San Andres is a Colombian island that lies just off the coast of Nicaragua. And while yes it is owned by Colombia, it’s so different to the mainland you’ll be forgiven for thinking you’ve landed in another country. With total Caribbean vibes, excellent beaches and super friendly locals, it is one of my favourite places to visit in Colombia. So without further ado here are all the things to do in San Andres Colombia so you can make the most of #islandlife.
1. beach out bro
Ok, so you’re on an island. So beaching has definitely got to be on the agenda. It’s just that the Carribean beaches on Isla San Andres Colombia are so good it’s hard to know where to start! Here’s my quick run down of each of the beaches I visited and why you might like to check them out.
This is the town’s main beach. And while it’s really lovely with white sand and turquoise water it’s usually packed full of tourists and locals. So either head here early in the morning and then move onto another beach, or if you can’t stand people sitting close to your towel (like me) avoid it all together.
rocky caye beach
Heading to Rocky Caye beach was one of my favourite things to do in San Andres Island. The beach itself is picture perfect. And there’s even a little island about 200 metres from the shore where the water is so shallow it’s possible to walk all the way out to. Along with a couple of shipwrecks that you can jump off (at your own risk), this is the perfect spot to spend a day relaxing. They even have lockers for us solo travellers who don’t have anyone to mind our stuff. To get there, you can either take a moto taxi ($4,000 COP) or the bus (2,000 COP)
San luis beach
San Luis beach is a little further south from Rocky Caye and therefore is a little quieter. Making an afternoon sun baking here one of my favourite things to do in San Andres Colombia. As soon as you arrive you’ll be greeted by a couple of friendly locals who will invite you to use their seats and offer you drinks. We politely declined and found a spot on the sand. And while the waves here are a little rougher here, making it hard to float the afternoon away it’s still a lovely secluded spot.
2. take a tour of the islands
There are a number of islands that surround San Andres all as beautiful as the next. A perfect activity to add to your list of ‘what to do in San Andres’ is a tour of Johnny Caye and Rose Caye islands. The tours to the islands don’t go every day, due to weather. The guys at the Blue Almond Hostel can book you the tour for $30,000 COP. Just beware as the tours are so cheap pretty much everyone does them, so they get really busy. You also need to wear heaps of sunscreen as there were many a person red as a lobster at the end of the day.
3. snorkel to your heart’s content
Like any good Caribbean island, the snorkelling is one of the top things to do in San Andres Colombia. See if you can pick up a snorkel from the mainland before your arrival and then you can snorkel to your heart’s content for free. If not you can pick one up on the island. The snorkelling is great off all of the beaches so just take your pic.
4. lose your hat at the blow hole
This is one of the more novel things to do in San Andres Colombia. But it’s still worth it for the giggle. You’ll find the blow hole on the opposite side of the island to the town centre. It’s pretty much just a hole in the rocks surrounded by a few restaurants and shops. So really doesn’t look too impressive. However, walk up to the hole, peep your head over and wait a few seconds and you’ll laugh yourself silly when the pressure of the tide forces air really quickly out of the hole and almost blows you away. It’s a nice spot to have some lunch and watch all the other tourists having a go.
5. hire a golf buggy and drive around the island
7. shop, shop, shop
8. take a trip to Providencia
I have to say Providencia was one of my favourite places to visit in Colombia. It’s a smaller, quieter island about 3 hours from San Andres. Head here for total relaxation, stunning beaches and epic snorkelling. The boat is 280 cop return. Just make sure you take the motion sickness tablets they give you as it’s extremely rough!
9. dine finely at the regattta
Walking into the Regatta Restaurant at night is like walking into a seaside fairy village… No joke! There are tonnes of little lights surrounding cute little seaside cabins and decorations. Once you get past that, you reach a stylish island style restaurant set in a big white wooden house. It’s definitely one of the more refined things to do in San Andres Colombia. The food and the service are impeccable and if you’re lucky enough to get a table outside you dine over the water. The prices definitely match the location and service level. However, if you’re looking to treat yo’ self, this is the place to go.
WHERE TO STAY: I stayed in two locations during my trip to san Andres. both had completely different vibes. The first was the blue almond hostel. it was super social and the owners are absolute legends – helping you book tours, holding free pizza nights and taking you out on the town. The only issue is the hostel is a little run down and doesn’t have any aircon. They do have a tonne of fans however as I wasn’t used to the heat yet, I found it a little hard to sleep. my second hostel was El Viajero. which had aircon and a tonne of creature comforts however really lacked the social vibe. to check prices and availability of either of these hostels click HERE. Blue almond books out a few days in advance so make sure you’re on it!
DAILY BUDGET: as it’s an island san Andres is more expensive than the mainland. however as the activities, there are mostly either cheap or free and if you cook for yourself, you can keep your costs down. i spent about $30 – $35 USD per day.
GETTING IN AND AWAY: VIVA COLOMBIA offers super cheap flights from all of the main cities in Colombia. I flew there from Medellin and then flew from San Andres to Cartagena and it cost me about $70 USD in total.
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