San Andres Colombia: Saint Andrew is a coral island in the Caribbean Sea. Politically part of Colombia and historically tied to the United Kingdom, Saint Andrew and the nearby islands of Providencia and Santa Catalina form the department of San Andrés, Providencia, and Santa Catalina. Saint Andrew, in the southern group of islands, is the largest in the department. The official languages of the department are Spanish, English, and San Andrés–Providencia Creole
While Saint Andrew is located 50 km (31 mi) south of Providence, the Colombian archipelago is approximately 750 km (470 mi) north of the Colombian mainland.
More than forty superb diving spots, some of the best beaches in the Caribbean, and a deep blue sea that twinkles green and lilac in the sun. Throw smiling and generous people full of flavor into that mix and these are just some of the charms of Providencia, Santa Catalina, and San Andrés islands in the Colombian Caribbean.
Visitors delight in the crisp sea breeze, coconut-laden palms and white sandy beaches that frame the glorious sunsets on these paradise islands. The welcoming and carefree smiles of the islanders make this the best place to spend a summer vacation.
This archipelago encompasses a total area of 57 km2 (22 sq mi), including the outer cays, reefs, atolls, and sandbanks, with the area of the islands being 45 km2 (17 sq mi). In 2000, it was declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, named “Seaflower Biosphere Reserve”, which not only includes the islands but also about 10% of the Caribbean Sea, amounting to a vast marine area of 300,000 km2 (120,000 sq mi). The purpose of this declaration is to ensure that the ecosystem, which is rich in biodiversity, is well preserved and conserved.
Despite being politically Colombian, San Andrés is a peaceful and safe place to go. It seems to be far away from all the problems that terrorize beautiful Colombia. It has poor areas indeed, but crime is not something to worry about. In fact, the island doesn’t look like mainland Colombia at all.
Is San Andres Colombia worth visiting?
Things to Know Before Traveling to San Andres Island in Colombia. San Andres is a tiny island that belongs to Colombia, although geographically it is closer to Nicaragua and Jamaica. … Also, accommodation on the island is way more expensive than anywhere on the mainland. But trust me – it’s worth the price!
What is San Andres known for?
San Andres Island Colombia
San Andrés island sits 700km from the Colombian coast, a pearl in the ocean that combines the influence of Englishmen, Africans, Spaniards, pirates and corsairs in a culture full of flavors that moves to the irresistible sound of reggae. It is the ideal place to dive, practice watersports and eco-tourism or just kick back and relax.
Excited visitors first spot San Andres’s famous sea of seven colors from the airplane before diving in to discover the colorful fish and corals. Following a morning on the beach, and an afternoon wandering the island’s fabulous duty-free shopping, the night comes alive with music and dance, completing a perfect day in the ideal place to enjoy a Caribbean vacation.
Vacations in San Andrés are full of excitement and adventure. Visitors can explore a pirate’s cave, dive down to the coral reef or shop for fantastic bargains. They’ll certainly hear the islanders speaking in Creole, a mixture of Elizabethan English, Spanish, and African dialects. They speak modern English and Spanish too.
The bringing together of diverse cultures that make San Andrés, Providencia, and Santa Catalina so fascinating has left its mark on the islands’ music. Both night and day are brought to life by the beats of reggae, reggaeton, raga, soca, calypso, merengue, salsa, and vallenato. All are the sounds of the land of happy people.
If you enjoy sunshine and beach vacations, learn more about Santa Marta. The city is the ideal place to enjoy the stunning scenery and wild waves of Tayrona National Natural Park and the relaxing beaches of Rodadero.
San Andrés Colombia
A more leftfield activity choice on a visit to San Andrés (most people don’t visit a Caribbean island famous for beaches to visit a botanical garden), this pretty little garden is the ideal way to escape the crowds and enjoy a walk on the shady forest trails crisscrossing the small location. There’s also a cracking observation tower offering gorgeous views over the east coast of San Andrés.
Located on the east coast of the island, San Luis is a small settlement located alongside some of the nicest beaches on the island. It’s also home to some of San Andrés’ best hotels and restaurants and makes for a more peaceful option than San Andrés town when you’re looking for somewhere to stay or have dinner.
