About 40 dive sites; beaches of soft white sand; blue sea but also green and lilac ... The islands of San Andrés, Providence and Santa Catalina, in the southwestern Caribbean, greeting travelers from around the world in search of these perfect postcards to verify that in the breeze, coconuts and carefree smiles of its inhabitants lives the joy of Colombia.
Seven hundred kilometers from the coast of the Colombian mainland lies the island of San Andrés, a tiny paradise where the influence of the English and Spanish, the pirates and the corsairs have come together to inspire a rich culture that moves to the sound of reggae. It is the perfect place to enjoy the beach, practice watersports, dive and undertake eco-tourism and on San Andrés island it’s easy to see how the influence of the Dutch, Spanish, English and Africans has led to the islanders’ multiculturalism.
From the airplane, San Andrés’s calling card is its sea of seven colors, filled with colorful fish and vibrant corals ready to delight every visitor. After an afternoon relaxing on the beach and shopping in the free port, the night arrives with force and fills the atmosphere with music and dancing. Few people get to know the rural side of San Andrés because San Andrés’s opportunities for tourism are so well-known and loved.
Thanks to all the comings and goings of the Pirate Morgan from Jamaica to San Andrés, a little taste of the Antillean culture has remained in San Andrés too.
Creole is the language of the streets: a mix of Elizabethan English, Spanish and African dialects, alongside the modern Spanish and English that makes it so easy for islanders to chat to visitors. This blend of cultures has left a mark on their music too, with reggae, reggaeton, raga, soca, calypso, merengue, vallenato and salsa, there’s every kind of music for every kind of dancer.
If you’re a sea and beach lover then learn more about Santa Marta, the city that’s home to the crashing waves of Tayrona Park, an unforgettable nature reserve, and the pretty beaches of Rodadero.
What to do in San Andrés
In the islands, a UNESCO Seaflower Biosphere Reserve, tourists are amazed with the colors of marine life; have fun with activities such as kite surfing, windsurfing and jet skiing; swimming in natural pools where waves have sculpted the rocks and taste dishes prepared with the best of Caribbean lobster, snapper, crab, snail and more.
Tourists can also enjoy, with a 15-minute boat ride across the tranquil seas of San Andrés, Colombia, an island that’s famous for its beaches and its Coco Locos: Johnny Cay. The white sandy beaches there embrace verdant palm trees and beneath them lies a refreshing shade where visitors can nibble on a traditional fried fish with plantain, washed down with a delicious cocktail. The beach is the perfect place to take a stroll around the island and spot the exotic coralline formations that have formed pretty pools of water, reflecting the blue skies and ultimately merging into the sea itself, where San Andrés is best enjoyed.
Reggae is the soundtrack of the day and the colors that adorn it are those of the Rastafarian flag. Stepping onto the dancefloor in Johnny Cay is to be swept up in the swing of music and party alongside islanders who cater to travelers with smiles and jokes. Here palm leaves offer more than shade. They are transformed into hats, baskets and endless handicrafts all woven in front of tourists in San Andrés.
Swimming with stingrays, snorkeling and diving coral reefs with a visibility of 30 meters are some plans that visitors who come to the islands of San Andrés, Providence and Santa Catalina most enjoy. Visitors can also relax with the simple rhythm of reggae, admire nature parks, walk on deserted beaches and enjoy the slow passage of time.
Enjoy typical dishes, such as banana cake and crab empanadas, on San Andrés islands. You can enjoy festivals too, such as the Moon Festival, the Patron Saint Festival and the Crab Festival, all on San Andrés islands.
Beneath a blue sky that merges into the sea of seven colors that surrounds San Andrés, relaxation is mixed with activities that invite travelers to experience the intensity of island life, such as:
Swimming in natural pools, sunbathing on quiet beaches, dancing to reggae and learning about the history of the archipelago are on the list of programs for travelers to San Andrés.