San Andres Island lies in the Caribbean Sea, around 750 kilometres northwest of mainland Colombia. The most significant thing is that if you are already visiting Colombia, it is effortless and affordable to get to the island from major cities.
The closest city, offering the most affordable flights, is Cartagena. You can add a lovely coral reef island to your Colombia travel plans.
San Andres Island features a long history of colonization. Although the indigenous people of San Andres, the Raizel people, do not count themselves Colombians, the island is part of the Colombian region.
The history of San Andres makes this hidden gem a unique Colombian travel destination, as nearly everyone speaks English and Caribbean Creole.
How to Get to San Andrea Island From the Colombian Mainland?
The most straightforward way to get to San Andres Island is to fly. There are direct flights to San Andres Island from the most prominent cities in Colombia, including Bogotá, Cartagena, and Medellín. As well, flights are
The cheapest place to fly from is probably Cartagena, just over a one-hour flight. However, most Colombian airlines add ridiculous baggage fees. So, you can leave your baggage with your accommodation.
The Most Exciting Things to Do in San Andrés
- Explore the Island by a Golf Card or Motorbike
To explore San Andres Island, rent a motorbike or Golf Cart. That’s because the tiny Caribbean Island of San Andres extends to an area of just 26 km². So, you can ride around the island in less than an hour.
Prices vary according to the season and the quality of the vehicle. However, generally, motorbikes, mopeds or scooters are much more reasonable. You can book a moped or rent a golf cart online in advance to save time.
- Boat Tour
One of the most adventurous activities on San Andres Island of Colombia is enjoying a boat tour of some sand bars, the fantastic cays, and coastal sightseeing.
If you do not have enough time to explore as many coastal attractions in one day, you can book the VIP boat tour and go island hopping.
It is the most cost-effective way to see the stunning white sand beaches, coral reefs, and cays; it takes about 7 hours. You can also reserve this tour online in advance. The boat trip includes:
- Johnny Cay
- Aquarius, Rose Cay
- Bahia de San Andres, bay
- Mar de 7 Colores, Sea of 7 Colors
- The Mangroves
- “Manta Rays”
- All environmental fees
- El Acuario and Haynes Cay
You can explore this tiny island to enjoy the white-sand beaches, lovely coral reefs, crystal clear water, and abundant sea life.
El Acuario and Haynes Cay are two little islands on the east coast of San Andres. You can visit this place during the VIP tour. You can also get here by boat from Spratt Bight beach.
El Acuario is a small but famous sand bar island with clear, turquoise water. There is no flora here; instead, there are a few small bars and seafood restaurants. It is one of the ideal places on the island for swimming and snorkelling.
Haynes Cay is located just over 100 metres from El Acuario. Haynes Cay is a more extensive, rocky island with palm trees and green, tropical flora. The excellent point about this trip is that travellers can walk between the islands by swimming through waist-deep water.
- A Day Trip at Johnny Cay
The major attraction and favourite thing to do in San Andres, Colombia, is to enjoy a day trip to Johnny Cay.
It is another small island directly out from Spratt Bight, the main beach in town. A visit to this exquisite tropical island is also included in the VIP tour, or you can take a boat transfer.
Johnny Cay extends slightly larger than Haynes Cay and features an epic white-sand beach with deep, clear waters. The island has abundant coconut palm trees and great island vibes all around.
In addition, this attraction features a protective designation as “Johnny Cay Natural Regional Park”, which means you have to pay an additional cost to get here.
- Enjoy Scuba Diving
The island of San Andres is a world-famous scuba diving destination. The main reason why many travellers risk to this spot is to experience the underwater world or to obtain their scuba diving license.
There are many excellent dive spots on the island, which have abundant coral reefs and marine life. The significant feature of dive sites in the Caribbean is the perfect visibility which often reaches over 35 metres.
However, San Andres was one of the most affordable diving destinations in Central and South America. If you have a scuba diving licence, you will find many shops in the village and alongside the west coast.
- Mar De 7 Colours or Sea of 7 Colours
Mar de 7 Colores is the nickname of the shallow water surrounding San Andres Island. It means the Sea of 7 Colours.
If you are lucky to have a window seat on the plane, you can have a quick look before arriving. However, It is possible to do so if you go by one of the boat tours.
