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San Andrés Island may be the greatest accumulation of islands within the Caribbean Sea. While Christopher Columbus was the very first European to really unearth the Islands. British Pilgrims settled them in early 17th Century. Within the next two centuries, the archipelago would witness its fair share of conflict because the European forces combated with the forces that rule the island. Meanwhile, the infamous sailing, Henry Morgan, used San Andrés Island as his base for attacks all around the Caribbean. In 1793, the dispute was finally settled, as England recognized Spain's sovereignty within the islands within the Versailles Treaty.
While San Andrés is located 50 km (31 mi) south of Providencia, the Colombian archipelago is approximately 230 km (140 mi) east of Nicaragua[4] and about 750 km (470 mi) north of the Colombian mainland. This archipelago encompasses a total area of 57 km2 (22 sq mi), including the outer cays, reefs, atolls and sand banks, with the area of the islands being 45 km2 (17 sq mi).[4] In 2000, it was declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, named “Seaflower Biosphere Reserve”, which not only includes the islands but also about 10% of the Caribbean Sea, amounting to a vast marine area of 300,000 km2 (120,000 sq mi).The purpose of this declaration is to ensure that the ecosystem, which is rich in biodiversity, is well preserved and conserved.
Activities around the island include diving and scuba diving, jetskis, KAYAKS, wind surfing, kite surfing, horse riding, submarine tours and lots of other available choices. You will find also lots of people which come here mainly for that great duty free shopping and cheaper electronics.
Although San Andrés Island is just 80 miles from Nicaragua, the archipelago is really a property of Colombia, which is almost 500 miles away. The island's economy accustomed to focus on cotton until slavery was eliminated within the mid-1800s. Coconuts grew to become the primary supply of earnings for that local people, until a plague destroyed the whole coconut crop in 1930. Now, San Andrés Island uses its status like a duty-free port to draw in tourism and industry.
San Andres Island is among two islands which will make up San Andrés y Providencia. The Hawaiian Islands have to do with 775 km (480 miles) northwest of Colombia and 220 km (140 miles) in the coast of Nicaragua, and eight outlying banks and reefs. Its capital is San Andrés.
San Andres Island has beautiful beaches indicated by whitened sand, red-colored corals, and transparent water which has seven different shades of blue, and that's why it's called the "Ocean of Seven Colors." Its plant life consists mainly of coconut trees.
San Andrés Island is just eight miles lengthy, rather than increases above 200 ft in elevation. Someplace Sunny and Warm Ocean that surrounds San Andrés is especially resplendent, with seven shades of blue water easily visible round the island. About 60,000 people call San Andrés home today. They're fortunate to enjoy year-round temperate weather, tepid to warm water, beautiful Florida-style sunsets, along with a laid-back lifestyle.
Docking & Local Transportation
Luxury cruise ships pier in the Port of San Andrés. There's quick access to road transportation from the main harbor.Taxis are the best choice for travel on San Andrés. Ensures to barter your fare in advance, or else you might be overcharged. Because San Andrés is just eight miles lengthy, you are able to cover lots of ground by motor scooter or bicycle. There are plenty of rental shops along Avenida Colombia.
Things To See and Do

