Providencia the Unspoiled Island Paradise in Colombia
Welcome to the Islands; Where time is a floating concept. Maybe I will get to Providencia or maybe not. Or I will but at what point? Nobody knows when the airplane will leave San Andres Island. When it comes to being a Norwegian girl where time is a particular concept and then arrive at the Islands where time is more or less no time, can be a struggling concept for an impatient girl who just wants to get to her ultimate Island Paradise; Providencia.
Providencia is closer to the coastline of Nicaragua than to Colombia. It is a place off the beaten track where only a few goes and because of this; I want to go. I want to explore this undiscovered paradise that also inhabit the best diving on the coast of Colombia.
After waiting three hours, it was finally time to board the plane with only five kg baggage, which was more or less my bikini and a beach dress. What more do you need on a tropical island?
From San Andres Island to Providencia Island
Discovering Eden on Earth
Then it was time for take-off in my so far smallest plane ride ever. To get to Providencia is only a 20-minute flight (Catamaran takes 3-4 hours and is a rough boat ride). There is nothing more thrilling than to see all the reefs that San Andres and Providence are surrounded by from above! I can´t wait to go snorkeling and diving in this crystal clear blue water.
Funny enough when we were halfway there, like 10 minutes in, I did manage to fall asleep and then woke up when we were crossing the reefs from above. The barrier coral reef is just more than 20 miles long, making it the third largest in the world and the only one of the top three associated with an island of volcanic origins. Of course, I have to scuba dive her! It is even UNESCO Biosphere Reserve because it has the sub-aquatic biological richness.
Stay at Posada, not a Hotel
how Islanders live and where the real stories are!
Less is more, and nothing is everything.
After a 15 minutes taxi drive, which was the most expensive taxi ride in Colombia. I was finally at my Posada Jasmina Place in Old Town. Jasmina, the owner, was very helpful and straight away she gave me the details on what to see and what to do. There was no time to waste. She called her son’s friend that does the Motor Taxi on the island. Then I was off and exploring Providencia.
Providencia is the Island where the locals, in reality, don’t feel like Colombians but more from Old Providencia and Morgan, the pirate was the one keeping up the link with Jamaica and Africa back in the time. The population and the local government is of African descent. They move effortlessly between English, Spanish and their style of Creole tongue.
Providencia & Pirates
Creole tongue & English pirates
On the back of the Motor Taxi, I realized that I hadn’t read anything about Providencia. I only went because I wanted to dive and of course all the people returning from Providencia in Cartagena telling me that this is THE ISLAND! Here I am in the middle of everything, riding a Motor Taxi and ready to explore something I don’t have any expectations about. I sort of like that feeling. Anything can happen.
Arriving in the town area, I grabbed lunch at Menu el dia place and then walked over to the Lover’s line and entered the Island of Santa Catalina. My goal is Morgan’s Head named after Henry Morgan, the pirate that made the San Andrés, Providencia and Santa Catalina as a base for raiding Spanish colonies in the late 1600s.
Entering Fort Bay and running into some locals as well as two girls from the Netherlands, I ended up talking with them and then I carefully invited myself on to their boat trip that they had arranged with two of the Locals. Bill Clinton was a cool man, the guy in charge. He said; Don’t worry be happy and off we went on an adventure with their boat around the island.
His real love is Providencia, but of course, he loves meeting people from all over the world
The Star Attraction
Precious & pristine views in all of the Caribbean
360-degree view of the Caribbean
First stop was Crab Cay! I finally have arrived at heaven on earth! I love the ocean, and by this, I could not be closer to my idea me. The water around Crab Cay truly has the definition of crystal clear blue water. There was a small entrance fee for the conservation of the marine reserve. Then again who blame them. Crab Cay is on another level of beauty! The variations of different colors from turquoise to emerald to royal blue spread with patches of coral makes it a must see for everyone.
The best way to see this rainbow of blue colors is to climb to the top of the Cay. The reward is a 360-degree view of the Caribbean!
Providencia; my hope is that you never change! You are an undiscovered paradise.
Off I went swimming around the Island with my new friend Eddie who is the best horse rider on the island as well an excellent swimmer. We went snorkeling around Crab Cay with 25 meters visibility and discovered this enormous Sting Ray eating her food down at the bottom of the ocean. We did even see Barracudas, clown fish, surgeon fish and red snapper. Then a beautiful, elegant sea turtle swimming past and showing off her underwater skills. What a fantastic start to my first hours in Providencia.
Providencia beautifully unspoiled beaches
Manchineel Bay, Southwest Bay, Freshwater Bay & Almond Bay
Then it was time to leave paradise! We only started our trip around the Providencia Island. Our next stop up was Machineel Bay & Roland Roots Bar. Entering the beach and out from the speaker was Bill Clinton friend Bob Marley: Don’t worry be happy.
Then we went dehydrating with some coconut water. A small swim and some playing in the swings of the palm. Things are slow on this island. It was time for Shakira, Jennifer, and Christina to go on the boat again. This was our names chosen by Bill with an enormous amount of charm and love for everyone.
Off we went to Southwest Bay, the home place to our new friend Bill and Eddie. It was time for the best cocktail on the beach. In my eyes it was an overstatement, it was a great beach and a beautiful view, so I decided to enjoy the slow pace and talk about life with Bill. Then he returned me back to old town with his scooter.
Diving in Providencia
The barrier coral reef in Providencia is the third largest in the world
Before entering the diving scene of Providencia, I had listened to some worried people scuba diving there and did not feel so safe with their dive leaders. Which kind made me a bit worried. Safety is everything when scuba diving. After much talk with different people from the Island, I could not find any difference.
I went with Felipe Diving Center, and the other option is Sirus Hotel and Scuba Dive Center. I went talking with Felipe. I did not have any bad feeling, so I went with him. He had some great reviews on TripAdvisor, of course, some mixed reviews. I did not have any troubles with safety.
Our first time was a shark dive, and they surrounded us. The sharks were following us around the entire scuba dive, and it was incredible to be so close to them. I can understand if some people get nervous about it, but I had a fantastic dive.
The second dive was more like an aquarium, and we were surrounded in colorful corals and fishes.
Providencia 38 hours
Peace, limited WIFI and completely switch off from the world
All you need is the island!
Over my three days on the Island, I fully adopted to the pleasant routine of Island life. Enter a beach in the day and go some exploring around the island. Then have lunch and relax, maybe have a nap or listen to music. Then shower and prepare me for dinner which is either grilled fish or chicken with rice and beans.
Hit the bed early since they pretty much closed down every little bar on the Island. Forced relaxation and there is nothing to miss by night. Providencia fully charged my batteries for the return to San Andres Island.
Traveling as a solo female traveler around the Island was never an issue. I felt safe, and people were always willing to help out.
I hope that this place never changes! This little-unspoiled paradise should continue to stay unique, slow and charming. Some places just need to stay the same and Providencia is one of these locations. The real treasure of the island is the people; they have big hearts and are always welcoming and helping. As Bill Clinton said “Don’t Worry be Happy man or Shakira or Jennifer depending on the fun he want’s.
I loved stepping on the weight to measure me out for the return to San Andres with the tiny airplane. Then they gave me the handwritten paper ticket, and I was ready to leave something behind that not many people will get to see. I’m truly grateful that I did decide to go. I loved living the slow Island life for three lovely days, and some day I want to return!