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Isla Catalina, Dominican Republic

Isla Santa Catalina is the smallest of a three-island archipelago tucked into the curve of the Isthmus of Panama in the Caribbean Sea. The islands belong to Colombia. Santa Catalina is completely unspoiled, connected to the larger Providencia Island by a 100-meter footbridge. The rocky cliffs of Morgan’s Head resemble a human face, maybe the pirate Henry Morgan? On Providencia, a main attraction is the Old Providencia McBean Lagoon National Natural Park, which encompasses several diverse ecosystems including mangrove forests, coral reefs, seagrass beds and dry tropical forest. The underwater portions are affectionately known as the Sea of Seven Colors, because of the iridescent shades of blues and greens caused by different depths and bottom cover. This area fairly begs for snorkelers to enter. Rays and turtles are commonly seen. The mangroves teem with birds and other wildlife, attracting kayakers and small boat tours.