If there is one attribute that sets apart coastal Colombia from any other place in South America, it is its natural environment. Here in Santa Cruz del Islote, 816 people live on just one hectare of land. Known as “The World’s Most Densely Populated Island,” life revolves around the sea. Fishing, diving, and tourism bring in the income these people need to survive. With four markets, one school, and one concrete soccer field, residents live out their daily lives with “tranquillidad.”

After visiting Santa Cruz del Islote, we rode in local boats to the tranquil beaches of Tintipan. We sipped on fresh coconut water and swam in the warm waters of the Caribbean for the last time. 

Later, we joined crocodile hunters turned crocodile conservationists for the release of two juvenile crocodiles. The highlight of the excursion was observing local ex-crocodile hunters release two juvenile crocodiles as part of a 14-year effort to bring back the crocodile population. Through their deep connection to nature, the people of the Bahia Cispata region are truly working towards building a sustainable society. We could all learn from these people.

As the sun was setting on our Zodiac ride back to the ship, we reflected on our own lives by asking ourselves, “Just how connected are we to our own blue backyard?”