Hola viajeros! My name is Barbara Vasquez (@barbaradeviaje). Welcome to my travel article on San Andres in Colombia. I have been a traveler for over 10 years now. I grew up in southern Chile in a town called Traiguen together with my parents and brother. Today, my profession is an English teacher.
Travel has always been a part of my life. My passion for travel is related to the trips that I used to take with my father (a truck driver) on the roads of Chile. We would drive to the driest desert in the world, the Atacama.
From these trips, I developed a love for sunsets, different forms of nature, changes of landscapes through the kilometers, and thoughts that flood your mind while road tripping to a new destination. I have absolutely loved every minute of my travels over the years! One special place that I visited recently was Colombia. Let me tell you about my experiences below.
Twenty Amazing Days in Colombia
Colombia is a must-visit if you travel to South America. It’s diverse and culturally amazing. I have actually traveled there twice now and still have many places on my bucket list to see in this outstanding land of coffee.
On my most recent trip to Colombia I traveled for 20 days in the months of January/February, 2020. As always, I was impressed by the beauty, diversity and culture. I flew from Santiago de Chile to Bogota where I mainly toured the architecture, museums and street art of the capital city. Then I flew to Santa Marta to visit Tayrona National Park on the Caribbean coast.
From Santa Marta, I flew to San Andres island – my final destination. Yes, it was so Caribbean! I always had San Andres on my travel list. However, the first time I visited Colombia, I didn’t visit it since I prioritised other places.
San Andres island became one of my main objectives on this second trip to Colombia since this time I wanted to get to know the sea of seven colors and enjoy the benefits of the beach and those beautiful turquoise waters.
My Experiences in San Andres
During my stay in San Andres, I tried to take advantage of doing as many activities as possible within my capabilities. The first thing I did when I arrived was to go to the beach closest to my hostel, Playa Spratt Bight. This beach has white sands, turquoise waters, free accessibility and is within walking distance of everything you could ever need.
There are many tour options one can take. I did several but the ones that stood out the most were Johnny Cay and El Acuario. On these tours, you can see the colors of the Caribbean Sea in maximum splendour!
The small island of Johnny Cay is the typical paradise of palm trees and white sand. It’s so small that you can explore it in just a few minutes! On the Johnny Cay tour you will be provided with lunch, snacks and beers to spend a tropical day enjoying the beaches of this dreamy island.
Another fantastic tour was El Acuario (the Aquarium). As the name suggests, this is like a large pool where the water is so transparent that it’s possible to see fish of various species and colours with incredible clarity.
In El Acuario we did snorkeling and observed fish. We also enjoyed bathing in this natural pool that is the Caribbean Sea! There is an underwater photo service if you want to take some cool photos under the sea.
One of the best experiences I had in San Andres was diving. This was totally unique and I highly recommend it. I paid for a tour which included transfers, classes and a diving experience with a certified instructor. It was my first time diving and I really yearn to repeat it now because it was such a magical and unforgettable activity. If you can, make sure you do this too!
Best Things To Do in San Andres
Even though there are many activities to experience in San Andres, I think there are five or so that bring together the most unforgettable and representative experiences of this small Colombian island in the middle of this dreamy sea. If you visit San Andres, you simply can’t miss the following:
- Go diving and experience the sea of seven colors
- Tour the entire island of San Andres by buggy or bicycle
- Take a tour of Johnny Cay and enjoy a Crazy Coco drink on the island
- Visit El Acuario to observe fish and swim peacefully in turquoise waters
- Have fun going down the slide into the sea at Eco Parque West View!
Where to Stay in San Andres Island
In San Andres there is a wide variety of hotels, hostels, resorts and apartment rentals. Indeed, there are options for all budgets, tastes and comforts. As I traveled there alone, I stayed at Viajero Hostel San Andres. It was enough for my needs and tastes but if you would like more comfort then there are no limits in San Andres. Many luxurious hotel chains await.
Food Scene on the Island
On the island of San Andres you can eat super cheaply as well as find more elegant and specialized restaurants. The typical food on the island basically consists of fresh fish, shellfish, coconut rice, patacones, salads and fresh fruit. Among the typical drinks you can find coconut water, Coco Loco (a funky drink with local alcohol) and a variety of tropical fruit juices.
I recommend eating at a place where you will find a menu from only four dollars: Restaurante el Parqueadero. If you already know that you will desire something more fine-dining (with a view of the sea) then La Regatta is the place for you. They offer delicious seafood and fish. You will not regret it!
Favorite Memory of San Andres
I loved every minute of my time in San Andres. It really exceeded my expectations. It’s a beautiful island, very small and safe. Without a doubt what takes the cake in terms of a favorite memory of this trip is just the beauty of the sea and the joy that is experienced in this slice of paradise.
The sea of San Andres is like a natural pool. So perfect and crystal clear is the sea of seven colors that it will never be erased from your memory. It should be said that even though I traveled alone, I always shared my experiences with other travelers. I was never alone and always enjoyed it.
Need to Know Before you Go
If you already have plans to travel to South America, make sure you consider visiting Colombia and San Andres. Remember that you must buy a tourist card. This can be purchased at the time of boarding your flight to the island. The card costs approximately $30 USD. It’s totally worth it.
Make sure you book your hotel well in advance as there are dates that hotel capacity may run out. Tours and activities can be arranged upon arrival, so no worries about that. Finally, just take your bathing suit, let yourself be free and enjoy this paradisiacal island in the Caribbean!