San Andres, Providencia and Santa Catalina

Situated northwest of Colombia in the Caribbean Sea, the Archipelago of San Andres, Providencia and Santa Catalina consist of two island groups that are part of the departments of Colombia located off the coast of Nicaragua. Considered to be one of the most striking islands of the country and holding one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, the islands include eight outlying banks and reefs. With African, English, Spanish and Dutch influences dating back to the times of pirates and privateers, the islands are recognised as a destination for enjoying the beaches, water sports, diving and ecotourism. 

Holding its own Creole language with a mixture of English, Spanish and African dialects, San Andres is the largest island of the archipelago. The characteristics of the island’s city and its residents are recognised by tourists of all nationalities; with a laid back approach, a variety of cultures makes the island burst to life. The diverse collection of cultures led to the island’s creation of local music including reggae, calypso and salsa. The island group of Providencia and Santa Catalina is known as the ‘dazzling sea of seven colours’, thanks to its volcanic origin, colourful barrier reefs, underwater landscapes, mangroves and stained green landscapes.

All of the hotels situated in the archipelago are owned and run by islanders to ensure environmental protection of their land. Islanders are happy, kind and can rustle up exquisite cuisine. Dances and architecture amongst the architecture is part of their preserved culture from the colonial times.

What to do in San Andres?

One of the main activities to do on the island is diving. There are several excellent schools dedicated to sustainable tourism with many years of experience devoted to ecotourism and culture. Sport fishing is another popular activity on the island as is shopping, with a wide variety of merchandise available including music, perfumes, jewellery and glassware. If you fancy relaxing, there are incredible beaches to enjoy; the San Luis beach is a small white sandy beach located 10 minutes from downtown San Andres where you can spend the whole afternoon and evening learning to dance to Caribbean rhythms and listen to traditional music. Tours are available to take you around the island via walks, taxis, cars, bicycles, motorcycles and golf carts. You can learn about the island by visiting the traditional neighbourhood of La Loma, where cultural values of the natives converge or take a tour to Johnny Cay Island which is scattered with palm trees, white sand and coral cay. It is one of the most desired tourist destinations and is perfect to enjoy some traditional food, music and cocktails. 

The archipelago of San Andres, Providencia and Santa Catalina is a beautiful paradise worthy of being visited, appreciated and preserved!

Photos By : 2; Roberto San Andres; 3. Shadowxfox; 4., 5., 6. 7. Mario Carvajal / all on Wikimedia