Blue ocean, heat, sun, beach, coconut water, are most likely the images that come to mind when you think of San Andrés. This beautiful Caribbean island, small in size but big in cultural and natural wealth, has traditionally been generous with the tourists who visit every year to see its sea of 7 colors, enjoy its paradisiacal beaches and venture out to explore the other two archipelagos that accompany it: Providencia and Santa Catalina.
Of course, when travelling to a Caribbean Island like San Andres, it’s worth taking into account a series of recommendations that can make your stay more pleasant, so here we have gathered the advice of our local experts so that your experience in San Andres is unbeatable.
1. An entrance fee must be paid to the Island
This fee costs approximately USD $ 25 to date (08/2018) and is paid to the Carrier during the check-in. The receipt must be presented at the entrance to the Island together with the passport or identity document for Mercosur citizens. This document must also be presented when leaving the island, otherwise they will have to pay a fine. The collection of this tax is used to improve the tourist infrastructure of the Island.
2. Everything is more expensive than on the mainland
The cost of transporting basic consumer products is the main reason why everything is more expensive than in the continent. There are products that aren’t produced on the island such as lettuce, for example, and others such as fish, which despite being a typical food of the region, is more expensive than in other coastal cities of Colombia because in 2012 , during the litigation over the sovereignty of the territory against Nicaragua, Colombia “lost” within the cession or return of territorial sea, 75 thousand kilometers of sea among which were important fishing banks.
3. The restaurants close at 10pm
Like in all of Colombia, dinner time is between 7pm and 8pm. If you fell asleep after a day at the beach, you’re likely to miss out on dinner. Most restaurants close their kitchens after 10 pm and you’ll only find fast food joints open.
4. All the raizales are Sanandresanos but not all the Sanandresanos are Raizales
The term Sanandresano refers to someone born in San Andrés, regardless of their ancestral origin. Many Sanandresanos are mestizos from the continent (the interior of Colombia), while the Raizal is an ethnic group defined as the original indigenous town of San Andrés, with origins from the mixture between British who settled on the abandoned islands and the Spaniards and Africans who were brought to work on their plantations.
5. In San Andrés they speak Spanish, English and Criollo Sanandresano (Creole)
it’s very common to hear how Colombian Spanish mixes harmoniously in street conversations with the language of the Raizales, the Creole, or Criollo. This language is a mixture of English, Spanish and African that not only has its own phonetics but also a grammatical structure different from English.
6. Ideal for shopping lovers
Souvenirs, perfumes, liquors, electronics and other products are the order of the day in San Andrés. The Island is a territory free of taxes, therefore imported products can cost as much as 26% less than they cost in mainland Colombia (almost 10% of the import tax and 16% of VAT), you just have to have note that most of the stores accept cash only and that the change of the dollar does not favor the buyer, therefore the recommendation is to bring Colombian pesos.
The best recommendation, as with every destination, is to get outside of the resort, bond with the locals, experience the local cuisine and, above all, enjoy its natural beauties always taking care of and respecting the environment so that many generations to follow can appreciate its charm. The natural environment of San Andrés and the friendliness of the islander will undoubtedly make you fall in love.
The island despite being small, (just 26 kilometers), has many magical hidden places that are worth discovering; you can see them here with the activities and tours available on the island all year.
By: Daytours4u Content Team