San Andres y Providencia
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Destinations Caribbean San Andres y Providencia

San Andres y Providencia

The archipelago of San Andrés, Providencia y Santa Catalina, identified by UNESCO as a World Biosphere Reserve, is located 480 miles (720 km) northwest from the Colombian Caribbean Coast. It is made up of the islands of San Andres, Providencia and other little islands.

Famous for its sea of seven colors, San Andrés is home to many-hued fish and coral, as well as more than 70 species of migratory birds. It’s a place of whitesand beaches, fun nightlife, excellent water-sports, diving and ecotourism. Thanks to a vivid and multi-ethnical history, San Andrés offers a varied cultural experience with salsa and reggae as background music.

Closer to Nicaragua and Jamaica, the archipelago came to be Colombian as a result of piracy, wars of independence, slavery, immigration, sugar, cotton and religion. Originally settled by the Spanish in 1510, the islands were part of Panama, then part of Guatemala and Nicaragua. They attracted the attention of Dutch and English pirates, who settled in the islands and, according to the legend, hid their treasures in its caves. English Puritans and Jamaican woodcutters followed the pirates and it wasn’t until 1821, during the Wars of Independence, that Francisco de Paula Santander took the islands and the Colombian flag was raised. Even after the islands became Colombian territory, the English influence remained in its architecture, language, and religion. Today, the official language is Spanish, although it’s the creole language (a mixture of french and english) that is spoken by the locals.

The island of Providencia lies 90 km north of San Andres and covers an area of 17 square km. It is what one might call a paradisiac island: white sand beaches shaded by palm trees, turquoise-blue clear water, friendly locals, quiet and laid-back atmosphere, great topography, and fantastic seafood.  Its volcanic origin makes its geography very rugged and with a plentiful supply of water. Its inhabitants are a strange mixture of sailors and mountain folk, who show little interest in trade or mass tourism; they only wish to keep their island the peaceful, provincial place it has always been up to now. An excellent location for scuba diving and snorkeling, this small island is a dream come true for sea lovers.

Amaterra tours featuring San Andres & Providencia :

- The Caribbean in 3 different colors