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Ecotourism in San Andres: a green plan in paradise

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Haga click sobre la imagen para ampliarla Johnny Cay is  home to a nature reserve full of trails.

Johnny Cay is  home to a nature reserve full of trails (Photo Flickr user edwardyanquen.

San Andres is a surprise from the moment that you look through the aircraft window, and see the seven-colored sea and a small, intensely-green point, which grows larger and larger, until you can see the white beaches and palm trees swaying in the wind.

Once on the ground, you can easily see that this is a place whose charm is as powerful as its beaches are attractive: its Nature.  The landscape is not only dotted with palm trees, but also with mangroves, ceibas, and a number of species of colorful wildflowers.  And the corals in the sea offer an impression on the eye that will never fade with time.

San Andrés is bursting with natural riches in flora and fauna wherever you go.

This dream-like landscape is home to blue and black crabs, turtles, iguanas, chameleon-like and green lizards, dozens of species of birds, and amazing numbers of fish (which always look as if they had dressed up for a carnival).  And all of this is surrounded by a multi-ethnic culture, which enhances the panorama, and fills it with human warmth.

Three places where nature runs riot

Haga click sobre la imagen para ampliarla TSan Andres is home to colorful wildflowers.

San Andres is home to colorful wildflowers.

UNESCO declared the Archipelago of San Andres as a Biosphere Reserve, and wherever you look, there is life around you.  One of the reasons for this could be the strategic location of the island, which is the regular stopover for more than a hundred species of migratory birds.  The first place to see the spectacle is Big Pond.

There, there is the twittering of a countless species of birds with colorful plumage which hop from branch to branch.  In the Pond, they stop to sip some fresh water - and then from the family of small alligators which lives there.  There is only one endemic species in the whole island, chincherry.  In this plan, ornithologist Andrea Pacheco gives a guided tour for visitors, in English and Spanish.

The people of the island love San Andrés, and have created Ecotourism Parks to conserve nature and their native culture.

The other two alternatives are private ecotourism parks.  West View Point has a number of fruit trees such as mango, coconut palms and mamoncillo.  The guide is Roberto Ferro, a craft worker who specializes in coconut, and the creator of the park, Eladio Forbes, is always keen to use the wood from the fallen palm trees naturally, to make pretty, sweet-smelling cabins.  The well-known Cueva de la Sirena (Siren´s Cave) is in this park too.

The third ecotourism site is Job Saas farm, whose owner Saas has for years been growing different kinds of fruit trees, spices, cotton, and sugar cane - amongst many other things.  Your guide face reflects his love of each of these plants - he provides a delicious sugarcane or tamarind juice; and his music is an example of the cultural values of the natives of the island.

Haga click sobre la imagen para ampliarla In the sea, an underwater dreamworld and a magic island/Photo courtesy of Caribe Azul.

In the sea, an underwater dreamworld and a magic island/Photo courtesy of Caribe Azul

In the sea, an underwater dream world and a magic island

Dive into this seven-colored sea, and discover that in reality there are more than a thousand colors under the surface; lilac and yellow corals, silvery, red and blue fish, green algae, and countless tiny colored animals.  The coral formations of the Archipelago are the second largest in the Americas, and the voluptuous form they take the driver's breath away.

The island of Johnny Cay has a nature park at the northern end, with a sea area and a land area, criss-crossed with trails leading through the thick vegetation.

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E-mail: info@colombia.travel

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