San Andres Island, along with Providencia, attracts travelers looking for a spectacular beach destination in their journey through Colombia. Located in the Caribbean, these islands offer more than just scenic beauty, from the fascinating Seven Colors Sea to unique local traditions.
Here’s a complete guide to San Andres, including travel tips, main attractions, and practical information.
How to get to San Andres
Situated about 800 km off the north coast of Colombia, San Andres is closer to Nicaragua than its homeland. Flights from various Colombian cities connect travelers to this Caribbean paradise. From the airport, you can take taxis or walk to your accommodation. Providencia is best accessed by direct flights from San Andres or a challenging boat ride.
Transportation in San Andres
With a coastal road of around 15 kilometers and inland routes leading to places like La Loma, San Andres offers various transportation options:
– Bike rentals
– Scooter rentals
– Golf cart or buggy rentals
– Tourist buses
– Local buses
Accommodation in San Andres:
While accommodations are spread across the island, the city center (La Ciudad) emerges as the best option. It’s optimal for budget choices, restaurants, and proximity to Spratt Bight Beach, the starting point for day trips.
Main attractions in San Andres
Explore captivating sites capturing the essence of San Andres:
– Rocky Cay: An islet connected to the beach by buoy-lined ropes, offering a 200-meter accessible walk. Perfect for a peaceful stroll or a unique maritime experience.
– Island House Museum: A glimpse into 19th-century island life, with guided tours explaining local history and traditional island dances. Entrance fee: 10,000 COP.
– Morgan’s Cave: A reputed hideout for pirate Morgan’s treasures, now a theme park with exhibits and dance shows. Entrance fee: 15,000 COP.
– West View and La Piscinita: Crystal-clear waters for snorkeling; entry through beach clubs with amenities. Entrance fee: Around 5,000 COP.
– Hoyo Soplador: A natural phenomenon where water currents shoot upward through a hole in the rock. Entrance fee: 5,000 COP.
– Big Pond Lagoon: A small scenic lagoon surrounded by nature, accessible by a short walk. Entrance fee: 5,000 COP.
– La Loma Viewpoint: Visit the island’s largest inland village for panoramic views. Pay 2,000 COP to marvel at the diverse colors of the horizon.
– First Baptist Church: Built in 1847, it stands as the very first Baptist church on the islands and in all of Latin America. Entrance fee: 10,000 COP.
– Old Point Regional Park Mangrove Trail: A wooden walkway through mangroves, offering a potentially interesting visit.
– Shipwrecks: Scattered along the coast, the remains of sunken ships provide a unique sight, particularly one on the east side near the end of the boardwalk.
Best beaches in San Andres
For those seeking sandy shores and refreshing swims, consider the following:
– Spratt Bight: The main beach of San Andres, though crowded, offers an urban beach experience. There might be seaweed present.
– Cocoplum Bay: Less crowded than Spratt Bight, with clearer waters and no entrance fee.
– Sound Bay: A southern beach with stronger currents, rocks, and the famous, albeit expensive, restaurant Donde Francesca.
– Rocky Cay, West View, and La Piscinita: Ideal for snorkeling and rock jumping, with facilities available with a 5,000 COP entrance.
San Andres and Providencia bring together the charm of Colombian Caribbean beauty and a diverse cultural heritage. As you visit, immerse yourself in the unique experiences these islands offer, combining history, natural wonders, and the vibrant spirit of the Raizales community.