Suddenly we decided to buy two plane tickets from Medellín to San Andrés Island, because we were a bit low-spirited and what better way to recharge than to be in one of the wonderful islands of the Colombian Caribbean, right?!

San Andrés, along with Providencia and Santa Catalina, make up the Archipelago, which concentrates the third most important coral reef in the world and hundreds of species of fishes and corals. For this reason, it was declared in 2000 by UNESCO a Biosphere Reserve.

Tourists from different parts of the world come to the island of San Andrés every year, attracted by its 7-coloured sea, water sports, colourful dreamy sunsets and its interesting culture.

Also, as it is a free port, it pays neither tax nor VAT, for this cause, liquors, sweets and perfumes are cheap.

The inhabitants of this beautiful island are Raizales, that is, an Afro-Caribbean ethnic group resulting from European, American, Afro and indigenous cultures that have their traditions under a reggae atmosphere, follow the Baptist church and speak their own language, Creole; which is indeed very lovely to hear.

If you want to go to the Island of San Andrés, in this travel guide you will find everything you need to know about the budget and itinerary so that you can pack your suitcase with your partner, friends or family so that they can enjoy this paradise to the fullest.

Without waiting any longer, let’s get down to business!

Content Structure.

1- How to get to San Andrés Island?

2- What airlines fly to San Andrés Island?

3- What is the tourist card or Occre (Oficina de Control, Circulacion y Residencia), where to buy the tourist card and how much is the tourist card worth on the Island of San Andrés? Do children pay the Occre card?

4- How long can you stay on San Andrés Island?

5- Where is the airport of San Andrés Island?

6- How to go from the San Andrés Island airport to the hotel?

7- Where to stay on San Andrés Island?

8- What to do on San Andrés Island?

9- What plans to do on San Andrés Island?

10- Where to eat on San Andrés Island?

11- What to do at night on San Andrés Island

11- Recommendations.

1- How to get to San Andrés Island?

The only way is to get there by air. The island of San Andrés is in the middle of the Caribbean Sea, therefore, there are no roads that connect it with the cities of Colombia

2- What airlines fly to San Andrés Island?

From Colombia the airlines that operate are Avianca, Latam, Vivi Air and Copa Airlines Colombia. Flights depart every day, from the cities of Medellín, Cali, Bogotá, Cartagena and Barranquilla. Depending on the time of the year and the anticipation of the purchase, the ticket can be at an affordable price.

3- What is the tourist card or Occre, where to buy the tourist card, and what is the price of the tourist card on the Island of San Andrés? Do children pay the Occre card?

The tourist card is a tax paid by people who are not native residents of the Island. You have to buy the tourist card before boarding the plane at the airline reception; Keep in mind that you must present it when you enter and leave the island. The tourist card as of October 18, 2021, has a price of 118,700 COP / 32 USD

Children under 7 years old do not pay entrance to the island, they only need to present their civil registration.

4- How long can you stay on San Andrés Island?

People who enter the archipelago of San Andrés, Providencia and Santa Catalina as tourists can only stay 4 continuous or discontinuous months.

5- Where is the airport of San Andrés Island?

Gustavo Rojas Pinilla International Airport is in the northern part of the island, near the main Spratt Bight beach.

6- How to go from the San Andrés Island airport to the hotel?

If the hotel reservation comes without transfer, you must take a taxi, which, by the way, the rates of the races are very high.

From 15,000 COP / 4 USD

7- Where to stay on San Andrés Island?

There are different accommodations from hotels, all-inclusive resorts, to hostels. So, according to your preference, choose the area that best suits you. If you would like to be close to the main beach, commerce and nightlife, the city center is ideal, but if you want to be on the loneliest beaches, the best would be to stay in the southern part of the island. In my opinion, it is better if you distribute your time between these two areas.

8- What to do on San Andrés Island?

A) Visit the most beautiful beaches of San Andrés

This little Caribbean corner is fortunate to have a sea of ​​crystal clear turquoise blue waters with very fine white sand.

  • Spratt bight or Bahia Sardina

Spratt Bight is the main beach of San Andrés with calm and crystal clear waters. The front has a median of almost 2 kilometres in length where there are hotels, restaurants, ice cream parlours, clothing stores and Duty-Free.

The landscape is beautiful, it is full of palm trees, and you can also see the Johnny Cay gully.

  • Johny Cay

The Caño de Johny Cay is a regional park, it is 7 minutes by boat from San Andrés, a very visited place; populated by hundreds of palm trees, white sand with strong winds and waves. Perfect to chill on the beach while reading, tanning and drinking a “Cocoloco”.

  • Sound bay beach, San Luis

On the other side of the island, in the San Luis neighborhood, a more local place, very different from the center. You will see houses made with the traditional island’s architecture. Literally, beach houses. The vibe is more relaxed, with few tourists and many islanders doing their beachfront business. In short, my favorite place for its tranquility.

  • The aquarium and Haynes Cay

It is among the most visited tourist sites in San Andrés, there you can walk through the sand that comes out of the sea, explore marine species, swim with many fishes and even sharks.

Some tourism agencies offer the service of swimming with stingrays, you can pet them and feed them. Although, keep in mind that this type of tourism affects this species; environmentalists all over the world agree that these practices affect their diet and development, directly affecting their lives.

