After my first semester at the University of Los Andes in Bogota, I wanted to travel Colombia. Colombia vacation was announced. For this I had some time, because the Christmas holidays begin in late November and last until almost mid January.
After an extremely hard semester in Spanish (I came to Colombia with rudimentary language skills), I wanted to do beach and relaxation, as well as water sports and later a round trip. All my Colombian friends therefore advised me to travel to San Andrés in the Caribbean. The praises of San Andrés, meanwhile, surpassed each other and grew into the sky. The geographical position is very interesting as the island is located at the height of Nicaragua, about 700 kilometers from the coast of Colombia.
I had booked an Airbnb for the first days in the capital, to make me a picture of the island first and to explore everything. The capital of San Andrés is unfortunately a typical example of haphazard development and construction. Including the duty-free shops in the streets, a paradise for favorable mass tourism was created. I was told that the domestic culture was literally displaced by a very high immigration from the mainland. The scarce public sand beach is besieged by human masses. The sea is beautiful and known for its 7 different shades of blue. Unfortunately, there is also a lot of trouble in this area. Jet skis sound on the water and boatloads full of tourists are unloaded directly on the riffs. I do not have to elaborate on the consequences.
The south of the island is fortunately not developed as much, and you can explore it with a rented golf cart. Except in some hotels, however, there are no more sand beaches. After two days, I had decided to travel ahead and evaluated my options. My holidays in Colombia should include something spectacular. I came across the neighboring island Providencia, which can be reached by ferry within 3-5 hours. On the same day I got an overpass for the next day and booked a bed & breakfast.
The next morning, the usual security check at the harbor entrance took place. In addition, pills were given to all passengers against nausea and it was recommended to swallow them immediately. The ferry, a catamaran, was quite large and made a safe impression. After a 30 minutes drive, however, when we pushed out of the protective island area into the open sea, we got the full wave. Plastic bags were distributed and a regular “Vomit Party” began. I guess that after over 4 hours of driving, about 70% of the passengers had surrendered.
Upon arriving at Providencia, I was very happy to have solid ground under my feet again. After the obligatory security and baggage check, a taxi took me to my accommodation. My hostess greeted me cordially. She was a teacher in the local primary school and told me about the local culture. Also, that they speak Creole, the official language is Spanish. For decades there has also been a general ban on construction, which keeps immigration and the development of tourism low. And indeed, unlike San Andrés, the majority of the inhabitants of Providencia are dark-skinned and, to my astonishment, also very tall. Many young men were over 1.90 m tall.
The island is a paradise! The first 2 days I was alone on the beach, I ate fresh fish and almost seemed like Robinson Crusoe. The time seems to have stopped and everything is very relaxed. The most popular activity for tourists seems to be diving, so there are several dive centers. I was told that the underwater world was terrific and you could see all the big sharks. But as I prefer staying above the water line, I did not want to check it.
After a week in paradise and completely relaxed, I continued my Colombia travel. My conclusion, I’ll be back, but next time with a girl and by plane.