Among the tourist attractions of the island are:
North End, is known locally as the center of San Andres, which concentrates the hotel zone, commercial, banking and government.
Isleña House Museum (Casa Museo isleña), which was created by the natives in order to acquaint visitors with the culture and customs of the inhabitants.
La Loma, a town inhabited almost entirely by natives of the island and one of the best places to appreciate the traditional island architecture.
The Cayo Santander (or Coton Cay), which is located opposite the pier and close to the coast of the Bay of San Andres, its name comes from the English settlers there deposited cotton crops and coconut.
The Cliff or Peñon, limestone formation surrounding the airport, which is a rocky cliff about 30 meters high above the airport.
Cocoplumbay, a beach located in the town of San Luis, right in front of Cayo Rocoso, because of its shallow depth, with its white sand and blue sea green, is a favorite spot for tourists.
La Piscinita, natural formation that built the sea in the coral rock that surrounds the island.
Towards the southeast from the island, you will find the Pox Hole, an all natural oddity. After 1000's of years, the ocean has created a little pool from the barrier rock that surrounds the opening. A great spot for underwater exploration. Lastly, around the southern tip of San Andrés may be the island's most spectacular natural phenomenon.
Apart from burning to a crisp and sipping cocktails in your own private shaded banana lounge, there is quite a bit to do on the island of San Andres. I got used to island life during my four-day visit and here’s what I suggest travellers get amongst if they’re lucky enough to visit this beautiful part of the Caribbean.
The first thing to do in San Andres is to get into the island vibe
There are day tours available by bus on the island which is shared with other visitors, but I opted to hire my own gold buggy for the day and discovered the island on my own and at my own pace.
I hired a buggy through my hotel for $60,000 COL (around $30) for three hours. I drove around the entire island, which took probably about two and a half hours, stopping and starting along the way.
You’ll get the opportunity to see the entire coastline of the island and the smaller towns, shops and homes which are away from the main tourist area in the centre of town. This is a great way to begin your stay in San Andres so you can get a better feel for the size of the island, where everything is, and where you want to visit again.
Acuario and Johnny Cay
My visit to the Acuario and Johnny Cay were probably my favourite parts about the entire trip to San Andres. Again, I organised a tour through our hotel which cost us $15,000COL (approximately $7) to visit both the Acuario and Johnny Cay and then a further $4,000COL ($2) each for the government’s ecological tax at Johnny Cay. The Acuario is a natural aquarium at a small island sand-bank close to San Andres. Just off the shore there are fish, sting rays and other sea creatures. And because it is so close to the shore, you don’t really need to know how to swim – just paddle in the water and swim with the fishies. But for the adventurous, grab your snorkel mask and get out there. After visiting the Acuario I jumped back in the boat and zipped along to Johnny Cay which is about 15 minutes away.
One of the natural wonders on the island is the water geyser or El Hoyo Suplidor. It’s only active in certain conditions, but lucky for me it was putting on quite a show when I paid a visit. You’re bound to be approached by local kids on the island asking to show you where the geyser is, where to get a drink, and whether they can take your photo for you. Have a chat to the kids if your Spanish allows for it, make a bit of a joke with them and they will be sure to take care of you. Our “guides” brought me a Piña Colada and took care of my golf buggy by sitting in it and pretending to drive it. But, they were good kids. I chatted to their mum, who made my cocktail, and she said they were in school and could speak English and Spanish. Spanish being their second language. Give them a tip if you come across them, why don’t you.
Snorkeling or diving
There are some great places to go snorkeling in San Andres including La Piscinita, West View and El Cove. In the coastal reef surrounding San Andres there is around 50 species of coral and it’s home to varying marine life including dolphins and tropical fish. If you’re a diver, there are a bunch of PADI-affiliated dive school on the island, too, including Sharky Dive Shop and Blue Life. And, you won’t be at a loss of places to dive either, there are more than 35 dive sites, including caves and shipwrecks, in the area.
Get your hair braided
Sure, there’s something cheesy and oh so white about a blonde girl getting her hair braided while in the Caribbean. My hair is too thin to get this done without losing 80% of my hair anyway, so I didn’t do it. But I saw a lot of travellers walking around with their new braided ‘do. Expect an insta-afro when you take it out once you get home, too.
Bike around the island
As well as the golf buggies, there are also bikes for hire. They’re a quick and easy way to get acquainted with island and island life. I didn’t actually come across the bikes for hire until it was too late, so look out for them if you want to step you relaxing beach vacation up a notch.
Although San Andres is a small island, there are still some great spots for sightseers. Check out The Hill, a lookout point and the highest part of the island – at the summit you’ll find the island’s oldest church. Or there’s Morgan’s Cave, which is said to be where pirate Henry Morgan hid his treasure.
Ray Night Tour
There are tours offering people the opportunity to swim with sting rays just off the coast at Haynes Cay. Tours leave at around 3pm, go for three hours and cost $55,000COL. ph: 316 240 2182
Visit to the Caribbean just wouldn’t be complete with some relaxed beach time. This really is San Andrés' most spectacular attraction. Someplace Sunny And Warm Ocean here turns brilliant shades of blue, generating San Andrés Island the nickname island from the seven-colored seas. Near El Centro, Sprat Bight is definitely filled with people. Nearly half miles of whitened sand and obvious water await you here. From Sprat Bight, you can observe the little islets of Johnny Cay and Haynes Cay. These two small islands feature excellent beaches.
Aquatic Sports
The balmy waters from the Caribbean allow for outstanding scuba diving and diving. The Pox Hole around the southeastern side of San Andrés Island is a place that gives itself to scuba diving and diving. You will find numerous dive shops that organize half-day or full-day dive activities particularly for cruise people. Among the finest outfitters around the island is Diver's Dream.
Eating Out
Rondon may be the niche from the island. The dish is really a stew created using pork, chicken, celery, taters and bananas. It is a real treat for food connoisseurs. El Rincón p la Langosta is really a lobster-lover's dream. District takes pride in the multiple formulations of lobster, each one of these more succulent compared to last. Casablanca, within the Hotel Casablanca, offers elegant dining along with a spectacular look at the ocean.
After hrs happens when San Andrés Island really gets hotter. Entire blocks are cordoned off for those-evening dance parties. Vacationers tend to be more than thanks for visiting participate in. Should you prefer to visit a nightclub, nowhere Deep within the Hotel Sunrise Beach is full all year long lengthy.
San Andrés Island hosts a varied couple of stores. To obtain a large amount of shopping completed in a tiny bit of time, simply take a jaunt along Avenida Colombia in El Centro. Almacén Leader includes a nice assortment of women's island fashion. Island artwork is featured at Artesanías Mara

