The Island of San Andres is one of the most pristine and top destinations in Colombia. Yet, many travelers skip the place because the location of the Island is far off the Colombia map. This is because San Andres is located approximately 230 km east of the Nicaraguan coast and about 750km north of the Colombian mainland. The only way to get there from Colombia is by flight since it is just to far away for any ferry to sail it.
The island is known for its many beautiful beaches, crystal clear waters that offer excellent snorkeling and scuba diving conditions and a lively night scene. Since the size of the Island is only 26 square km it is easy to get around by bus, car or mountain bike. San Andres is also part of an archipelago, which consists of two other Caribbean pearl’s named Providencia and Santa Catalina. Both these islands are tropical and picturesque like they were taken straight from a travel magazine.
Things to do in San Andres:
While the sea water around San Andres is warm and clear all year round one of the main activities on the island is scuba diving and snorkeling. For the best diving spots (depending on the time of the year) it is best to consult local diving centers. Check out more info about diving on this San Andres travel guide. Snorkeling can be done all year round in various places, we recommend La Piscinita. This is a natural pool with school of fish passing true to take a rest from the stronger sea currents.
There are many local dive schools who will show you the tropical underwater world
Be a Beach Bum!
One of the best beaches on the island is located in San Luis. The sand is white and the water is Caribbean green/blue. There is far less tourism in San Luis than in the main town of San Andres El Centro. Therefore, this is probably one of the best spots to hang out and still enjoy some facilities like restaurants and local supermarkets. Another perk of the beach is that there is and giant old shipwreck rusting away on the reef. This gives sight from the beach a stunning tropical and yet shady view.
You’ll have deserted beaches like this one all to yourself!
Head into town:
The island might be small yet it harbors a couple of towns such as El Centro, La Loma and San Luis. The most authentic town on the island is definitely La Loma. The small town not only gives you a stunning view over the Caribbean Sea and the island but it is also a traditional village were the most native people live. The native people are called Raizel people and are descendents from the Afro-Caribbean people.
The picturesque small town of La Loma
Where to Stay?
There is not shortage of accommodations in San Andres! The island provides a place to stay for any type of traveler depending on what you are looking for.
- The island offers five star all-inclusive hotels like Decameron Isleno or Decameron Aquarium.
- Looking for a more budget place to stay? We can recommend the popular backpacker hostel El Viajero, Blue Almond Hostel, Sheylla’s Place II or one of the many other budget places… For more information about accommodation on San Andres you can check out this page on the San Andres website.
What about the weather?
Don’t worry about the weather in San Andres it is beautiful almost 365 days a year. The island is located near the equator and has only two season a wet and dry one. This seems a little bit harsh but in the wet season you only get some more clouds, not that much rain. The average temperature is around °C 27 Celsius with peeks over 30 degrees in September and October.
In the past you could sail to San Andres with various charters from Colombia, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama. Nowadays it is too dangerous because of pirates and other criminals partly controlling the waters. Because of this the only real option to reach the island is by airplane. The best deals for plane tickets are probably those of Avianca or Copa Airlines. Both these airlines offer frequent flights from various cities in Colombia to San Andres.
San Andres Island from above
Since the island of San Andres is slightly remotely away from the Colombian mainland it is semi self-sufficient in government services. There is a large hospital, consulates of various countries, multiple police offices and enough ATM’s to refill your wallets after the vacation expenses. The Lonely Planet recommends San Andres as one of the top destinations because it offers a full package for every traveler. You can find a perfect combination of beaches, nature, culture, activities and accommodations on the island and still receive many of the mainland facilities. If you are interested in more information about San Andres Colombia you can check out this travel website on San Andres.
Where to go next?
- Cartagena: An unmissable colonial walled city three hours drive from Santa Marta – this is the tourist jewel of the Caribbean coast and for good reason. Beautiful streets of colourful colonial architecture, tree-lined plazas, a Caribbean vibe mixed with Colombian sophistication, great restaurants, chic coffee shops, pumping nightlife and the white sands of Playa Blanca just a boat ride away!
- Medellin: Feeling in need of the buzz of the city after all that lying on the beach? Why not take a flight to everbody’s favourite Colombian city, once a notorious drug playground for infamous drug lord Pablo Excobar, now a modern, progressive city with lots to offer! This city of eternal spring is not to be missed.