San Andres

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San Andrés is one of the two principal islands of San Andrés and Providencia. It is located 200 Kilometres east of Nicaragua. San Andres and Providence belong to Colombia and are located in Colombian waters. San Andrés is a tourist destination but not as slick and modern as others in the Caribbean. The island specializes in all-inclusive budget vacations that cater towards Colombian tourists. Outside of the downtown area there is a rural feeling, with small houses close to the main circle road, small sidewalks with some areas without any sidewalks at all, and many people hanging out on the streets, even at night. The people are extremely friendly and generally speaking the island is safe. The sea surrounding the area is known by Colombians as the "Mar de siete colores" (seven-coloured sea), due to the variations of depth. To fully appreciate this, it is needed to go to the highest place in the island, around 70 meters high. Any locals will give directions to that precise spot, which is a normal stop for the island tours. (less...) (more...)

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  • Beach Beach
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  • Casino Casino
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  • Education Education
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  • Golf course Golf course
  • Green space Green space
  • Harbor Harbor
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Points of Interest in San Andres

Johnny Cay

Punta Norte

El Cove

Baptist Church

El Hoyo Soplador Geyser

Bolivar Cay

Morgans Cave

San Luis Beach

Island House Museum

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About San Andres


The main language spoken is Spanish, but many speak English as well. The actual natives from the island speak "patua", which is a mix of English, Spanish, and French.


The beaches are very nice. All are open to the public, but the hotels outside of the downtown area have direct access to a number of them.


Most travellers to San Andres have meal plans included with their hotel packages. The variety and quality of the food varies with the hotel choice, but it is in general acceptable. Downtown in San Andres there are plenty of restaurant that serve what they call "almuerzo ejecutivo" (Executive Lunch) or "corrientazo" (short circuit) which is the local term for an economic lunch which may include soup, meat/fish, rice, vegetables, etc. There are also many street spots that sell smaller snacks like "arepas" (thick tortillas) and other local fast foods.

Native cuisine is found downtown, though many foreign travelers enjoy typical islander cuisine found around the "El Cove" bay and San Luis, where the typical dish of the island can be enjoyed: RONDON, which is a soup of Crab, Fish, PigTail, Plantain, Potato, BreadFruit, etc.

Outside of downtown there are small shops selling everything from produce to beer and liquour. Ask at the hotel desk for the nearest one.

Tap water in San Andres is not suited for consumption. It comes from wells and/or desalinization stations.


Tap water on the island is not suitable for human consumption; it comes from wells and/or desalinization stations.

Alcoholic beverages are sold to adults (18 years of age) and are found everywhere around the island; they are very cheap so feel free to bargain and ask around in several shops. Check the caps though, some bottles may have stayed long periods in humid containers and warehouses and develop rust. Beware of counterfeit liquors by purchasing from a reputable store.

Try Coconut Water, or local beverages served in conocut shells: Cocofresa, Cocoloco...


San Andres is a tax free zone - so prices are often cheaper than on the Colombian mainland. There's lots of shops in the town centre, many of which specialize in perfumes.

You can purchase alcoholic beverages at very competitive prices; bargain as much as possible, you may cross the street and find the same object cheaper. Check the bottles for rust around the cap, some bottles may have come by ship and may have spent many days in humid containers/warehouses.

Clothing is very cheap too and you can find famous brands as well as good quality local clothing. Beware of counterfeit merchandise, shop only in reputable stores and boutiques. Ask for warranty (in written).

Do not purchase marine souvenirs (artifacts and handcrafts made of coral). Commercialization of these products contribute to the deforestation of the marine ecosystem.

This article is based on Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike 3.0 Licensed text from the article San Andrés on Wikivoyage.