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What to do in Columbia - Santa Marta & San Andres Island????


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Our cruise on the new Azamara Journey in late October will be making stops at Santa Marta, Columbia and San Andres Islands, Columbia. Has anyone been there, and can you recommend what to do? Also, is it safe for a group of women to venture out and walk around on our own?

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San Andres island is small; it is a tender port. There are some vendors and taxis waiting on the street when you arrive at a small, non-commercial jetty. You can rent a car from places in-town and drive around the total perimeter (as my husband and I did.) We went snorkeling at a spot where there were many fish, not pretty ones, but hungry little ones who want to be fed. Interesting. There was a small entrance fee. We also stopped at a hole in the ground where water sprayed up on occasion, and a woman's house who sold painted fish made of driftwood. I purchased one of those fish for $50, and because it was about 5 feet long (what was I thinking?) it cost me far more than that to have the ship mail it to my home for me. Nonetheless, I still like the fish who is living outside in my backyard. The woman who sold him to me was quite excited when I bought the fish. She said, "many people stop, but few buy." And this is not a surprise, because sane people wouldn't want to deal with getting the fish home! In any case, she told us (in halting English) it was her birthday that day, and this was a good present for her - then she pointed out a man in the ocean across the street and said it was her husband looking for an octopus to cook for her birthday dinner. FYI, I didn't bargain with her. I thought $50 was a fair price, so I paid it. Obviously I paid more than what SHE thought it was worth, but I made her birthday. Finally, we spent some time in the small town shopping. Because of the Columbian connection, there were many emerald items on sale.

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Thanks so much for your reply...I was beginning to think no one ever goes there.


Were there taxis tours around the island and do you remember how much they charged?


Were there any beaches nearby the tender port?


It sounds like you were able to do things on your own safely. Is that true?

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I was with my husband (mid-forties, 6'5" tall) and my brother-in-law. I never felt unsafe, but rarely do with my husband nearby... in daylight. It is not like mainstream Colombia, at least not that I remember. Make certain you listen to your ship's briefing because things may have changed.


I am thinking you can hire a taxi for the day. There were certainly many taxis lined up for hire on the road behind where we were dropped off. We rented a car in San Andres because there must have been a car rental place conveniently located to wherever we were dropped off, either by where we tendered in, or a taxi to town. I don't remember.


I was on a Silversea ship when we stopped at this port. I don't recall any tours, but assume they had one of those bus around the island tours. This wouldn't have allowed stopping at the places we did, so didn't appeal to us.

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San Andres is a lovely, fairly unspoiled island. Any organised tours were done in local cars or taxis as tour buses are non-existent. Although a few taxis had A/C they don't like to use it. As far as my personal safety was concerned I was extremely comfortable travelling around the island with just another female.


I was quite impressed by the very clear waters that I saw from the tender and the shore.


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  • 8 months later...

I had to punch a pickpocket at the San Andreasita market place. I had a travelers wallet with all of our money, identification & passports in it. It had a cord attached that I'd tucked into my waist line. The pickpocket managed to get it out of my back pocket without my feeling the slightest thing but I caught him red handed when I stepped back to look at a t-shirt. I had to hit him and he dropped my wallet and ran like a scalded hound. I wasn't foolish enough to chase him but I count my blessings that he wasn't able to leave us stranded there with absolutely nothing and no way to get home or call anyone. I shudder to think of what we'd have done without money, identification or passports in San Andreas, Colombia. Be very wary but it's a beautiful, one of kind island. Hop a short plane ride to Provedencia if you can, that's even better! :cool:

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We stopped at San Andres Island in February and had a very enjoyable time. We had met another couple on-board ship and had decided not to explore the island as we had heard that compared to where we'd been, we might prefer to stay in town (This could be totally wrong.)


We met a taxi driver who agreed to take us a short distance to the main town. We told him that we were interested in seeing crafts/art native to the island and he took us to a rather new and still half empty, planned for tourists, shopping center with a couple of great shops. The best one was full of locally done oil paintings, great woven hats, good pottery, jewelry, etc. I'm a pretty avid collector and this was not junk. We spent a good two hours in the shop, enjoying ourselves immensely. We took a walk through the town which, to be kind, is not ready for tourism yet.


After exploring the town, we spent some time on a beautiful beach near the downtown area with a very unspoiled feel....ringed by palm trees, a few old boats on the beach and turquoise waters.


The taxi driver stayed with us and the conversation was enjoyable and informative. He did stay outside while we shopped and did not bug us or the shop owner for a percentage of the price of our purchases.


We had been on a port-intensive cruise through the Panama Canal and the trip there and back to the mainland was a nice diversion.





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