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San Andres is the big Spanish speaking brother of Providencia. It is much busier and noisier and developed. If you have ever been in Belize, you can compare Providencia to Caye Caulker and San Andres to Ambergris Caye.
Playa Spratt Bight is the most popular beach on San Andres for a good reason. The sand is white and the water is beautifully clear and has many different shades of turquoise. The waves are small and swimming is good. There is, however, basically no snorkeling on Town Beach and limited snorkeling on Playa Spratt Bight. Both beaches are busy and close to tons of entertainment, restaurants, stores and hotels.
Our hotel was Hostal Grand Caribe (map) and we stayed there for 2 nights. It is a half mile of easy walking away from the airport. Town beach is only one block from the hotel. Playa Spratt Bight, which is San Andres’ most popular beach, borders Town Beach in the East. There are many restaurants, super markets and other stores right outside the hotel. The hotel’s central location comes with the downside that you can hear street noise and music from nearby bars during the day. The noise dies down at night, however. When we there, the hotel staff only spoke Spanish, so make sure to have a translation app handy if you don't speak Spanish. Our room was spacious with 1 queen and 2 single size beds and a small fridge. Luckily, the mattresses were not as firm as in some other hotels that we stayed at in Colombia. The bathroom was comparably large, too. There was a closet with small safe between the two rooms. The bedroom had a TV and a quiet and efficient A/C over one bed. Wifi was slow throughout our stay. The hotel serves breakfast from 7:00am to 9:00am on the 4th floor from where you can see the beautiful turquoise and blue ocean. Breakfast is served and not buffet style. You can have 2 eggs your way and, additionally, you get 2 slices of toast and a half pancake. Margarine and marmalade are provided. We asked for coffee, but the lady who did not speak English only offered us hot chocolate. The hotel provides free beach towels on request.
For Pinterest users, here is a pin that you can use:
For better snorkeling and swimming with barracudas and sharks, consider a day trip to Johnny Cay and Acuario & Haynes Cay.
Johnny Cay is probably the most popular day excursion. You can catch boats on Town Beach that bring you to Johnny Cay which is a protected islet about 1 mile (1.5km) North of San Andres.
It has coconut trees and a beautiful white sand beach. Due to its popularity, it will fill up with people quick and you may wonder if there are more people or iguanas on the island. Most day tours continue to Acuario & Haynes Cays after lunch. So, unless you are pressed on time or love to be around many people, you may want to select a tour that lets you stay on the island after 1pm.
Johnny Cay tours typically bring you to tiny Haynes Cay in the afternoon so that you can swim and snorkel in the aquarium (acuario) with hundreds of other people who will otherwise not fit on the tiny beach. Due to the calm waters at the reef, this is the best location for snorkeling, but likely super crowded. You will, however need water shoes to get into the water.
The cave, where Captain Morgan has supposedly buried some of his treasures, is under water and you can only see its mouth and you cannot enter it.
Our next destination was Bogota. Click here for more information on Bogota.
Here are descriptions and tours of the destinations that we visited: