White sands and turquoise seas beckon on this 7-day island getaway. Located just off the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua, the Colombian isles of San Andrés and Providencia offer a hidden paradise of unspoiled beaches, world-class diving sites, and vibrant Afro-Caribbean culture. With a relaxed itinerary and lots of free time, you can spend the week settling into the rhythms of island life.

Highlights

  • Escape to the islands of San Andrés & Providencia
  • Relax on unspoiled Caribbean beaches
  • Experience some of the world's best diving sites
  • Explore pristine coral reefs in the Old Providence McBean Lagoon National Park
  • Discover the islands' rich Afro-Caribbean Raizal culture

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in San Andrés San Andrés Island
Day 2 Fly to Providencia Island Providencia
Days 3-5 Explore Providencia Island Providencia
Day 6 Return Flight to San Andrés San Andrés Island
Day 7 Depart San Andrés  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in San Andrés

Palm-fringed beaches in San Andrés

Welcome to San Andrés! Located off the coast of Nicaragua, the twin isles of San Andrés and the much smaller Providencia were populated by the English and enslaved Jamaicans in 1631, then ceded to Spain in 1782, followed by Colombia after its independence. These days they're a popular vacation spot for foreigners and Colombians alike. 

Upon arrival, you'll transfer to your hotel and spend the rest of the day relaxing and exploring the town's Malecón (shorefront) boulevard. Most of the action is centered around the sole town of the same name, located on the north shore, but you're free to go beyond. If you want to journey along the 19-mile road that encircles the island, it's best to rent a golf cart or moped. You might also spend the afternoon hitting one of the island's beaches and swimming in the crystal clear water before dinner. In fact, the archipelago of San Andrés and Providencia—declared a marine biological reserve to protect its biodiversity—has some of the most beautiful beaches in Colombia and the Caribbean. 

Languages that are spoken here include Creole, Sanadresano, Spanish, and English, and there's a strong culture mixing Anglo-Caribbean Raizal, Colombian, and reggae. You'll have plenty of options for creole food, live music, and dancing in San Andrés. 

Day 2: Fly to Providencia Island

A coastal view of Providencia

After breakfast, you'll hop a quick 20-minute flight north from San Andres to adjacent Providencia. Upon arrival at Providencia's airport, you will be transferred to your accommodations for the next four nights.

This small, tear-drop-shaped island is the heartland of Afro-Caribbean Raizal culture in Colombia. Beaches are fewer compared to San Andrés; however, there are several sites of interest, most of which are accessible by hiking. Don't miss Fort Warwick, reached via a short uphill trail from the tiny town of Santa Isabel. Also, try to time your arrival for Saturday afternoon when locals have horseback races on the sands of the Southwest Bay

Days 3-5: Explore Providencia Island

Explore Providencia's world-renowned diving sites

The next three days are free for you to kick back and enjoy Providencia at your leisure. Suggested activities include:

  • Relax and unwind on the beaches of Bahía Suroeste, Bahía Aguadulce, and Bahía Manzanillo

  • Experience Providencia's world-renowned diving sites. The highlight is El Planchón, which features an old German shipwreck.

  • Explore Parque Nacional Natural Old Providence & McBean Lagoon, a protected area of mangroves and turquoise lagoons abounding with marine life. This national park is noteworthy because it protects a portion of the third-largest barrier reef in the world.

  • Rent a canoe in the hamlet of Maracaibo, located on the northeast side of the island, and paddle around McBean Lagoon.

  • Hike to The Peak, at 1,148 feet (350 m) above sea level for panoramic views across the island.

  • Hop on a bus or chiva to the village of Santa Isabel and enjoy a short hike to the nearby island of Santa Catalina. The island is connected to Providence by a structure known as the Lover's Bridge.

  • Check out the Casa Museo Isleña, a museum dedicated to the Raizal heritage.For those interested in culture, one-third of the population of San Andres and Providencia are Raizals— Protestant descendants of enslaved Africans. It’s also fun to stop at a church during a service for live music and singing, as they're often packed to the gills.

Day 6: Return Flight to San Andrés

Return to San Andrés in time for sunset

This morning, after breakfast at your hotel, you'll have some free time to hit the beach or walk around the island before you head to the airport.

In the afternoon you will check out of your hotel and take a flight back to San Andrés. Upon landing, you'll be transferred to your hotel for your check-in where you'll have one more night to take in a stunning Caribbean sunset. 

Day 7: Depart San Andrés

Head to the airport for your departure

It's time to say goodbye to your island paradise! Today a 15-minute transfer takes you from your hotel in San Andres to the airport to catch your departing flight. Safe travels!

More Colombia Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your trip to Colombia? Check out these other Colombia itineraries, with outdoor adventures, cultural trips, and best-of tours to hit the highlights.

Or, describe your ideal trip and we will connect you with a local specialist to make it happen.