Providencia Island is one of the best beach vacation destinations in Colombia. Also known as Old Providence Island, it features picturesque mountain terrain and wonderfully natural beaches that wouldn’t be out of place in a Caribbean travel brochure. Add in the amazing scuba diving opportunities, and it becomes clear that this largely unspoiled island can be a great place to spend some time.
Providencia Island is part of Colombia’s Archipelago of San Andres, Providencia and Santa Catalina department. This department actually lies between Costa Rica and Jamaica, and Providencia Island itself is much closer to Nicaragua than it is Colombia. The location of the island lends to the fact that its culture is much different than that of mainland Colombia. You might liken it more to a Jamaican culture. The native language is Creole, after all, and many of the 5,000 residents speak proper English and/or Spanish. The overall atmosphere is very laid-back, and it is certainly hard to find fault with the gorgeous beaches that line the coast.
When Providencia Island visitors aren’t relaxing on undeveloped beaches, they can indulge in a variety of other fun activities. A large reef that is found off the island creates some wonderful scuba diving opportunities, and the area waters are ideal for snorkeling. Kayaking and hiking are also activity options, with the Old Providence McBean Lagoon National Natural Park being an ideal place to enjoy both activities. Hikers might also look to hike to the top of El Pico to enjoy the views that this highest point on the island provides.
Providence Island has a somewhat isolated feel, though it is relatively easy to get to. Most travelers fly to the Gustavo Rojas Pinilla International Airport, which is the main airport in the region. It is found on the island of San Andres. From there, it is possible to take a connecting flight to Providence Island or hop on a catamaran in order to complete the transfer. It should be noted that it is usually necessary for international travelers to fly into a larger airport first and then catch a flight to the smaller San Andres Airport. These larger airports include those that serve the larger cities in both Colombia and Panama.
As for finding a place to stay on Providencia Island, there are a variety of hotels, guesthouses, and posadas to select from. Many offer package deals that include meals for those who wish to go that route. If you aren’t set on staying at a hotel, the island is also home to self-catering vacation rental properties.