Shorts, flip flops and T-shirts and plenty of sunscreen are what you need in this oh-so-casual archipelago. Pack beach and swimming gear, snorkel and mask, water socks/shoes (some sea-bed areas are sharp), an underwater camera. Mosquito repellent is also essential as are sea-sickness pills.
With just a few hundred reported crimes each year San Andres and Providencia benefit from one of the lowest regional crime rates in Colombia. However, petty theft does occur so don’t be fooled by the laid-back atmosphere of the Archipelago. Do not let your guard down and leave belongings unattended on the beach. Isolated muggings have been reported on the west side of the island between Morgan’s Cave and the Blow Hole (Hoyo Soplador) when lone tourists were targeted for expensive watches and jewellery. Female travellers should avoid walking alone late night, especially in remote and unlit areas.
Money and Banks
The island of San Andres is well served by financial institutions and only few establishments will turn a credit card away. However, visitors are strongly advised to sort out cash and currency prior to travelling to Providencia as Credit cards are not widely accepted there. A decent handful of banks (with ATMs) and money changers can be found in San Andres, Santa Isabel and at the airport. Outside of town the options are much more limited. Travellers planning to journey further afield should therefore be sure to top up their wallet prior to departure. Other unofficial money changers operate on both islands but most will only trade dollars and rates are dire.
Internet and Communications
Most hotels in San Andres offer internet services with handful of local-rate internet connection places located in the town centre. The Creative Shop and Cafe Internet Sol are two of the best in San Andres.
Net Crawler in Santa Isabel is Providencia’s only dedicated internet facility and is open every day. Be warned, connections on the Providencia island can be frustratingly slow.
The Timothy Britton Hospital on the island of San Andres is equipped with a hyperbaric chamber and is staffed by high standard, bilingual medical professionals. It is located in the island’s North End area in Sarie Bay next to the Hotel Decameron Mary Land. Emergency medical attention can be sought here at an outpatient clinic. However, the archipelago’s diving community prides itself on an excellent safety record. Half a dozen of pharmacies can be found in downtown San Andres.
Dr William Burbano in Aguadulce (Providencia) offers a clinic to visitors weekdays between 14.00 – 17.00.