Are you looking for a beautiful, tropical island in the Caribbean?
San Andres Colombia may unfortunately, not be the choice. The sad truth is that the island is a bit tacky. This is a shame, because it has perfect sandy beaches and all the natural beauty of a perfect tropical island.
Why go there?
- As the only gateway from Colombia to get to Providencia Island
I don’t want to push this island on you. Better find another of the many, gorgeous islands in the Carribean. Some recent hotel developments show more promise however, so maybe things will improve over time.
The further you get from the airport, the nicer things become. The town area didn’t appeal to me at all. It was congested, with too many people both in and out of the water. The town itself is not pretty.
We spent our honeymoon on the neighboring island of Providencia, a short flight away. Providencia is worth visiting and is much more quiet. We did layover for a night on San Andres, and were pleasantly surprised when we landed in Providencia after the letdown of the first island.
This type of destination in Colombia caters to tourists who choose package holidays and want organized events such as windsurfing classes etc. Food at the hotels tends to be mediocre. It can also be next to impossible to get out of your booking once you’ve given your credit card details.
Surprisingly far away from the Colombian mainland, the island’s location is geographically near Nicaragua, historically tied to England and politically part of Colombia. It’s the largest island in the country.
The nature is beautiful. We rented a small golf cart and drove around the whole island in a few hours. It gets calmer and idyllic as you head South, away from the main town and airport.
The island is fairly flat with some hills to the middle. We ended up going for a nice walk by a village known as La Loma toward the Southern end on the West side of the island, which was beautiful and quite charming.
Close to La Loma, and to give San Andres some credit, we had incredible shrimps in garlic with cold beer at a tiny restaurant you’d never guess made such good food. So yes, there are some gems.
The beaches are fantastic and surround most of the island.
There are too many of them who come on package tours. As the most pristine tropical island of Colombia, this makes sense but it’s a shame there aren’t more picture-perfect islands like this to choose from.
The main town known as El Centro is where the airport and most of the hotels are located.
To the East, you’ll find San Luis which is a small tourist town with a decent stretch of white, sandy beach and traditional wooden houses. The calm water here makes it an ideal spot for snorkeling.
There are direct flights from Costa Rica, Panama and the larger airports in Colombia such as:
I find it difficult to recommend San Andres Colombia. Maybe one day it will become, a perfect island destination that belongs to Colombia, but that requires a lot change.