The colours are most apparent on the north and east sides of the island, where the ocean hues vary from a deep green to a light aqua blue. It is because of deep sections, the many sand spits, and spots of coral reefs.
- Chill out on Piscinita Beach
Piscinita beach is a famous travel destination, that’s why it is more crowded than many of the best beaches. If you want to unwind, take your motorbike or golf cart to La Piscinita on the southwest coast.
La Piscinita means “the little pool”. It is an exquisite natural gem, a tiny but deep, round natural cove made up of the surrounding coastal rocks. The water is ideal for swimming in this spot.
A dramatic shark attack occurred in 2022 in more than 35 years. As a result, the pool ladder and the diving board were removed.
Going parasailing is probably one of the most exciting adventure activities on San Andres Island. Most parasailing activities work on the east coast. It is fantastic as it offers fabulous views of the Sea of 7 Colors.
The Colombian Caribbean island has to be at the top of the must-see list, especially since it is cheap.
- San Andres Island Mangroves
The protected mangrove reserve is one of the most exciting attractions, the Parque National Manglares de Old Point. It lies south of the main town in San Andres.
- El Hoyo Soplador, Blow Hole
It is a tiny hole situated on the southern shores and is usually quite a famous place to visit.
If you plan your visit, you can manage to watch the explosion of water getting up far into the sky through the tiny hole in the rock. It is perfect for visiting during the high tide and when a bit of surge is coming in.
At the El Hoyo Soplador blowhole, you can also spot some small rasta cafes and large restaurants.
- Explore The San Andrea Island Botanical Gardens
The San Andres botanical gardens are popular as Jardín Botánico de San Andrés situated just north of San Luis on a steep road heading to La Loma.
Inside the gardens, you can learn about native Caribbean plant species and head up to the viewpoint, which offers an excellent panoramic view of the island.
- Chill on Rocky Cay and Cocoplum Beach
Playa Cocoplum and Rocky Cay are ideal for travellers who want to unwind. It is among the most relaxing areas on San Andrea Island.
Cocoplum Beach is a famous beach featuring white sand and tropical palm trees. In addition, it is one of the ideal beaches for swimming on the island. It also features resorts and small beach cafes all the way along.
On the other side of Cocoplum Beach, you can find the smaller island of Rocky Cay. This rocky land is not over 10 metres long and has just a few palm trees. There is a famous shipwreck next to it called Barco Encallado, which landed here many years ago.
However, if you want to explore this tiny island best, just rent a kayak from one of the resorts alongside Cocoplum beach. The distance is more than 200 metres; it is a leisurely paddle.
- Enjoy the West View
On San Andres Island, the East Coast has excellent white sand beaches, while the island’s west side is mainly rocky. The west coast has the most serene waters, specifically when the famous easterly winds blow.
One of the most famous attractions on the west coast of San Andres is a little area named “Eco Parque West View”. It is a perfect spot for swimming and jumping into crystal clear water. You can also try the giant water slide and the on-site bar if you want to buy beers and snacks.
If you want a getaway, you can go a bit further north to a small bar not many hundred metres at the end of the road. You pay the entrance fees; the whole place is yours from afternoon to sunset.
- Explore Cueva De Morgan, Morgan’s Cave
Cueva de Morgan is another tourist attraction on San Andres Island that is appropriate for families with small kids. Morgan’s Cave is more like a small amusement park than an actual cave, with characters wearing pirate costumes and housing a miniature ship.
- Spratt Bight Beach
Spratt Bight Beach, or Playa Spratt Bight, is the central beach on San Andres Island. It is a lovely white sand beach featuring crystal clear waters on the east coast of San Andres town.
Its popularity mainly derives from the fact that it is near the majority of the hotels in town. Its shores are lined with small umbrella tents, and the main road behind it has many street vendors.
While Spratt Bight is the most famous beach on the island, it has to be at the top of the must-visit list. From the shore, you can enjoy the fantastic view of Johnny Cay.
Top Hotels in San Andrés Island
- Hotel Decameron Maryland All Inclusive
It is a 4-star hotel located in Av Colombia nro 9-38, 880001 San Andrés. The hotel offers one swimming pool, free wifi, and family rooms but no parking. It features various amenities, including outdoor furniture, beachfront, 24-hour front desk, currency exchange and more.
