San Andrés Island, Colombia: A Caribbean Paradise
How to get to San Andres Island?
Getting to San Andres is easy. Most flights either: Bogota, Medellin, or Cartagena, Colombia. You can find cheap direct flights from Medellin, Colombia for around $46 USD. Medellin to San Andres is a quick 1 hour 45 minute flight to a beach paradise. I recommend using Google.com/flights to research plane prices.Using Google Flights will unsure you find the cheapest.
TIP: If you are flying LATAM, make sure to put your location (at the top of their website) to Colombia. This means you will have to know Spanish or translate everything but will save you almost half. Not sure why the prices are lower than if you were to use the USA version.
Tourist card/charge at airport.
I found out when I was boarding the plane that you are required to pay for a tourist card before boarding the plane. This applies to everyone, including Colombians. The tourist card costs $104,000 CP ($35USD). Make sure you have the cash on hand to avoid any issues.
An exit ticket is required upon arrival.
Again, I found this out at customs once I was at the San Andres Airport. Flash forward 4 hours and a load of hassles I finally was able to purchase an exit ticket. When I asked why nobody told me, the airport staff said: "It's on the back of the tourist card.".... The card I got when I boarded the plane! Make sure you have an exit ticket off the island when you arrive.
San Andres is not cheap. It's a major South American tourist destination.
If you are expecting San Andres to be inexpensive like the rest of Colombia, you are completely wrong. Here is a list of prices you may want to know:
- Cheapest hostels: $50,000 CP ($17 USD) a night.
- 30 min Jet Ski rental: $100,000 CP ($34 USD)
- Colombian Beer on Beach: $8,000 CP ($2.50 USD)
- 4 Hour Scuba Diving: $150,000+- CP ($51 USD)
- Taxi Prices: $8,000-$15,000 CP ($2.50-$5 USD)
In the scheme of things, it's relatively cheap compared to any American beach. However, if you are on a backpacker budget, this island will break the bank.
Transportation around San Andres Island
So, now that you are here you need to be able to get around. There are a few options for transportation. This all depends on your budget and what you are comfortable with.
- Taxi: Taxi's are limited here. Most are just normal people that offer rides for a price. Just stand by the road and put your arm out.
- Motorbike Taxi: This isn't an official form of transport on the island. However, you will find just about anyone driving on a motorbike without a passenger will give you a ride for about $4,000-$6,000 CP.
- Public Bus: This is a great way to get around on a budget. The bus costs $2,200 CP and will take you anywhere on the East side of the island. When you see a public bus, stick your hand out and get on! Becareful: On Sundays the bus can be late.
- Rent a Motorbike, Golf Cart, or Car: Ultimately, this is the best way to experience the island. You can either rent through your hostel/hotel or find the rental companies. The price can vary. I honestly don't know what the price is.. I didn't rent one.
The language on San Andres is mainly Creole. However, Everyone speaks Spanish. If you have never head Creole before, it will take you off guard. You will think people are trying to speak to you in English but mixing Spanish in it for words they don't know. That's not the case. Creole is a mix between English and Spanish. Pretty cool if you ask me.
All in all I recommend visiting the island. It has been the most beautiful I've ever been on in the world. A+ for your Instagram photos. ;) See below for a few shots I took during my week stay this year (2017)