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San Andres and Providence - Visit Colombia's caribbean islands!

These archipelago islands which are surrounded by the ‘sea of seven colors’ are full with history of famous pirates and treasure, European settlers, and political disputes just to name a few.

These remote celestial islands hold rich reggae culture, warm friendly locals, white sandy beaches, colorful colonial architecture and one of the world’s most precious marine reserves, offering a unique slice of paradise in the Caribbean.

San Andres, Providencia and the smaller island of Catalina, are set amongst the second longest reef in the Caribbean and what UNESCO has rated as a Seaflower Biosphere Reserve.

These islands that neighbor each other once harbored pirates, English and Dutch settlers, Jamaican, African immigrants, pastors and slaves and is now home to the charismatic descendants, whom speak English, Spanish and Bendé and who invite visitors with warm welcome smiles and laid back, happy vibes of Reggae, Calypso, Gospel and Succa.

This vibrant mix of culture within its Idyllic tropical islands will make you want days to melt into forever!

San Andres – the main island and what it has to offer!

In the shape of a seahorse, San Andres is the main island for tourism, with pristine reefs to roam, lush green landscapes to walk through and beautiful beaches to relax on.

Although tourism is more at large here with many modern hotels to choose from you can also see cheerful Colonial/Caribbean style houses and buildings. There are many restaurants and bars to choose from and shopping is a huge draw in for travelers who enjoy the wonderful tax free haven.

Traveling around the island to see the sites you can start at Morgan’s cave, although the cave is submerged under water with only the mouth visible, many people come here attracted to its mystery, named after one of the Caribbean’s most famous pirates Captain Henry Morgan who occupied these islands for some time, and who is said to have left some of his treasure within this very cave.

For a spot of good snorkeling there is La Piscinita, which usually has the best calm waters for visibility and an abundant of fish which you can feed bread to. When the tide is right, you can watch water spray up through a geyser in the rocky coral at Hoyo Soplador located at the southern end of San Andres.

Heading up the eastern coast of the island is the small string of pretty wooden houses dotted along San Luis, with its inviting white sandy beaches (playas de San Luis). Further up is the secluded Cocoplum beach lined with Coconut palms and a couple of nice hotels to stay in.

Along Spratt Bright beaches, you can take a stroll along the walkway and enjoy a selection of shops and cafes along this area.

For water sports, San Andres has it all, there is the opportunity to kite surf, wind surf, sail, dive, swim, snorkel, kayak, Jet Ski and take glass-bottom and semi submersible boat rides.

For a boat trip to some of the small islets placed around San Andres, you can go to Johnny Cay, perfect for a lunch time picnic and soaking up some of the suns rays.

Enjoy some more snorkeling on the islet of Acuario or take a scuba dive on the beautiful coral reef of Nirvana. There is an old sunken ship (an intriguing pirate galleon) to explore, or a ship that has run aground which you can reach by foot in shallow waters near Cocoplum beach.

The Green Lagoon in La Loma neighborhood is a fresh water lagoon encircled with beautiful lush forest, exotic flowers and has an alligator farm.

This is just the start of San Andres, as one can explore easily by bicycle, motorbike or car around the island, discovering beautiful secluded beaches, friendly locals to chat too and an array of things to do.

The Island Providencia & Catalina and their touristic offer!

The locals who speak more English than on San Andres prefer to call their island ‘Old Providence’. Providencia is a lot more rugged and quieter than San Andres, with immense tropical jungle, hilly volcanic peaks, secluded beaches and quaint Caribbean/English style architecture.

Providencia is part of the McBean Lagoon National Natural Park and has some super diving and snorkeling to partake in.

Here tourism has only lightly scraped the surface of the island, as a ‘no building higher than a coconut tree’ law was placed as well as zoning restrictions to keep the islands more raw peaceful nature.

Apart from the number of excellent water-emersion opportunities there is also hiking or mountain biking along the inner islands pathways; a nature lovers treat with bountiful lush vegetation and a large lizard population to encounter.

Hike up to the top of El Pico for stunning views of the sea below and if your lucky San Andres in the distance.

Horse riding is possible along some of Providencia’s beautiful sandy beaches.

Separated by an artificial canal during the pirates era, is the small island of Santa Catalina which can be reached by a pedestrian bridge. Here you can rest on some small deserted beaches or if the tide is right head around to Morgan’s head to see the rocky outcrop in the shape of a human head.

Without a doubt, the greatest attractions in the islands of San Andrés and Providencia are their natural sand beaches, and their “7 colors” sea, so called by their inhabitants, due to the green and blue tones their waters reflect: a natural effect that results from the coral diversity and the varied marine vegetation.

These spectacular Caribbean waters are ideal for diving and snorkeling sport activities. Calm and warm waters allow enjoying multiple underwater landscapes with a great amount of colored fish banks, and give the possibility of observing sunken pirate ships from the past.

The most outstanding beaches, and also the most suitable for resting, are Bahía Sardina (Spratt Bight), located in the north of San Andrés, and San Luis beach, found only 10 minutes away from downtown. These two zones offer unforgettable landscapes and a very special Caribbean environment.

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Travel Tips

How to dress there?

Weather is hot and tropical so light weight clothing and beach wear is mandatory! For hikers, take comfortable walking shoes and for all, don’t forget your bathing suit, sunscreen and hat!

How to get there?

San Andres By plane - Flights are with Avianca and Aerorepublica airlines which fly from Bogota, Cali, Medellin and Cartagena to San Andres. As well as Satena and Aires airlines that fly from Bogota only. Mantaraya also arrange charter flights which have packages included, ask us for more details. By land within San Andres - Being a small island access on land is by foot, bicycle, motorbike, scooter, car or bus. Also available are taxis, however be sure to ask about the fare beforehand as prices can vary. Providencia By plane - Fly into San Andres first and then from here take a flight with Satena airlines to Providencia. By land within Providencia - Apart from bicycle or motorcycle there are colectivos or pick-up trucks that run along the roads and charge a base amount no matter where you would like to be dropped off. Shopping - You can’t miss the great duty free shopping whilst you here! Dining - Sea food lovers enjoy! However you can also find a mix of Caribbean, International and Colombian food to indulge in. Check out Roland Roots Bar in Providencia for some reggae beats with a beer.

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Comments for San Andres and Providence Islands

  • Comment by Stephanie Wagner — 08/14/2009

    I just cant wait for my trip in December!!!!!!!

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Available Sightseeing Tours

Tour to San Andres and Providencia

Tour to San Andres and Providencia

(5 nights / 6 days) $817 USD *

Immerse yourself in the crystal-clear waters of San Andres Islands!

Tour to San Andres

Tour to San Andres

(5 nights / 6 days) $948 USD *

Book your tour to San Andres and enjoy Colombia's tropical island!


Recommended Hotels & Accomodations

Casa Harb, San Andres

Casa Harb, San Andres

Info: 5 Stars, Wi-Fi,

Cocoplum Hotel, San Andres

Cocoplum Hotel, San Andres

Info: 3 Stars, Wi-Fi,

Decameron Hotels, Providencia

Decameron Hotels, Providencia

Info: Wi-Fi, Breakfast: N/A

Deep Blue Luxury Hotel

Deep Blue Luxury Hotel

Info: 5, N/A, Breakfast: Included

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