How to get to Providencia island?

Due to connectivity issues getting to Providencia used to be even harder than to getting to San Andres, nowadays you can get there pretty easily by using one of the 2 airlines that cover that route daily or the catamaran that sails every other day.
On any given day there's at least 4 flights going to Providencia and 4 flights coming back, that's 68 seats on each route, the company that runs the catamaran operation offers around 70 seats everyother day


By Plane from San Andres

Two airlines flight to Providencia from San Andres with daily flights usually in the early morning and in the afternoon (3PM) These tickets can be bought in most of the travel agencies located in San Andres or directly at the airline.
Since the beginning of 2013 the government started subsidizing a big chunk of the fare, this obviously made the price of the ticket go down significantly. As of June 2015 the The cost of these airplanes tickets round trip is around $330.000 COP

Flying with Satena.

Out of the 2 airlines, Satena is the only one that's bookable online, the website is all in Spanish, but if you have booked a flight with any other airline in the world, I'm sure you can figure it out as it follows standard usability practices up until the payment where the credit card's expiration date is backwards.

Schedule

This information it taken directly from the Satena's intranet, this is subject to change, I recommend you check the schedules directly with the airline first before making any plans.

San Andres-Providencia

Providencia - San Andres

In low season Satena offers two frequencies between the islands, in high season they increase these 2 frequencies by one or 2 more without any kind of previous notice. The plane takes 15 minutes to get there.

Flying with Searca.

Searca is a charter company that has been hired by Decameron to transport people staying at the Decameron managed hotels, you cannot book this airline online, you can however book it in any of the recognized travel agencies in San Andres or in the Decameron office located at the airportl. 

Schedule

This information was taken directly from the Searca intranet, these schedules are subject to change, I recommend you check the schedule directly first before making any plans.

 



This airline still uses paper tickets, so if you are buying it over the phone/internet from another country or Colombian city, you'll need to arrange a pick up of the actual ticket or you can ask the travel agency to mail it(not recommended as our mail system is not the greatest). The horrible thing about paper tickets is that if you lose them, you are fucked, because Searca will not issue you a new one, also changing the dates in case that your plans change is close to impossible.

Flying with Grupo San German

I Have no idea who these guys are, this is a travel agency that poped up out of nowhere in December 2018 and started selling tickets to Providencia using the same charter company explained above, I was exeptic at first, but at the hostel a few guest have bought tickets with them and so far so good.

Their Website seems to have been coded by a monkey in the early 90's, but is easy to figure out once you get past the colours and the weird menus. 

How far in Advance Should I buy?

If you are certain of your travel dates, you should buy the tickets as soon as possible, both airlines generally sell out completely 1.5 weeks before any given date. Do NOT make a reservation in our hostel or any other property before having worked out your tickets to Providencia, most accomodation providers in providencia (including us) have few beds and cancellations and no shows are a pain to deal with.

Resident's discount

All legal residents in the island get a special discount on airplane tickets to the mainland and to Providencia as well as in the Catamaran this varies and is up to a 50% off, quite a few people have contact us asking on how they can get the residents discount on their flights/boat to providencia, this is an extremely stupid, borderline insulting question.

Unless you are a legal resident of the island you can't get this dicount no matter how much you try, PERIOD.


 By Catamaran

The catamaran sails (MON, WEN, THR, FRI, SUN) and departs from "Tonino's Marina" dock and sails back on the same days. On high season (easter and x-mas) and on Carnival week (JUN) they sail daily and sometimes twice a day due to increasing demand.

Departure time (San Andres-Providencia) is at 7 AM and the return is at 2 PM.
At the time of this writing the round trip ticket costs $300.000 COP and a oneway cost $170.000 COP and takes 4 hours from San Andres to Providencia and 3 hours on the way back the reason it takes less on the route Providencia-San Andres is beacuse you are coming with the current.

Booking Online

In 2017 the company that runs the catamaran decided to join the 21st century and implemented online sales and bookings, this had proven to give people an easy way to check prices and availability on real time, however due to credit card fraud, most international credit cards are declined, so we urge you not to try more than once because although the card is denied, the reservation does goes through.

If your reservation but not your payment goes through, you can pay on the day of the departure, I do however urge you to confirm this via email/phone with them directly as i'm talking about the experience we have witnessed from many of the hostel's guest. Land Line +57(8)512-5003 Cellphone +57(318)347-2336 MON-FRI from 8-12 and 2-6 PM & SAT 8-1 PM

How far in Advance Should I buy?

