Comprising two island groups in the Caribbean Sea, San Andres, Providencia and Santa Catalina is the only Colombian department that lies within North America. Closer to Nicaragua than Colombia, its islands are ringed by stunning beaches and outlying reefs that attract scuba divers and snorkellers from near and far.
Things to do in San Andres y Providencia
With their natural beauty, fascinating colonial history and laid-back lifestyle, San Andres, Providencia and Santa Catalina are sure to enchant.
Go scuba diving in San Andres. The waters surrounding San Andres are a scuba diving heaven and the reason that many visitors venture to the archipelago. Book an excursion with one of the local operators to explore the colourful reefs and wrecks, which provide a habitat for tropical fish species, sharks and bioluminescent plankton. Snorkelling gear is available to rent at many of San Andres’s beaches and boat trips are on offer to the best offshore snorkelling spots.
Relax on the beaches of Providencia. Providencia is fringed by white sandy beaches backed by towering palms, with Playa Manzanillo among the most beautiful. You can swim in the warm waters of the Caribbean Sea before refreshing with a piña colada or dining on king crab at the beachfront restaurants. For something more active, paddle to paradisiacal Crab Cay and snorkel alongside its resident sea turtles.
Learn about the colonial history of Santa Catalina. Connected by a 100-metre-long footbridge to Providencia, Santa Catalina is the smallest of the three islands and is renowned for its unique rock formations. Dominating the south-west coast of the island are the remains of Fort Warwick, which was built by Spanish colonists as a defence outpost. You can marvel at the old cannons that are on display while enjoying the spectacular views of Providencia.
Getting around San Andres y Providencia
Gustavo Rojas Pinilla International Airport on San Andres is the main aviation gateway to San Andres, Providencia and Santa Catalina and has flights to destinations across Latin America. From San Andres, there are regular flights to Airport El Embrujo on Providencia. Buses travel around the islands and rental cars are readily available.