Travel Guide San Andres - The Seven Colours Sea

Closer to the coast of Nicaragua than Colombia is the lush green San Andrés Archipelago located (including the islands San Andrés, Providencia and Santa Catalina), 720 km (447 mi) from the Colombian coast. White-sand beaches, crystal clear waters and a temperature of 27ºC (81ºF) throughout the year make these beautiful Caribbean islands a true paradise and a very popular vacation destination for Colombians.

The islands are a melting pot with Spanish, English, Dutch and African influences, where its inhabitants speak both English and Spanish. San Andrés, the main island, is known for its shape of a sea horse and the spectacular seven colors of its sea. The island boasts many hotels, elegant restaurants, modern shops and a lively nightlife. Outside downtown, authentic wooden houses are found among lush green gardens and coconut palms trees, where friendly natives enliven the day with good reggae and calypso music.

Located 72 km (45 mi) north of San Andrés, idyllic Providencia island is less frequently visited than its bigger neighbor San Andrés. Since it is not easy to get to Providencia, it’s a real hideaway with unspoiled beaches, colorful coral reefs and beautiful mangroves. Evenly beautiful Santa Catalina is connected to Providencia by Puente de los Enamorados, a long colored footbridge.

With its wonderful sea, the islands are ideal for water sports like kitesurfing, windsurfing and kayaking. For divers and snorkelers the islands are a real paradise. Underwater you may see turtles swimming around seahorses, stingrays and barracudas.

Where To Stay

San Andrés – the majority of the hotels in San Andrés are located in the north, the more vibrant part of the island with plenty of restaurants, shops and nightlife. If you go further south it gets more tranquil with most beach-front hotels located on the beautiful east coast.

Providencia – Providencia is a peaceful place with only a handful of small hotels, pristine beaches and turquoise waters.

Getting there and around

Air – there are direct flights to San Andrés from multiple cities in Colombia, including Bogotá, Cartagena, Cali, Medellín and Barranquilla with Avianca, Aires or Copa Airlines. There are international flights from Panama City (Copa Airlines) and Montreal (Air Transat) amongst the others. To arrive to Providencia island you need to fly to San Andrés first and then fly with the government owned Satena airline to Providencia. There is also a catamaran operating between San Andrés and Providencia. It takes about 2 hours to travel by catamaran to Providencia.

Taxi - you can hail taxis from the street, but be sure to negotiate a price before getting in since the taxis do not have meters.

Golf buggy – a good option to explore the breathtaking beauty of the archipelago is by golf buggy. Most hotels also rent bicycles and scooters.

Things to do

Beach - laze away the day on the beach and soak up the sun while enjoying the sea view. Take home some beautiful handicrafts made of coconut from the vendors on the beach.

Johnny Cay – head to this heavenly tiny island with the whitest beaches and bluest water lined with palm trees, a short boat ride away from San Andrés. Stroll along the sea side and enjoy a Coco Loco on its soft sand beaches from where you can see the coral reef through the clear waters. Since it is a popular sight it can get crowded during peak season.

Scuba diving and snorkelling – an abundance of marine life, calm tropical waters and an excellent underwater visibility make San Andrés and Providencia the perfect place for scuba diving, as well as snorkelling. Dive walls, shipwrecks, caves and see vibrantly colored fish in the crystal-clear waters.

La Loma – catch a taxi to “the Hill”, a little town in the inner hilly part of San Andrés where you can enjoy the island’s traditional wooden architecture. Don’t miss the Baptist church, the oldest church of San Andrés, with great views of the island.


The average temperature is 27°C (81°F), with a minimum of 17°C (63°F) and a maximum of 33°C (91°F) and a high relative humidity.