You can also walk along the sea to Haynes Cay.

  • Rocky Cay or Cocoplim Bay

Rocky Cay is a small island with rocky soil that does not have a beach but forms a natural pool. This paradisaical and wild corner inhabits many iguanas, perfect for going diving or snorkeling, in addition, you can take the opportunity to take a look at a stranded ship.

It connects with the Cocoplim bay beach where you can go swimming, rest for a while on the beach, or eat in a typical island restaurant while you enjoy the view.

  • Bengue’s place and charquitos beach

In the south of San Andrés there is the quiet and solitary beach of Bengue’s place and the puddles of still waters, due to a wall of reefs that surround it. Here you can spend a moment while sipping a coconut lemonade while contemplating the colorful San Andres sky.

B) Rent a motorcycle or a golf cart to go around the island

Touring the entire island by motorcycle or golf cart without stopping can take 50 minutes. The price of the motorcycle is approximately 130,000 COP / 34 USD and of the golf cart about 160,000 COP / 42 USD. You can also rent it for several days, and they will give you a discount.

This is a good option because you can get to know the corners of the island at your own speed, make stops and take pictures in the many beautiful places around the Island.

Remember that the driver must have a license.

C) Visit Mangle Old Point Park

The park is a flora and fauna sanctuary, where you have the option of kayaking to get to know the mangrove and the species that inhabit there such as crabs, mussels, lizards and iguanas, as well as endemic and migratory birds for approximately 90,000 COP / 24 USD per person 2 hours.

D) Climb the hill of the island

There you can discover the first Baptist church in Latin America built-in 1847, which is very beautiful. You can also climb the bell tower to enjoy an incredible panoramic view of the island and the sea of ​​7 colours for approximately 10,000 COP / 3 USD

E) Snorkel in West View and “La Piscinita”

To get in West View, the entrance is approximately 5000 COP / 2 USD and at La Piscinita, you do not pay entrance, only consumption in the restaurant. Both do not have a beach but are natural pools, excellent for snorkelling and for the most daring to jump from a diving board.

F) Diving

Without a doubt, diving is one of those experiences that you have to live at least once in your life. When you go to San Andrés do not stop doing it, you can get it from 100,000 COP / 27 USD. You will be able to swim with many fish, explore the corals, see submerged statues and undoubtedly have a once in a lifetime experience.

G) Do parasail

If you like heights, you cannot stop doing this incredible activity. In parasail, you are lifted to a height of 100mts / 328,084 feet through a parachute dragged by a boat, from where you will have the best view of the island of San Andrés, of the third-largest coral barrier in the world, the aquarium, of the sea ​​7 colours and appreciate the wonderful nature.

It has an approximate price of 150,000 COP / 40 USD I assure you that you will not forget it.

H) Visit the Island House Museum

This beautiful house was built more than 100 years ago, now it is a museum and the objects, history and traditions of the Raizal people remain preserved in this place. Here, you can briefly learn more about the Raizal culture and the pirate attacks of the 17th century.

Entrance is 10,000 COP / 3 USD. Every day from 9am to 5pm

9- Where to eat on San Andrés Island?

This was the only thing that, during my time on the island, left me disappointed, because some restaurants where I went to eat had food already made, and they only heated it, and it is not tasty at all.

  • The regatta

It is one of the best restaurants in San Andrés with an artistic, romantic and beach atmosphere, it is built-in wood over the sea. Their attention is excellent, and their dishes are exquisite.

Ideal to go to celebrate a birthday, anniversary, commitment whatever you want. Ah yes, it is very requested so I recommend you make the reservation 8 days in advance.

From 50,000 COP / 14 USD

  • The Paradise

It is located on the beach of San Luis. It is a restaurant with a beach and has chairs for sunbathing you will feel in a very Caribbean atmosphere, their speciality is paella, however, they prepare good seafood.

From 40,000 COP / 11 USD

Food on the boardwalk of Spartt Bright, the flames “Fair Tables”

A group of locals is placed in tents from 11:30 am with their typical food stalls of the island that are very good and inexpensive. You do not stay without trying them.

From 15,000 COP / 4 USD

10- What to do at night on San Andrés Island?

You will notice that one of the things that tourists do is drinking and partying. The atmosphere at night is very happy and energetic. Therefore, the “Rumba” is a must. Clubs are many. The music is dalzell, reggae and reggaeton.

Freedom was the place we have been to, it’s very nice and has good music. I recommend it!

11- Recommendations:

Now I will give you 5 recommendations that will help you in your stay on the island of San Andrés:

  • Take sunscreen and apply it every moment, as well as a hat and glasses because the sun is very strong.
  • Ask for prices first and learn to negotiate if it’s a fair amount of money.
  • On the island there are services such as ATMs, supermarkets, Wi-Fi connection, drugstore, hospital, but there is no drinkable water, so you will have to buy many bottles of water, and remember to not throw away the plastic. Take it to the trash cans.
  • Hotel, restaurant or tours, book everything in advance.
  • Bring fins and snorkel.

Enjoy your stay in San Andres and let us know, how it goes!

1 Comment

  • Mariela
    Posted 5 November 2021 20:43 0Likes

    Nice guide, it helped me to know and be clear about the places I would like to visit. I will travel next week.

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