Diving San Andrés Island

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San Andrés Island, Colombia

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Country: Colombia  Area: Colombia

Water Temp: 27 - 31°C (81 - 88°F)

Visibility: 10 - 30m (33 - 98 ft)

Depth Range: 1 - 80m (3 - 262 ft)

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San Andres is a stunning coral island located east of Nicaragua, though formally a part of Colombia. With warm waters and vibrant reefs of soft and hard corals, sponges and countless tropical fish, this is a lesser-visited Caribbean destination.

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The seahorse-shaped island is a mere six miles long, with a shoreline that alternates between sharp coral and some of the best beaches in the Caribbean. San Andres falls within a 58km2 archipelago, that spans from Nicaragua to Colombia. It connects to the third largest barrier reef on the planet. The region itself is a protected UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, which covers approximately 10% of the Caribbean sea.

The island of San Andres offers a variety of dive sites that cater to all levels of experience. The Blue Wall is among the most popular dive sites, given that sharks, sting rays and barracuda are all common there. Deep caves are also common, with some dropping down over 80 meters. All of the dive sites have warm water year round, great conditions and very little traffic. The neighbouring islands of Providencia and Santa Catalina are also wonderful and remote spots for day diving trips.

Ray,Credit

Climate

San Andres has fairly typical Caribbean weather, with generally sunny days and limited rain. The driest months last from November to June, while January to June is the rainy season. Between the months of June and July, the island experiences the strongest winds, while September and October are among the calmest. 

Water temperatures range from 27 to 30 degrees Celsius annually. 

Blue fishes,Credit

Marine Conservation

In 2000, San Andres was declared the UNESCO Seaflower Biosphere Reserve. This reserve protects 10% of the entire Caribbean sea – roughly 300 000 square kilometers. Within the reserve, there is also a Seaflower Marine Protected Area, which contains some of the most productive open-ocean coral reefs in the Caribbean. The region also supports 192 Red Listed species. That said, relatively little actually remains known. Considerable research and conservation initiatives are currently underway. 

Information & photos kindly provided by: Karibik Diver

 
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Shore Diving

San Andrés have some shallow shore divesites. They are all on the west side of the island and the maximum depth is 10 m / 33 ft. At some of them we have small  caves and there are also lots of animails to see. From the little cleaner shrimp to nurse sharks and stingrays, everything is possible there.

Divers, San Andres, Credit

Boat Diving

All diving in San Andres is done by boat. From the island, you can access 30 different dive sites, which range from coral gardens to wrecks to stunning drop-offs. 

Most diving is done on the calmer western shores of the island, however the most dramatic sights are found on the south-eastern side. Here, you find the end of an expansive plateau, which drops hundreds of meters with numerous overhangs.  Marine life is vibrant around the island, with plenty of butterfly fish, parrot fish, grouper, barracuda, dolphins and the occasional shark.

There is a single wreck dive off San Andres, which is located at a depth of 12m. The wreck is a 50m long freighter which sits on a sandy bottom. 

Day trips to Providencia are also popular with divers. Here, you are likely to visit Turtle Rock, a massive rock covered in black coral, and the Spiral – a tunnel that spirals down to 35 meters. Corals and sponges are plentiful here, and you are likely to see Creole wrasse, black grouper, eels and black grouper.

Dive at your own risk! Credit

Liveaboard Diving

There are no major liveaboards operating around San Andres.

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How to Get There

San Andrés Island  has an international  airport and some charter flights are available. Otherwise you can via Bogota or Panama daily to San Andrés. Both boats and flights connect San Andres to neighboring Providencia.

Aerial view of San Andres, Credit         

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Where to Eat & Drink

The island has decently developed tourism facilities, giving you a good number of options for restaurants and bars. One of the island’s most prized restaurants is Café Studio, where a Canadian and local couple cook up great international and local dishes. Most other restaurants will serve a variety of fresh seafood dishes, with a few venturing into Italian and Thai specialities. That all said, all-inclusive resorts are very popular on San Andres and most visitors will have meal plans built into their trips.

Food! Credit

A number of bars and discos come alive in the late afternoon and evening. Some are delightful beachside bars  built out of bamboo and thatch, while others like Deep Blue and La KY are a more classic club. 

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Other Activities

San Andres has a number of non-diving activities that are sure to entertain you between or instead of dives. 

Hiking to La Loma is always worthwhile. This is the highest point of the island, and sits 120m above sea level. You will be hard pressed to find better views of the island then from here. A number of other trails intersect the island which you can explore on foot, by bicycle or on horseback. It is also possible to do a few hikes around the island of Providencia on a day trip. 

Fun under the Sun! Credit

If you’re not a diver or a snorkeler, but still want to see the underwater world, consider buying a ticket to the Semisubmarino Nautilus. With large windows and a surprising amoung ot space, this is the best way to see the marine life.  

For culture and history, visit San Luis, a small town that was formerly a central port. Today it is quiet and lined with perfect beaches and good restaurants. 

If interested in wildlife and nature, Mangles and La Laguna are worth visiting. Here, you’re likely to see alligators, migratory birds, oysters, lizards and a number of fruit trees. 

Otherwise, one of the most popular things to do on the island is to soak in the natural beauty of the shoreline. The east coast has great kite surfing given the strong winds, while the southern island is best for relaxation.

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Tips

For diving, the “Blue Wall” is our most famous divesites, with a good chance for sharks.

San Andrés is very safe and you will find a policeman on every corner. So nothing special to watch out..

The beautiful San Andres Island, Credit

If you stay longer, you have the chance to visit Providencia,  a very small island, also with great divesites.

There is a decompression chamber on San Andres at Timothy Britton Hospital. 

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