San Andres Archipelago and Providence, Colombia

San Andres Archipelago

The archipelago of San Andres and Providencia is located 230 km east of Nicaragua and 750 km northwest of the Caribbean coast of Colombia. Many centuries ago, the islands of the archipelago were the base of pirates, and now they are the “pearl” of the Caribbean Sea, a place where tourists from all over the world come to rest. It can be reached by plane from the city of Cartagena. The archipelago consists of three dozen coral islands, which are concentrated around the largest islands: the island of San Andres and located 90 km to the east – the island of Providencia. Wide sandy beaches, clear waters, extensive coral reefs and abundant marine life make the archipelago Colombia’s most popular resort area.

San Andres Island belongs to Colombia – but is located closer to Nicaragua. From Cartagena – 750 kilometers or an hour of flight on a small plane, and there are several flights a day. Everything here is so different from Colombia – a completely different culture, and the population is black. San Andres is inhabited by very beautiful people – stately, tall and slow. The entire island is 12.5 kilometers long and 3 kilometers wide. The area of ​​the island is 26 sq. km. The road around the island is 30 kilometers long.
It has its own capital – in the northern part of the island. The low, but mostly stone city formally bears the name of the island – San Andres Town, but here it is called El Centro. This is where all life is concentrated – shops, hotels, restaurants… Huge Chevrolets and Cadillacs of the late sixties drive, younger than Cuban ones and in better condition – traffic on the island is not intense.

Everywhere Spanish inscriptions are duplicated by English: the native language of the inhabitants of San Andres is the so-called Afro-English (sometimes this language is called “Jamaican English”), but they also speak Spanish. The locals love their island and cannot imagine living elsewhere.

There are quite a lot of tourists on the island of San Andres in July-August, or at Christmas and New Year. Therefore, the tour should be booked in advance.<.p>

There are very few sandy beaches around the island. But El Centro has a wonderful beach with white, ivory-colored sand. Tourists, before going to a disco or a casino at night, walk along the embankment in the evenings – and the capital’s residents spend their evenings swimming in the sea. They do not come out of the dark turquoise water. Or they sit on the parapet of the embankment and look at those who pass and drive by. The only three-story hotel is obviously too big for a miniature island. But there are small hotels. All are good and comfortable. They must be lived in.
And not necessarily in El Centro – you can just as well stay in San Luis, a wonderful village populated by friendly people. Also with an excellent beach and, in addition, coral reefs. And the architecture is completely different from the one in the island capital – everything is wooden and completely Latin American. In general, everything is very close here, and in order to see the island, it is enough to rent a scooter – it costs no more than $20 per day. And go around everything that is interesting on the island. The main attraction of the island, in addition to the capital, is the Baptist Church in La Loma, the oldest in Latin America, from here you can enjoy beautiful views of the Caribbean Sea, whose green-blue waters are called “seven-colored”… The second is the legendary Morgan’s Cave – a place where , according to legend, the glorious pirate Henry Morgan buried treasure in 1670, stolen in Panama. On the island there are all the usual marine activities – scooters, windsurfing, scuba diving. There are small islands near San Andres, to which boats constantly go. People take bread with them: feed the fish. In the waters of the island are the wrecks of the Blue Diamond and Nicaraguense, the reef walls of Blue Hole and Blue Wall, as well as the underwater geyser El Joyo Soplador at the southern tip of San Andrés, attracting the attention of divers. For windsurfers, the east coast is suitable. The season is December-February.

The best beaches on the island are Sprat Bay, Sound Bay near St. Louis, Kokoplam Bay and Cove, and Johnny Cay.

It sometimes rains in San Andrés, a fast tropical thunderstorm that adds to the pleasant experience. In July-August, there is no rain and it is hot. The average annual temperature on the island is 28 ° C. Usually Europeans (mostly Germans) and Latin Americans – from Argentina, Colombia rest on San Andres..

San Andres is one of the best resort areas in the Caribbean, with the natural beauty and charm of the island largely untouched. Turquoise waters, expansive coral reefs and rich marine life make for a snorkeller’s paradise. Here, diving takes place among coral reefs in the company of colorful fish: butterfly fish, sergeant fish, stingray, ball fish, seahorses swimming among gorgonians, and even barracudas. The water is so clear that visibility reaches 15-30 meters, there is practically no current, more than 40 places are available for diving, including: La Caleta de José, La Calera, Las Piedras de la Langosta, Trumpa Tortuga, Nirvana, Bowl View, Wild Life, La Rocosa, El Avion.
The snorkeling areas in San Andrés are in excellent condition. A total of 35 dive sites are available for various types of diving on shipwrecks, cliffs and caves; to the representatives of the fauna of all colors and sizes, add comfortable water temperatures and good visibility.

Providence Island located 90 km east of San Andres Island. Rest here will appeal to lovers of silence and solitude, because only 4,000 people live on the island, and the bulk of tourists rest on San Andres. In this place, the oldest traditions of the island have been preserved: the original language “Patois” (this language was spoken out of the African continent), as well as the original English language. There are a large number of hotels that look like taverns of the eighteenth century. The largest settlement on the island of Providencia is the village of Santa Isabel. Santa Isabel is connected by a wooden bridge to nearby Santa Catalina Island. This bridge is called the Bridge of Lovers, on the beaches located in its vicinity, couples in love rest. On the southeast coast of the island is the McBean Lagoon Nature Reserve, in the underwater part of which a coral reef is protected, and on land – mangroves. Very interesting hiking trips to the highest point of the island – El Pico, from where you can see the Caribbean Sea and small coastal islands.

The most popular beach areas of Providencia Island are located on the north coast of Frashuter Bay and located on the southwest coast of South West Bay and Manzanillo. Freshwater Bay is also considered the best diving spot on the island. Other popular dive sites are also located off the north coast.

San Andres Archipelago