The catamaran rarely sells out, however around carnival week, long weekends, Easter week and Christmas is better to secure your tickets way in advance.

Do NOT make a reservation in our hostel or any other property before having worked out your tickets, most accomodation providers in providencia (including us) have few beds and cancellations and no shows are a pain to deal with, also please be aware of the catamaran departure days as explained above before booking.

Can I get I refund?

According to the terms and conditions in their website you are entitled to a refund on some circumstances, please keep in mind that if you are booking with us, you have the option to choose on hostelworld and booking.com Standard and non refundable rates, all hotels,hostels and guest houses in Providencia do not issue refunds on non-refundable rates. We suggest to take flexible rates in the period between the 15 November to the 15th of January.

About The boat and the trip

The reviews are mixed on this trip, some people have a wonderful time, while some other curse the day they were born; If you are prone on getting seasick I advice you take a Mareol or dramamine pill about 1 hour before getting into the boat, this pill will save your from getting dizzy and probably puking, but it will make you very sleepy.

8 out of 10 people agree that getting from San Andres to Providencia is way harder than the way back!.

In 2014 the same people from the Catamaran have acquired a bigger, faster boat. I have done the trip on both boats and although the newer one is comfier and has better AC, I think the old one doesn't swing as much. I advice you seat down in the middle back, that way you don't feel the jumping up and down of the boat, no matter how much you want to visit Providencia, as a personal experience do not take this trip with a hangover, it will make you rethink if its worth living if you do.

If you are easily disgusted by the thought, sound or smell of puke, be mentally prepared as for sure someone will barf on the trip, crew members will hand out plastic bags to everyone and tissues damped with alcohol in case the smell gets bad. This is what I call the Vomito Effect where people just puke because they are disgusted at the exorcist like scenes around them.


 

Day Trip to Providencia

The catamaran offers day trip return tickets from San Andres to Providencia this is an extremely pointless trip, as you'll spend at least 4 hours on the boat, 1 hour vomiting and only get a few hours on the island if you are lucky before a 3 hour trip back, you'll hardly see it anything properly.

DO NOT bother with this option, if you want to experience the real Providencia, keep your sanity intact and avoid suicidal thoughts, I highly advise you to stay at least a night while visiting the island.


 

By cargo boat

Cargo boats don't have a fixed schedule and we don't really know who to contact, but is you are staying in San Andres for a while and have the time to ask around, this might worth a shot the people who have done it told me they paid $50.000 COP per route.

From what I've heard is up to the captain of the boat to allow you to go with them as is technically illegal to transport people that are not crew members in these types of boats. From a pure statistical point of view We have noticed that women have a higher success rate than guys, so let your lady friend do the talking.

Your best bet is to go to the dock (5 minutes away from our hostel) and ask the captains directly, please be aware that to enter the dock for safety reasons you must be wearing pants and fully covered shoes, otherwise they won't let you in pass the main gate.


 

Everything is this section is outdated information, we are leaving it in the website as an historical archive

Tickets for this boat are no longer sold at the hostel, since the catamaran doesn't give us any commission on tickets sold, we used to charge a 15% fee to cover our expenses and to be honest We would have done this for free if it were quick and painless, but they are not very efficient when it comes to making a booking with them and we lose about 1 hour of our time doing it.

You can also contact them directly to this emails:

  • coordinadoradz1 AT conocemosnavegando DOT com
  • reservas AT conocemosnavegando DOT com

Or call them up to these numbers: +57(310)222-5403 or +57(318)347-2336 or +57(8)512-3675 or +57(8)512-3340 They also have a website which is updated seldomly with schedule and price information.

If you decide to send them an email recommend you are brief in your email as i have gathered that briefs emails get the fastest replies I advice you follow this format:

Subject: New Reservation Paris Hilton x 02

Hi.
We would like to make a reservation for:

  • Paris Hilton, American Passport number 516A273252
  • Posh Spice, English Passport number 05REA84681

Dates:

  • San Andres - Providencia: Viernes 13 de JUN
  • Providencia San Andres: Miercoles 18 de JUN

We will pay on the day of departure in CASH/CREDIT CARD.

It generally takes them 3 to 4 days to answer emails, but sometimes they just dont seem to answer at all.

Booking Online

As of 2015 the catamaran has started taking online bookings the slow 1999 way, you first have to fill up a form and then after a few days they will send you a confirmation if they have availability with a link to do the payment online which will be valid only for 72 hours, after you pay them, they will send you an email with the tickets. this way generally takes about 3 days from that we've been told by hostel guests.

Where to stay?

