Santa Cruz del Islote, also known as Holy Cross of the Islet, is often referred to as the world’s most densely populated island.
This island is in the archipelago of San Bernardo, off the coast of Colombia, in the Caribbean Sea.
Surrounded by azure waters, the island features a tropical climate with lush vegetation that adds a splash of vibrant green to its colorful landscape.
On the other hand, the world’s most crowded island comes with its own unique set of challenges.
This island faces environmental challenges as well, including rising sea levels, climate change, and limited land space.
Above all, the community is actively engaged in sustainable practices to preserve their island paradise for future generations.
Cultural Heritage and Innovative Architecture
Santa Cruz del Islote is not just a cluster of homes; it is a hub of culture and tradition.
For example, the island’s residents celebrate their Afro-Caribbean heritage through music, dance, and colorful festivals.
Furthermore, Santa Cruz del Islote’s charm lies in its tightly packed and brightly painted homes, giving the island its characteristic visual appeal.
Due to limited space, the inhabitants of this island have developed innovative architectural solutions.
Vertical construction, rooftop gardens, and creative use of available space showcase the resourcefulness of the community in making the most of their confined environment.
Area and Population in Santa Cruz del Islote
Despite its small size, Santa Cruz del Islote boasts a unique and captivating geography.
The island spans a mere 0.012 square kilometers, making it one of the tiniest inhabited land masses globally.
On the other hand, the local population, estimated at 1,200 residents, resides in these tightly clustered dwellings, creating a distinct sense of community.
The island’s layout is a testament to the ingenuity of its inhabitants, who have maximized every available inch of land.
Despite spatial constraints, this island is not merely a settlement; it is a vibrant microcosm of life, culture, and resilience amid the picturesque Caribbean surroundings.
Community and Daily Life in Santa Cruz del Islote
Life on Santa Cruz del Islote is a vibrant tapestry of daily routines, community events, and shared spaces.
The island is a patchwork of colorful homes, each standing shoulder to shoulder, with narrow pathways winding through the community.
The locals, known for their warmth and friendliness, rely on fishing and tourism as their main sources of income.
One striking aspect of daily life on the island is the sense of communal living.
Families live in close proximity, sharing spaces and resources.
Children play freely in the streets, and neighbors are more like extended family members.
This close-knit community fosters a strong sense of belonging and support.
Historical Roots and Thriving Community
In the 1860s, fishermen from Cartagena and Tolú, Colombia, seeking refuge from storms, became the first inhabitants of Santa Cruz del Islote.
They constructed homes using materials gathered from the sea, such as shells, coconut shells, tree trunks, sand, and even discarded items.
The island’s appeal extended beyond its abundance of fish, attributed to its coral surroundings, as it was also devoid of mosquitoes, a rarity attributed to the absence of beaches and mangroves.
However, due to its limited size, some residents later migrated to nearby islands.
Notably, on July 2, 2021, Santa Cruz del Islote made history as the first Colombian territory to achieve full COVID-19 vaccination coverage.