Providencia Island, imagine relaxing in a tropical climate, cool Caribbean breeze blowing through your hair and nothing but coconut palms to keep you company, the dazzling kaleidoscope sea a multi-shaded turquoise lapping at your toes and miles of beautifully unspoiled beaches, devoid of buildings and people, waiting to be discovered…sounds like paradise, right?
Fifty-six miles north of the San Andrés archipelago is where you will find this gem, known as Providencia Island, an idyllic and peaceful place and one of the few remaining Caribbean islands that has yet to suffer mass tourism. The English-speaking island is a glimpse of a Caribbean that once was, some 50 years ago, before mega resorts sprang up and package tourism took over.
With very limited connections to the mainland, its customs and traditions have remained fairly well preserved, its culture closely resembling that of nearby Jamaica and vastly different from that of the Colombia mainland. Today, 15,000 tourists visit each year, most of this tourism concentrated on the west coast in the tiny hamlets of Aguadulce and Bahía Suroeste. There, you will find small cottages, hotels, and cabañas, and a handful of restaurants sprinkled throughout.
For those seeking a little adventure, many activities can be enjoyed on the islands. Providencia Island is one of the best regions for scuba diving, its reef, the third largest in the world, a smaller version of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef and Belize’s Meso-American Reef. Snorkeling here is also wonderful as waters are almost always tranquil. Many tourists hike to El Pico, the highest point of the island, for a stunning panorama.
And, as the waters are not over-fished, sportfishing is certainly a highlight—from bonefish to deep-sea varieties to kingfish and dorado. Or you lazybones can kick back in privacy on one of the several remote beaches (plus neighboring Santa Catalina Island’s beaches) and soak up the sun—maybe watch the migrating black land crabs scuttle by.
If you ever wanted to get away, Providencia Island is a utopian escape for both sun-worshippers and adrenaline-lovers alike, where you might just find your sojourn lasting a little longer than planned.
Providencia Island Essential Information
When to Visit
- Better: March–June / September–December
- Best: January–February / July–August