San Andrés Tourist Card
Favorite thing: All non-residents, whether Colombian citizens or foreigner tourist (except children under 7 years), who enters San Andrés island must acquire a tourist card that can be purchased upon check-in on mainland Colombia or upon arrival in San Andrés International Airport. It was COP 35.000 (January 2009). The card must be presented at your departure from the island.
Tourist card is used as a tax and also as a way to control immigration to the island. It is a contribution of every visitor for the improvement of the island's tourist infrastructure and to maintain and preserve the natural attractions that motivate visitors to choose the beautiful islands as a holiday destination.
Favorite thing: San Luis is the second town on the island of San Andrès, though it doesn't look like a town at all. It's more like a kilometres long rown of houses flanking the circular road that runs along the island. There are several churches, plenty of colourful typical Caribbean wooden houses and the only university of the island.
Fondest memory: San Luis is the place I chose to stay in San Andrès and it's a lovely quiet place where nothing happens. It has some of San Andrès best beaches and it is a very relaxing place. If you are travelling as a couple or as a family, I would surely recommend it. If you're into wild nights and getting high, well it's definitely not the place for you.
Favorite thing: San Andrés town, called by local people El centro and located on the northern part of the island, is very ordinary... it's the biggest town on the island and it's quite unattractive, with its concrete buildings and rows of duty-free shops selling liquor, shoes, perfumes and clothes.
Duty-free does not always mean cheaper than on the mainland, though it is quite a correct term when it comes to alcohol. Most people visiting San Andrès stay in El Centro, which I think it's not really a good idea.
Fondest memory: The beaches of El Centro are quite good, with turquoise waters and white sand, but what I liked best about it was the choice of restaurants one has. Whereas we were happy to stay clear of it during the day (there's not much to see, except an unexpected mosque), we were really glad to be able to reach it in under 10 minutes at night, for a wider choice of cocktails and food.
Isla de San Andrès
Favorite thing: San Andres island is a small island belonging to Colomba but located nearer to Nicaragua than to the Colombian mainland. It's the largest island of the San Andrés Archipelago - which is made up of three main islands - San Andrés, Providencia and Santa Catalina which are now a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve. There's quite an interesting rasta native popularion there, with lighter hair than in Jamaica and blue eyes.
Fondest memory: San Andrès island is a bit of a tropical paradise, complete with palm trees and dazzling white beaches, untouched coral reefs and the most amazing sea - the seven colours sea. Word is slowly getting around, so it's beginning to get touristy, to really enjoy it you should visit it independently - which means staying away from the all-inclusive hotels that are in operation (read: the Decameron hotel chain in particular).
Favorite thing: La Loma is the third settlement of San Andrès and, unlike El Centro and San Luis, it's not located on the coast but inland, on the central hill of the island, from where you can get birds' eye views all over the coast. if you have your own transportation you should follow the sign saying Orange Hill to get there. it's about 10 minutes from El Centro.
Fondest memory: There are quite some interesting houses in traditional carribean style in la loma, as well as two attractions: the Emanuel Baptist Church, which dates back to 1844 and it's the first baptist church on the island and the hotel El Mirador. it's the highest spot on the island and by paying 1000 COP you can go to the upper floor and enjoy the spectacular views.
Churches and Cemeteries
Favorite thing: In addition to lighthouses, one of the things I usually do when traveling is to look for cemeteries to document how people handle the deceased. Taking photos was difficult and the only cemetery that I got any photos of was San Luis
Our driver said the Colombians were Catholic, and the uneducated Colombians (some of whom the driver said couldn't even write their names) were Seventh Day Adventists. He of course was a Protestant and very proud of the First Baptist Church. One of the ladies in the cab commented that they didn't have a schedule for Mass, and I said that Baptists didn't say mass. She was astonished - even more so when I said that they didn't have priests and didn't baptize babies. So we had a mini-religious history lesson.
We did see both Catholic and Seventh Day Adventist churches
- Religious Travel
- Road Trip
Favorite thing: Our taxi driver told us that there were seven lighthouses on the side of the island where the ship anchored. We could see two from the ship and saw 3 or 4 others on the tour of the island.
My reference for lighthouses is The Lighthouse Directory. When we went to San Andrés, the only lighthouses that were listed were well offshore. I sent my photos to the webmaster for The Lighthouse Directory and he amended the list to include
Punta Evans (Cove Verde)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 21 m (69 ft); green flash every 3 s. 20 m (66 ft) square skeletal tower with gallery, painted with red and white horizontal bands. Located on the beach at a promontory about 2 km (1.2 mi) north of the El Cove light. Site open, tower closed.
* El Cove (Cove Rojo)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 21 m (69 ft); red flash every 5 s. 20 m (66 ft) square skeletal tower with gallery, painted with red and white horizontal bands. El Cove (The Cove) is a section of the southwestern coast of San Andrés where there is deep water close to shore and larger vessels can anchor. Located on the beach about 8 km (5 mi) north of Punta Sur. Site open, tower closed.
* Punta Sur (Hoyo Soplador)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 20 m (66 ft); white flash every 9 s. 20 m (66 ft) square pyramidal steel skeletal tower, painted with red and white horizontal bands. Hoyo soplador (blowhole) refers to a nearby occurrance of that phenomenon. Located at the southern tip of the island.