Palm-covered beach on San Andres Island
San Andrés might not be on your travel radar just yet, but it should be. This tiny archipelago is part of Colombia, but its colonial history and Caribbean location give it a Creole flavour that’s all its own.
Snorkelling in the tropical waters of the Caribbean
The main island of San Andrés has miles of powder-fine sand and coconut palms, and waters so vivid they’re nicknamed “the Sea of Seven Colours". Beneath the waves, you can snorkel face-to-face with curious sea creatures and eye-catching corals, while the shipwreck off the south-west coast is a magnet for scuba divers.
Local life revolves around the laid-back town of North End, where restaurants serve typical island dishes. Freshly caught fish is always on the menu, along with brimming bowls of “rondon” – a traditional seafood soup with pork and plantain. After dark, the pace picks up and bars fill the night with tropical salsa beats.
A refreshing coconut water direct from the source
When to go?
San Andrés enjoys high temperatures all year round, with well-defined wet and dry seasons. For the best chance of avoiding the rain, plan your trip between December and May, or take your chances during the wetter months to find accommodation bargains and blissfully peaceful beaches.
Where to stay?
Hostal Marlyn – San Andrés, Colombia
The colonial-style architecture at Hostal Marlyn gives a taste of the island’s history. Guests love the bright, air-conditioned rooms and the warm welcome from owner Gladys. It’s also got a quiet location with easy access to beaches and restaurants.
Caribbean Island Hotel Piso 2 – San Andrés, Colombia
This North End hotel is right in the centre of town, with beaches, shops and restaurants all within a few steps. Its modern rooms are decorated with splashes of bright Caribbean colour, and some include practical self-catering facilities. Air conditioning and cooling sea breezes keep temperatures comfortable, whatever the weather.
Tropical Breeze Apartamentos – San Andrés, Colombia
Home comforts are never far away in these North End apartments. Sleek modern kitchens, flat-screen TVs, and air conditioning make Tropical Breeze an ideal base camp for exploring the island. Guests were also won over by their proximity to the beaches and bars of the town centre.