A trip to Colombia's hidden paradise - Providencia
I cannot describe in words what this island brought to me. Full of happy, loving people that not only love and respect their island, but care about their visitors in a way I've never seen before. I travelled with my sister to Providencia after a month visiting my home country, Colombia. The island, located 90 km north of the popular San Andrés, is a remote paradise and a bit hard to reach: you can get there flying on the tinyest plane, or on a three-hour catamaran ride. This actually makes the island more special, because you'll share it with only locals and a few other explorers.
WHERE TO STAY:
MISS FRANCIA'S HOME – Located in Santa Catalina, a bridge away from the main island, the hotel has over 20 years offering guests the experience of a lifetime in the middle of the local tranquility, and surrounded by a tropical forest. We were happily surprised when we got there: Miss Francia's son, Javier, greeted us with the sweetest smile. Orvil, one of the best chefs of the island, cooked for us exquisite ceviches. The stay was perfect and we will undoubtedly book a room again soon!
DEEP BLUE - A classic and one of the best hotels of the island. The location is ideal, just in front of Cayo Cangrejo, with great views and luxurious rooms.
MONASTERIO DEL VIENTO - Our favorite for sure. Stay tuned for our review coming next week.
WHERE TO EAT:
- DEEP BLUE: Even if you're not staying at the Deep Blue, you should have lunch or dinner! Our advise would be to spend the morning at Cayo Cangrejo swimming with turtles, having a piña colada and hanging out in the sun. After that, take the boat back to the Deep Blue hotel, and have lunch. Ask for ceviche and picada mixta. a michelada is also a must.
-MISS FRANCIA'S HOME: As we previously said, the kitchen at Miss Francia's is exquisite. The chef, has won several prices. Breakfast is delicious, Orvil makes pancakes from scratch with organic ingredients. And the ceviche, one of the best in the island.
-CARIBBEAN PLACE: It is the most expensive restaurant of the island, you should, however, take a trip here to enjoy the Coconut Pie with corn ice cream. yum!
-DIVINO NIÑO: At South West, where the best beaches are, you will find Niño Viejo. You should order picada, lobster, fish and patacones. Price is also good!
-PIZZERIA GOURMET: Hey, after a so many days of eating just fish you need a break.
-STITTY & SAM: A little place where you can find the most delicious empanadas of the island. Try them all: cheese, crab, lobster, fish.. and fish balls. The idea is to order everything they've got and try it.
-ROLAND'S PLACE: Good Coco Loco and drinks. Food is ok but the best about this place is the party. Friday night is the day to go, dance with locals, listen to music and have fun.
WHAT TO DO
First, hiring a motorcycle or mulita is really important. The island is big enough to need this but small enough to be able to give the full tour a few times a day. Some things you can and should do:
- Go diving. Providencia has the most beautiful clear waters and thousands of different species that you can see while diving. You can swim with sharks too.
- Island tour. Hire a guide to give you the full island tour, he will stop so you can do snorkeling, swim with turtles and rays.
- Hiking. For magnificent views of the Caribbean, don't miss El Pico Natural Regional Park. It can take up to 90 minute, best done early in the morning.
- Kayak. Rent a kayak at the Deep Blue deck, where you can go up until the Lagoon. Almost 1 km of ecopath, you'll get to appreciate different species of mangroves, and fauna that lives in it.
HOW TO GET THERE:
Fly to San Andrés Island from any city of Colombia. From there, take the SATENA airplane to Providencia. The catamarán to Providencia is a cheaper option but we wouldn't recommend it, as the trip is 4 hours and it can get really difficult! The flights aren’t cheap, but this actually allows the island to remain more virgin, less crowded, and so clean.