The archipelago of San Andres, Old Providence and Santa Catalina possess the largest coral reef system in Colombia and one of the largest in the Atlantic Ocean. Along with warm and clear water, San Andres is an excellent destination for SCUBA diving, the island offers several different views and depths including platforms, drop offs, and walls; In addition to the delicate fauna, the SEAFLOWER marine protected area is inhabited by schools of stunning colorful fish.
I know the previous paragraph sound very cliché and sales pitchy, but nonetheless for all of the above reasons I believe San Andres and Old Providence island are a perfect destinations to learn scuba diving or to dive if you are already certified. Since we don’t have weather dictated seasons, dive operations are available all year round and there are daily dive trips for those who are already certified.
For your own safety diving is not something you want to go cheap on, beware of 2 for 1 deals and suspiciously low prices and garage looking dive shops.
I will only vouch for two dive shops in San Andres and that is Blue Life Dive is run my very good childhood friend Fabian Garcia and Scuba San Andres, run by my uncle Mo Gomez.
Blue Life in my opinion has one of the best run operation and a great location downtown at the Sunrise Beach hotel; which gives them access to the pool for the Discover Scuba and the Refresher course and also gives them full access to the hotel's pier, which means that ALL of their dives are done from the boat.at the time of this writing they have 2 boats which they use depending on how much people they have on a given day.
You can check Blue Life's rates here is worth noticing that they are the only 5 Star dive shop in the island, you can check this at the Padi website.
Scuba San Andres is located on the West side of the island, inside Playa Tranquilo hotel, as their location is quite far, all of their courses and fun dives include transportation from/to the hostel, furthermore we have scored a 10% discount deal exclusive for guest staying at the hostel (for a minimum of 2 people)
Tips to enjoy scuba diving in San Andres
- Make sure that if you are diving from shore the swimming distance is within your capabilities, dive sites like Blue Wall, La Piedras, La Rocosa are not accessible for most divers from shore due to underwater currents. If you are in for this kind of dives make sure you have insurance as well as a floating device!
- Lion Fish is taking over the Caribbean this is a foreign species from south East Asia with no natural predator that has poison on its fins, DO NOT touch it, you won´t die from it, but I assure you from experience that is going to be painful. If you are spear fishing it (which is illegal in San Andres) make sure to wear heavy duty gloves while handling.
- There is no need to use wet suits on the island due to a comfortable water temperature of around 24 Celsius all year round. Shorties and 2,5 mm insulation suits are more than enough most times.
- Make sure you dive with a certified PADI, NAUI or any other international certification instructor or dive master. There are many around, if you choose to dive with the guy from the beach that offers you to see whale sharks and sea lions while he´s having a beer you know who you should blame at the end.
- Iif you are an certified diver most dive schools will allow you to bring your own camera; at the hostel we rent GoPro cameras for our guest. More info here.
- Best dives sites, no matter what people tell you on the street: Blue Wall, las Piedras, La Piramide, La Trilogia, Bajo Bonito, Nirvana, Trampa de Tortuga, Wild Life, Dedos De Morgan, Blue Diamond.
- The island has more than 40 dive sites. You can go to some by car, going by boat saves you time and swimming distance, not all the best dives sites are accessible by shore.
- For Blue Almond hostel’s guest we have free dive tanks on request and some limits apply.
Use your common sense and as I heard somewhere “Don´t turn off your brain when you turn on your dive computer.”
Diving accidents/incidents in San Andres.
As a diver you are aware that most accidents can be avoided by using your training, if you haven't dived in a while, is wise to take a refresher course, I personally think refresher courses should be mandatory for people who haven't dived in the last 6 months, is easy to argue that certifications last for life, but as everything in life skills become rusty with disuse.
Fortunately in San Andres diving accidents are a rare occurrence, nonetheless the few accidents there have been in the last few year have been due to negligence on part of the parties involved, if you don't feel comfortable on a situation bring this to the attention of the dive instructor or person in charge.