Looking for an exotic island in the Caribbean? Visit San Andres.

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White sandy beaches, warm crystal clear waters, coconut trees, coral reefs, snorkeling spots, multiple diving attractions and more; all of this goodness is in one exotic place in the Caribbean, San Andres Island.  Actually, this seahorse-shaped fascinating place is the largest island of San Andres Archipelago, which includes cays and other smaller islands and was declared the Seaflower Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO. It is located very near the coast of Nicaragua and northwest of the Colombian coast. Its inhabitants, very welcoming by the way, speak Spanish, English and Creole.  

Image courtesy of Joao Carlos Medau at Flickr.com

Image courtesy of Joao Carlos Medau at Flickr.com

Its history is filled with legends of pirate invasions, African slaves, European settlers and most recent disputes between Colombia and Nicaragua over the island rights. Whatever the exact facts are, the truth is that San Andres scenery simply takes your breath away.

The island is surrounded by a very well developed barrier reef.  The research taking place there contributes to increase knowledge on biology and ecology of marine species.  San Andres is also home to a large variety of reptiles, insects and plants.

This is the place for you

Tired of your hectic, chaotic and busy city life? Whether you are searching for relaxation, contemplating multicolored waters while enjoying the sun in solitude, or going for sporting activities like waterskiing, kitesurfing, bike riding, playing beach volleyball, you need to come to this Colombian paradise. It is perfect for tourism! If you ever wanted to visit a place like the ones on the postcards, this would be it: dramatic natural beauty and abundant marine life.  

This is a location that anyone should visit at least once in their lifetime.  Even though San Andres is well-known in mainland Colombia and attracts many tourists from there, the truth is this idyllic destination is mostly unknown to the rest of the world.  The island is relatively small. Most visitors like to rent golf buggies and explore autonomously some sites of the island.  The main beach is where the majority of hotels, tourist shops and restaurants are located.  Concerning accommodation, the island specializes in all inclusive vacations in resorts and hotels that cater to a diverse clientele.

The nightlife is entertaining as well and continues growing every year.  It won’t disappoint. Beach bars, clubs and restaurants offer a tropical chilled party vibe, with friendly locals and the best piña colada and coco loco cocktails.  

Image courtesy of Iván Erre Jota at Flickr.com

Image courtesy of Iván Erre Jota at Flickr.com

Scuba Diving

If you were looking for a place to scuba dive, then you came to the right place! Scuba diving is one of the main activities. The strategic location of the island and its coral reefs facilitate the life of a great variety of underwater fauna and flora. If you don’t have your certification, there is no need to fret.  San Andres has diving centers and instructors that can train you and certify you, for that matter.

This favorite spot for tourists of all backgrounds and ages has many places to offer:

  • Johnny Cay:  It’s a very famous coral islet and Natural Regional Park located 1.5 km from shore. There are daily (10-15 minute) boat trips that people can use to get to Johnny Cay and spend a lovely day there.  White sandy beaches, calm, turquoise waters for swimming and snorkeling are its main attractions.  The islet is filled with palm trees that produce fresh coconuts.  The reggae music is filling the air as well. If you want to eat, there is food available.

 

  • The “Acuario”:  A place with white sands, crystal clear Caribbean water ideal for snorkeling just off the beach.  Thanks to its shallow waters people can literally walk or swim to contemplate diverse sea life like small colorful fish and stingrays (the depth of the water is just a meter).  It is near another site called Haynes Cay  where you can walk down to.
  • La Piscinita:   it is a natural formation made by the sea resembling a natural pool with calm waters where travelers can go a swim. It is considered one of the best spots for snorkeling and diving.  If you are looking for a debut plunge, this is the place for the test.

Other activities

There is more to the island than beaches and fish.  There is a real pirate cave, captain “Morgan’s Cave” that you can visit.  It is said that he buried his treasure there.  Want to see some native culture and architecture? Visit the neighborhood/towns of “La Loma” and “San Luis”.  They are a great choice for a day’s plan. Want to see a natural seawater fountain? Visit the “Blowing Hole”.  This amusing hole spits out water into the air due to the pressure the seawater builds up between the coral rocks.   

Bottom line… if you are traveling to the Caribbean, make sure you visit idyllic, pristine San Andres, one of the hotspots in Colombia.

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