Colombia’s Insular Region – San Andrés & Providence
Covering 10 sq mi2 (26 km2) San Andrés boasts as being the largest island in the chain that makes up the archipelago. This coral island is more famed for its powder white beaches and Duty Free shopping, which draws in Colombian tourists, though its environment is so much more diverse and appealing to just those seeking the sun and shopping. With its large mangrove forests and coral reefs the island can boast a vast diversity of flora which consequently attract marine and land animals.
Providencia in contrast is one of a few Caribbean islands yet to be affected by mass tourism and is an unspoilt tropical island some 56 miles (90 kms) north of San Andrés. This English speaking and laid back island, with a slant on the Creole is has facilities to cater for a small number of visitors, however the appealing features about Providencia are that there are empty coconut palm tree lines beaches, tranquil turquoise waters for excellent scuba diving or snorkelling, and hikes that will take the traveller through rainforests and over volcano peaks.
La Cueva de Morgan (Captain Morgan’s Cave):
The infamous Welsh pirate Captain Henry Morgan is said to have buried his ‘booty’ of seized treasure; it is this legend that lures visitors to the cave which is accessible through an underwater passage. The caves and surrounding aquatic area are also an attraction for snorkelers with an abundant marine life. There is a small museum and seaquarium to complete an excursion here.
This small coral islet a short distance north of the main town in San Andrés can be reached by boat. The visitor is welcomed by groves lined with coconut palm trees and talcum white sand, as if bleached by the sun under foot. An excellent day excursion to sunbathe, swim, dive and picnic Johnny Cay is a must when exploring San Andrés.