Providencia island is one of the most amazing island you will ever visit, even if its sounds cliche the people you'll meet there will change your life.

In Providencia you'll find lots of guest houses, some better than others generally run by their owners. Unfortunately there's too many to list them all so i'll just list the ones me or a guest of the Blue Almond have stayed. If you are an easy going backpacker you'll be fine arriving there without a reservation, as even in high season there's always a place to stay.
Update 2013: I have been working on a government project to help bring tourist to Providencia. Me and my associate Andrew Mccully  have build a whole e-marketing plan for 25 business in Providencia. The budget was limited, but now most of the small B&B and hostel in Providencia have Websites.

Flaming Tree
This is a small hostel right downtown, i have only heard good things about it and its central location.

Posada Sunshine Paradise
This 2 bedroom guest house is located in Santa Catalina which is the island right in front of Providencia, there's no cars or motorcycles in that island which makes it perfect for the ones running away from any form of civilization. Check their website

Hotel El Pirata Morgan
This is one of the biggest hotels in Providencia located in Fresh Water Bay which is the area where most of the Decameron-run hotels are. The prices are not as high as one would imagine by looking at their fancy website.

Mr Mac
Made Famous by the Lonely Planet guide, I have gathered that it lives up to what's written there. Everyone who I know stays there seems to really like it. Update: Mr Mac has passed, but the guest house is now run by his daughter. Website

Deep Blue
A newly opened luxury hotel which i think is the bomb. Prices are really high for us, the backpacker breed, but well worth the price if you want to expend a fancy night. Check their website.

Betito's Place
Great view of crab cay and friendly owners. This hotel is right beside the Deep Blue. Website 

Cabanas Sonny
Great if you are a diver, as the owner offers dive packages at his own dive shop. Website

El Encanto Providencia
Only hotel that wheelchair and stroller friendly in Providencia. Located right in Agua Dulce. Website

El Recreo Providencia
This hotel sits literally on the beach. The owner captain Bryan is a long time friend of my father and he's probably the most friendly person you'll ever meet while in Providencia. Website

Hotel Old Providence
If being downtown is your thin, give this hotel a try. Website

Posada Angels
Are you going to Providencia with a big group? this place is great if you want to rent a whole house for your family and friends. Website

Posada Cocobay
Right by the shore overlooking crab cay, this hotel is simple but has the best location of all the hotels in Providencia. Website

Posada Del Mar Providencia
Fancy hotel with great facilities and amazing ocean views. Website

Posada Enilda
Budget place to stay, but with all commodities of a small hotel. Website

Posada Miss Lupe
Located in South West bay, this little posada has nothing to envy the big hotels in the island. Website

Posada Miss Orfe
This is my old time favorite, Miss Orfe will greet you with a smile from ear to ear, she is super friendly and if you want to hear some good stories about the old times , she's definitely the one to talk to. Website

Posada Vickys Place
Budget accommodation right on South West Bay. Website

Cabañas Relax Providencia
This is a little fancy hotel on Fresh Water bay. Website

Villa De Santa Catalina
Great views of Providencia in this small posada. Website

Posada Santa Catalina
Hidden treasure in Santa Catalina island with very affordable prices. Website

Posada Miss Rossy
Cute little house that can be share among friends, is seriously looks like a toy house. Luisa the owner will fix you with anything you may need ;) . Website

Mi Casa En Providencia
This place is a working project, apparently they want to build an Eco-lodge. Website

 

Where to party in Providencia?

To be honest there is not that much partying in Providencia. My favourite places to go are:

Roland's Roots Bar

The owner of this bar religiously claims to have life music everyday, which most of the time is not true. Roland* is known by everyone in Providencia and his bar in my opinion is the best place to go if you want a crowd.

This bar sometimes is visited by "fresh water rastas" which is kind of annoying.

Richard's Bar

Rastafarian themed bar, right in the middle of Sout West Bay. Richard is very cool to talk because 99% of the time is high.

Alden's Bar

Small bar on the northest part of South West bay. There's a very steep ramp from the main road about 20 meters down the road from the viewpoint. This is very steep and i've seen tourist fall a few times. Unless you are scooter savy i'd advice againt going down or up this ramp and instead go all the way to the Southwest Bay main road and turn right at the end of it.

El Cangrejo

A little club located in the entrance of Maracaibo.

Ocean View Terrace

This is the newst place in Providencia, is located on Fresh Water Bay right by the cemetery, If you ask a local they probably won't know about it. This place is amazing if you are wanting to catch the sunset or mingle some delicious local treats. They have a simple finger food menu and 5 to 7 pm happy hour cocktails for a fair price.

