Photo Credit: Bob Thomas
San Andrés: Colombia's Caribbean Dream Paradise
San Andrés is a dream destination for tourists from all over the world. The island is part of an archipelago that also includes the islands of Providencia and Santa Catalina. This region of the Colombian Caribbean is known as the Sea of Seven Colors, and its fame is somehow approved by tourists visiting San Andres, the Colombian Caribbean dream paradise.
With an environment that balances between a relaxed vibe and a bit of excitement, San Andrés pleases all audiences. It is an ideal destination for any traveler, especially lovers of natural beauty. Those who value exotic cuisine, with lots of seafood, will also love it.
San Andrés is an island in the Caribbean Sea, belonging to Colombia, despite being very close to Nicaragua and Costa Rica. The shore is shaped like a seahorse, and holds an incredible melting-pot of people due to its colonial past.
You can visit San Andrés any time of the year. Its weather is always warm with average temperatures of 86 ⁰F. However, heavy rains are common in Colombia and usually intensify during the months of October and November.
Multiple Airlines can take you there. To enter, you must present a tourist card (tarjeta de turismo) that you can buy in the waiting room, before boarding your flight, for a current value of COP 116,800 (something around US$15). Remember that you must keep the tourist card during your entire trip and for your return flight, otherwise you will have to buy another card.
The Colombian Caribbean dream paradise has wonderful beaches and traveling around the archipelago allows you to enjoy fantastic tours for a relatively low price.
“San Andrés island, Colombia, was phenomenal. We experienced a handful of clear blue beaches including manna rays and small sharks swimming by,” Kirreck Williams from New Jersey told Travel Noire who was there in early June this year with his wife and friends. “I highly recommend San Andrés for a 3-5 day vacation.”
1. Travelling Around San Andres
According to Williams, the tour around the island is something everyone needs to do. Each corner of San Andres has a particular beauty, which you will hardly find around.
“Tourists rent buggies called mulitas to get around. Hardly any car rentals,” he said. “There is also the option of paying for a “chiva” to get around the island, which is a kind of open truck, with its vibrant colors.
2. El Acuario
The paradise called El Acuario is a type of islet that looks like a swimming pool, with clear and calm blue water. It is also surrounded by severaltypes of fish, which swim freely in the crystal clear water, creating a vivid natural aquarium.
The El Acuario island has infrastructure for renting equipment, a bathroom, luggage storage and a small snack bar.
3. Johnny Cay
The Johnny Cay islet is located right next to the El Acuario island. The islet has stunningly colored seawater and a strip of sand with green palm trees. It’s an exceptionally beautiful place, worth visiting.
“In Johnny Cay, there are two small islands that you can walk between because the water is shallow,” said Williams.
The crystal clear water is ideal for snorkeling.
4. San Luis
San Luis is a small village located in San Andre archipelago. The village is quite calm compared to San Andres. San Luis offers beautiful white sand beaches with calm water. One of the major attractions in San Luis is scuba diving and snorkeling.
An amazing sight from the beach is the old shipwreck, rusting away in the turquoise waters. San Luis’ original inhabitants are West Africans and Jamaicans brought in during British colonialism.
“They are ‘Raizal’. They speak English patois aka Raizal Creole,” he said.
5. Coral reef
The San Andrés’ coral reefs are very popular among professional and amateur divers.
The region itself is a protected UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, which covers approximately 10% of the Caribbean Sea. The island of San Andres offers a variety of dive sites that fit all levels of experience.
The Blue Wall coral reef is among the most popular dive sites. There, the diver will be able to see sharks, barracuda and sitting rays. All the dive sites have warm water year round, with great conditions and very little traffic.
It is highly recommended to hire a team of professionals to assist the tourists who decide to dive there.
6. Where to Stay
There are a variety of hotels and Airbnb options. However, you can also rent a house. That’s what Williams and his wife and friends did while they stayed in San Andres.
“We decided to rent a beach house there. Our beach house was in a residential area of San Luis.”
Villa Maru Casablanca Hotel and Decameron Isleño are also good options for those want to stay close to the main San Andres spots.
“Eating in San Andres is cheap. Dinner at the most upscale restaurant, La Regatta, with appetizer, entrée, and drinks will run around $25 a person.”
But, he advises bringing cash and convert to pesos.
“A lot of places don’t take cards or U.S. dollars. We had daily arepas, empanadas, fried fish, Creole chicken. They were outstanding. ”