Flight from San Andrés to Cartagena
Flights between San Andrés and Cartagena are operated by two airlines, Avianca and AeroRepublica. Most of the flights with Avianca have connection in Bogotá (or even Medellin) and there is one direct flight with Copa.
I booked my flight at the same time as the one from Cali to San Andrés (three months in advance). I took a direct flight with Copa (operated by AeroRepublica), with the departure from San Andrés at 11:12am and arrival to Cartagena at 12:37pm. It was US$ 145,40 one way.
On arrival to Cartagena I took a taxi to the old town where hotel Porvenir was located. For safety reasons it's better to take an authorized taxi. You have to join a line of people. When it's your turn you tell the destination and they give you a paper with the destination and price. It was COP 8.100 (January 2009). You show it to the taxi driver and he delivers you to the desired destination.
- Luxury Travel
Getting Around on the Island
Getting around on the island is easy. There are lots of buses, taxis and motorbikes to take you were you need to go. Taxis are quite expensive (as anything on the island) but you get use to it. When the taxi takes other people on the same trip it's called colectivo and it's much cheaper. Taxis from the airport have fixed prices to anywhere on the island which are higher than regular trips.
Bus is the main form of transportation. It's cheap (1.100 COP - January 2009) and frequent. Most buses connect the town of San Andrés with other parts of the island. Every bus has a sign of the final destination on the front window. You can hop on the bus anywhere, just rise your hand to attract the attention of the driver. To get off the bus you have to call out parada and the driver will stop anywhere you want. There is one route along the eastern coast between San Andrés and San Luis which then goes inland and return by another route. Another route connects San Andrés with the inland La Loma and El Cove on the western side of the island.
Also there are many places to rent everything from cars, to motorcycles, bicycles and golf carts. Renting a motorcycle is a great way to see the island. There are some gas stations, filling up costs about 10.000 COP.
- Road Trip
Flight from Cali to San Andrés
Two airlines have flights from Cali to San Andrés, Copa and Avianca. Most of the flights have a connection in Bogotá, and there is usually one direct flight daily with Copa (operated by AeroRepublica). I booked the direct flight. It was a night flight, with the departure from Cali at 10:30pm and arrival to San Andrés at 12:25am. It was US$ 205 one way. Since it was the high season, only a few days before the New Year, I booked three months in advance.
The owner of the homestay in the village of San Luis where I was going to stay, she was supposed to wait for me at the airport with her taxi driver friend. But she did not come. Later she explained that she did not understand correctly, she confused the dates. It was a little tricky as the date of my departure was one and the date of my arrival another.
While I was waiting for my transportation to San Luis a local tourist agent offered me to join another passenger in a shuttle van which was COP 20.000 (December 2008). She knew the place and they delivered me right to the door (we had to wake up the owner). I was really happy not to be alone in the middle of the night.
Return Flight from San Andrés to Providencia
As the local buses are not very frequent early in the morning the owner of the homestay in San Luis arranged with her taxi driver friend to pick me up and bring to the airport. He wanted 20.000 COP which I found too much for the ride during the day. I negotiated then for 15.000 COP (January 2009).
There are two air companies that operate the route between San Andrés and Providencia, Satena and Searca. I chose Searca. Internet booking can only be done through Aviatur (www.aviatur.com). Since I traveled during the high season (the New Year) I booked my flight more than a month in advance.
I took a morning flight with the departure from San Andrés at 8:00am. On the return I took the afternoon flight from Providencia at 5:00pm. The journey takes 20 minutes and the return flight was 339.000 COP. The route is operated several times daily using small regional aircraft with 21 seats. You can only fly to Providencia from San Andrés.
On arrival to Providencia I took a moto taxi to Aguadulce where I was going to stay. It was 10.000 COP.
A couple of days later, when I returned to the airport of San Andrés, I just walked a few blocks to the centre and then took a local bus to San Luis.
Although people are warned against taking local buses on the mainland, it seems to be OK to do so on San Andreas.
There are also taxis, and a large number of the native (black Caribbean) men drive taxis. We had a taxi for our tour.
You an also rent various vehicles to get around.
- Road Trip
- Budget Travel
Getting to San Andrès
Getting to San Andrès (Gustavo Rojas Pinilla AirportI is only possibly by plane. There are regular flights from Colombia (Bogota, Medellin and Cartagena, and possibly other cities) and from Panama. Some countries have direct charter fligths, too... Canada being one of them.
Companies flying there include: Avianca, Copa/Aerorepublica and Satena. Flghts are not cheap, but at least they are open-jaw, even if they have a return date printed on them... if you would like to add a couple of extra days, you'll simply need to contact the airline a day or two before. Occasioanll they may ask you to pay 20 USD for the flight change.
Before flying to san Andrès remember to buy the tourist card of 17 USD (even if you are flying from a Colombian airport) - you'll need it to enter the island. You'll also need it to leave it, so don't loose it... in this case I think you'll have to pay 17 USD again.
Anything that moves...
Anything that moves... is a good form of transportation in san Andrès. Let's start with public transportation: buses run a good part of the island's permiter, covering the coast between San Andrès town and past san Luois beach, then they go inland on via Tom Hooker and satrt their return journey, this time taking in punta sur and playa paraiso as well. Price 1100 COP. You can hop on wherever you live (wave your had) and get off anywhere... just say "parada" and he bus will stop. Another route goes from San Andrès to la Loma, in the centre of the island.
If you prefer to rent your own vehicle to be more flexible you can rent scotters or golf-carts in town. One day, when we wanted to explore the island, we rented a golf-cart for the day. It costed us 120000 COP but if you want it only for tree hours (which is plenty of time) it costs only 80000 COP. You can also travel by taxi, and this can be a regular taxi or a less-regular mototaxi. When people hon at you, it means that they want to give yu a lift. From San Andrès to San Luis it's about 10000 COP (12000-15000 COP after midnight), whereas from San Andrès to La loma it's 8000 COP.
The city bus is one way of getting around the island. They are very colourful and full of locals. Every bus has a sign in the window saying what it's final destination is, or what route it will take. To get into town we took a bus with a CENTRAL sign in the front window, and one with a SAN LUIS sign would take us back to our resort. Ask the receptionist which one you should take.