Eat your fill of fresh seafood
If you’re a fan of seafood, then you have come to the right place. San Andrés, being a Caribbean island, is a paradise for fresh fish and seafood, and whether you choose to eat at a small beachside restaurant, or a more upmarket spot like El Paraiso, Gourmet Shop Assho, or La Regatta, you won’t be disappointed.
Another gorgeous little offshore islet, this time off the east coast of the island, Haynes Cay isn’t the place to visit if you’re a beach-lover, but the snorkeling here is some of the best in San Andrés, and it’s a very popular day-trip from the mainland. It can also be combined with a day of snorkeling and swimming at the neighboring Haynes Cay.
San Andrés isn’t just beaches and sea, there’s also the inland of the island to explore: La Loma – or ‘The Hill’ – is a small town in the middle of the island, and has retained much of the typical ‘raizal’ culture that has been lost in much of the rest of the island. The old Baptist Church which was established in 1847 is one of the highlights.
Cayo El Acuario
This little sandbank in the sea is located right alongside Haynes Cay, and is extremely popular as a day-trip – often combined with its neighboring cay – for snorkeling. Rays, colorful fish, and even turtles are regularly spotted in the calm, clear waters of El Acuario. There are few small restaurants and bars perched on the little islet alongside the Acuario, so you don’t have to worry about where to grab a bite to eat and a cocktail.
Rent a golf buggy or bike
The best way to explore San Andrés – as with its neighboring island, Providencia – is to rent out a golf buggy and take the ring-road around the entire island, stopping on the way at beaches and other sights. Healthier types can choose to rent a bike instead, which also allows you to explore more inland (the buggies struggle with the steep hills).
Flights To San Andres Colombia
Most visitors that consider going to Colombia don’t even know about San Andres Island. In fact, I hadn’t even heard of it before I stumbled upon it while looking for an alternative destination in Colombia. I’m glad that I found out about this tiny island as I would have missed out on A LOT by not going.
Despite being a Colombian territory, the locals don’t look like Colombians, but rather like people from the Caribbean. The culture of the island is also more Caribbean than
San Andres is a tiny island that belongs to Colombia, although geographically it’s closer to Nicaragua and Jamaica. The tiny island is a diverse mix of African descendants who actually prefer to speak English, due to the island’s early history.
It’s also inhabited by Colombian immigrants who have come here to work in the tourist industry and a very small group of indigenous people. The island is small and would take only around an hour to circle if you weren’t to make any stops when renting a buggy on San Andres.
Isla San Andres Colombia
WHILE JAMAICAN ALL-INCLUSIVE and Bahamian cruise ports see visitor numbers rise year after year, the Colombian islands of San Andrés and Providencia continue to fly under the radar of many tourists. In fact, many people don’t even know they exist — even Colombians. As more and more travelers seek out lesser-known destinations, it’s unlikely to stay that way for long. For now, though, you can take advantage of their wide-open beaches and Rastafarian vibe without the crowds. Here’s everything you need to know about San Andrés and Providencia, and everything to do once you get there.
Two islands far removed
San Andrés is located 750 kilometers (470 miles) northwest of mainland Colombia and only 150 kilometers (93 miles) off the coast of Nicaragua. The smaller island of Providencia is a 3.5-hour ferry ride to the north, and while the islands have historically been tied to Spain, Great Britain, Africa, and Holland, they were the subject of a long-running battle between Colombia and Nicaragua until the 1900s. The frequent changing of hands has given them an eclectic mix of cultures and traditions, evident in everything from the cuisine to the fact that you’ll hear Spanish, English, and Creole depending on where you are — and in the more traditional Providencia towns, Elizabethan English.
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While the tourism industry hasn’t flooded the islands, one organization that has acknowledged its existence is UNESCO, which in 2000 declared the archipelago of San Andrés a World Biosphere Reserve in order to protect the vast coral reef system and marine life. San Andrés and Providencia have largely been kept off the radar due to the past difficulty of getting to the islands. Prior to the opening of an international airport, the only way to reach the islands was from Bogotá.