The island of San Andres is a duty free zone which means a lot of things like alcohol, candy and perfume are cheap as chips. If you’re an alcoholic or buying souvenirs for friends and family back in Bogotá, be sure to leave a couple of hours on your last day to stock up.

Besides the warm, pristine waters, sandy beaches and enticing nightlife, there are some great San Andres shopping spots that no tourist should miss when visiting this exciting Caribbean island. San Andres offers its guests duty-free shopping in most of its stores, shops and boutiques, as well as some of the most competitive prices in the region. So, read on to find a few stores you should visit.

Almacen Uni2
This breath-taking shop is located on one of San Andres’ busiest streets and offers products that come from all corners of the world. Goods from places like Japan, Cuba, Italy, Switzerland, Pakistan, Egypt and others can be found at the Almacen Uni2. The shop also offers everything from samurai swords to fine clothes plus true San Andres hospitality.

Colombia Emerald House
The finest show of the country’s precious stone is found at Colombia Emerald House. At incredibly affordable prices, this store allows visitors to admire beautiful emeralds in all shapes and sizes and as parts of earrings, rings and necklaces. Colombia Emerald House’s showroom is located in one of the busiest districts of San Andres and is therefore close to other important shops and boutiques that guests can enjoy.

Centro Comercial Unisanandres

The island’s largest shopping mall, the Centro Comercial Unisanandres offers tourists and locals hundreds of stores that sell everything from fine clothes and lingerie to perfumes to electrical appliances. Almost every store in this shopping mall also offers guests competitive prices found only in duty-free areas. And, like other huge shopping centers, the Centro Comercial has its own food court with the best of local cuisine and international food chains.

Almacen President
With over 35 years in the shopping business, Almacen President is one of the best places to go when searching for the finest clothing. With separate stores form men, women and children, Almacen President offers thousands of items from the top brands including clothes, footwear and accessories form the whole family. Plus, the store also has an online catalog showcasing its best products for purchase on the web.

Importaciones JR
This successful chain of variety stores is one of the island’s most popular. Importaciones JR offers a wide range of products from clothes to health supplements, perfumes, food and liquor. It has four different shops on San Andres Island and attracts thousands of tourists with its competitive prices and friendly service.

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