to beginning of May. At this time, you'll get a north wind. The rainy season is from May to December, with mainly south winds. Normally it rains 2 or 3 hours a day but then the sun comes out. There are also days with absolutely no rain. The rainiest month is November.
What about Water Temperatures ?
The average water temperature at Malpelo Island is fairly consistent: averaging on the surface 26-27°C/79-80°F although early in the year temperatures can drop a bit lower. Also, the water temperature below the surface is significantly colder, getting as low as 16°C/ 61°F
We recommend a wetsuit with 5 to 7 mm and an additional hood if you tend to get cold under water. Diving gloves are allowed but every diver has to follow the diving code.
Most of the action is at 60-90 feet /18-27 meters, and most dives are between 60-130 feet / 18-40 meters. The safety limit is set at 130 feet / 40 meters and a dive computer is necessary. Visibility averages 60-100ft/18-30m.
Experience Required for Diving Malpelo
Divers must have at least an Advanced Open Water, and a minimum of 50 logged dives with at least 35 at sea. The certification and logbook must be provided to the Colombian National Parks official a minimum of 60 days prior to your arrival.
Best Time to Go
Malpelo is reallya year-round destination but different animals have different seasons.
Hammerheads: All year round. Scientists describe slightly bigger groups from January to April though we can not confirm this. We observe on all trips all year round schools of more than 150 to 300 individuals.
Silkies: big schools of Silkie sharks from 300 to 1000 from May to beginning August. Best months June and July
Sand Tiger "Monster shark":: when cold water. So from January to April, there is a 50% chance to see them but no guarantee. Normally they stay in 50 to 60 meters depth. We take only the very experienced divers to that depth.
Whale sharks: all year round, but best time July, August, and beginning of September
Other species: Free swimming moray eels all year round, Galapagos sharks all year round, big schools of jacks, snappers and groupers all year round. Eagle Rays are very common in Malpelo, all year round
BCD, regulator, wetsuit, mask/snorkel and fins for rental on board. computers and torches (flashlights) may all be rented. Please request equipment in advance.
You will find a well-equipped first aid kit including oxygen on-board. You should bring anti-seasickness medicine and ear drops if you feel you will need them. Please inform us and especially the dive guides if you are taking medication or suffer from allergies.
Flying after Diving
Current studies show that you should wait at least 24 hours after multiple days with repetitive diving before flying. Please keep this in mind before you book your onward international or domestic flights.
Taxes & Fees
National Park Fees are applicable and will be paid on board in cash. Approximately $40 per dive day (but please note the government can change this at any time).
Do I need insurance ?
We strongly recommend comprehensive travel insurance to cover against unforeseeable events including personal & business impediments, illness, travel delays and missed flight connections. We hate seeing any of our clients fall into the category of unfortunate travelers who are without coverage for unexpected circumstances
Diving insurance: the liveaboards now require diving insurance. You must not confuse regular travel medical and/or travel insurance with diving-specific insurance such as DAN (Divers Alert Network) or Dive Assure. This type of insurance will cover all of your scuba diving and snorkeling activities, including the costs for recompression chamber treatment and emergency air evacuation. These are not covered by the average travel insurance.
We recommend Dive Assure as they are one of the few companies who offer insurance which includes general travel insurance, including trip cancellation .... plus full dive coverage.
Click here or on the button in the side panel to access Dive Assure directly.
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