The hotel also features various activities, including live music or performance, happy hour, evening entertainment, and watersport facilities. It also features luggage storage, daily housekeeping, a coffee house on site, a snack bar, 24-hour security, and more.
The hotel has various room types at different rates according to the room type and facilities. Most rooms feature air conditioning, a flatscreen tv, an ensuite bathroom, minibar, complimentary toiletries, a wardrobe or closet, outdoor furniture and more.
- Decameron Aquarium – All Inclusive
It is a 3-star hotel located in Av Colombia nro 1-19, 880001 San Andrés. The hotel offers one swimming pool, free wifi, family rooms, and an airport shuttle. It also features minimarket on-site, shuttle service, lift and more.
The hotel also offers some activities, including live music or performance, evening entertainment, nightclub or DJ, snorkelling, diving, windsurfing, and karaoke. There is also a coffee house on site, fruits, a snack bar and a restaurant.
The hotel has various rooms with different facilities. Most rooms feature a balcony, air conditioning, ensuite bathroom, complimentary toiletries, bath or shower, towels, hairdryer, clothes rack, seating area, wardrobe or closet, and more.
- Decameron San Luis – All Inclusive
It is a 3-star hotel which is located in Carretera Circunvalar a San Luis Km 17, 880001 San Andrés. The hotel offers three swimming pools, family rooms and a restaurant. It features airport drop-off, airport pick-up, luggage storage, a tour desk and more.
The hotel also offers various activities, including tennis equipment, evening entertainment, snorkelling, canoeing, windsurfing, karaoke, table tennis, billiards, games room and tennis court. It also features daily housekeeping, ironing service, room service and more.
The hotel has various room types with different facilities. Most rooms feature air conditioning, a private bathroom, a minibar, complimentary toiletries, a hairdryer, toilet paper, towels, a fan, a safety deposit box, a bath or shower, cable channels and more.
- Decameron Marazul – All Inclusive
It is a 3-star hotel located in Km 4 Via San Luis, 880001 San Andrés. The hotel offers one swimming pool, beachfront, free wifi and family rooms. It also features outdoor furniture, a private beach area, a 24-hour front desk, luggage storage and more.
The hotel also features various activities, including aerobics, live music or performance, happy hour, beach, tennis equipment, evening entertainment, nightclub or DJ, snorkelling, diving, canoeing, windsurfing, karaoke, and a tennis court.
The hotel also has various room types with different facilities. Most rooms feature a balcony, air conditioning, patio, ensuite bathroom, flatscreen tv, minibar, complimentary toiletries, bath or shower, a safety deposit box, linen, cable channels and more.
The Best Restaurants in San Andres
- Beer Station San Andres
It is one of the favourite restaurants in San Andres, located in Avenida Colombia 1a-16 Lc 102, San Andres. The restaurant serves American cuisine, fast food and a bar. It features lunch, brunch, dinner, after-hours, and drinks.
- The Grog Rocky Cay
It is among the most famous restaurants in San Andres, located in Vía San Luis Al Lado Hotel Cocoplum Isla, San Andres. It serves Caribbean, Latin, Seafood, South American, Colombian, and Central American cuisines. There are also vegetarian-friendly meals.
The restaurant also features lunch and drinks. It works every day from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- Restaurante Capitan Mandy
It is one of the top restaurants in Avenida Rock Hole Frente Agua Halley, diagonal a Van Cliff Newball, San Andres. It serves Caribbean, Latin, Seafood, Soups, South American, and Colombian cuisines. There are also gluten-free options.
The restaurant features lunch and after-hours. It opens from Sunday to Wednesday from 12 noon to 5 p.m, Thursday to Saturday from 12 noon to 5 p.m, then from 7 p.m to 11 p.m.
- La Pizzetta Florio
It is one of the top-rated restaurants located in Av. Colon CC Uni San Andres, local 114, San Andres. It serves Italian cuisine and pizza. There are vegetarian-friendly and vegan options. It opens every day from 5:15 p.m to 10:45 p.m.
San Andres is one of the hidden gems and a unique Colombian travel destination located in the Caribbean Sea. It features various attractions, accommodations and restaurants as well.