Besides these bars, there's a couple of places that you might want to try, but you better ask a local while you are there what the nice places to go at the time of your visit. Remember to apply or bring mosquito repellent.

 

*Roland is now famous becase he appeared on a Colombian reality show called "Desafio 2011" We hope that that didn't affect his ego and cocktail making skills.

Where to eat in Providencia?

This list was compiled by Chris from Paisatours.com and belongs solely to him.

Restaurants

Seafood lovers – welcome to heaven! Try the local black crab dishes – especially the crab claws forstarters. If you order a lobster, check the size first. Most lobsters served here are very small –hopefully I don’t need to tell you that eating baby lobsters isn’t good for the environment.Providencia used to have enormous lobsters all over the place – now they’re all small due tooverfishing – so do your part and refuse to eat the small ones.....

Seafood haters - you’re in for a tough time. Lots of chicken I suspect. Don’t consider ordering a steak– they’re pretty poor, everywhere.....

Vegetarians – you’re in for a tough time too..... try Cafe Studio, Il Postino or Bamboo (see below).

Note that a lot of restaurants close on Sundays – you might struggle to find many open....street foodvendors often come out on Sundays though...look out for the locals doing organized BBQs for Sundaylunches. The beachfront restaurants in South West Bay are open on Sundays, as are most of thehotel’s restaurants.

Our favourite restaurant is Bamboo, which is on Santa Catalina Island (turn left after the footbridgefrom Providencia – 5 minute walk from the centre – closed on Sundays though). The prices are veryreasonable, and the local sea food food always excellent, as is the service. The crab here is amazing.Ask for a table on the small pier in front of the restaurant - the views of the harbour and Providenciaare wonderful. Bamboo is one of the few restaurants in Providencia when you can normally ask for avegetarian dish (ask for one - they won't appear on the menu).

Another favourite of mine is Il Postino, an Italian restaurant found in San Felipe (San Felipe ishalfway between Freshwater and the town centre (Santa Isabel) – look for the sign on your right 100metres after the small bridge if coming from Freshwater). It's only open 4 months of the year though- if it's open you'll see the sign. The speciality here is pasta.

Caribbean Place (aka Donde Martin) is the probably the best restaurant in Freshwater. There's a verywide variety of dishes on offer - I often opt for the coconut prawns. It’s the most expensiverestaurant in Providencia, but you get good food.

Pizzas Place in Freshwater does some remarkably good pizzas. I order a delivery about every week.Stick to the pizzas though – after all they specialize in pizzas....

Pirata Morgan Hotel offers a set evening meal for about 8000 pesos – if you’re on a tight budget, thisis one of the cheapest places to get a meal.

South West Bay has a variety of beach front restaurants, including El Divino Nino, Mr Arturo and Miss Mary. South West Bay is the best place to get lunch on the beach. I'm a particular fan of El Divino Nino's famous "mixed plate", a ridiculously enormous dish that offers lobster, conch, crab andfish at a remarkably reasonable price. Miss Mary is where I head if when I feel like eating conch.

On the road between South West Bay and Freshwater Bay, Cafe Studio is another good restaurantwith reasonable prices – it’s run by a Canadian lady. The menu is varied and the homemade stylefood always tasty.

On Machineel beach, Roland’s beach bar offers sea food. There’s a couple of other shacks whereyou can pick up a bite to eat – but from my experience, they always seem to be closed. Roland’s is always open though. Roland is a rather legendary local rasta (ed – he’s cut his dreads now – he’s still a rasta inside as he says!)

Generally speaking, many of the best restaurants (whether defined in terms of value for money, quality of food, or a mix of the two) are the independent ones not attached to the hotels. Hence,you’re best off avoiding those all inclusive packages. Almost all the hotels in Aguadulce (except Posada del Mar) have a restaurant. Miss Mary hotel (in South West Bay) and Miss Elma hotel (in Freshwater Bay) are both good options – primarily for their lovely, tranquil beach front locations.The restaurant at Cabanas Aguadulce is pretty good too.

There’s also a handful of cheap places to eat in the centre of town. A new restaurant on the edge ofthe town centre is Don Olivo, I’ve yet to eat there though.

Copyright 2010 – PaisaTours.com

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Important Information

  • Looking far into the future? Most of our guests are spontaneous travelers, so we only open up availability 1-2 months prior to arrival date.
  • We don't take 1 night bookings (they are not profitable for us) and we ONLY take online reservations.

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