The Island of San Andres, located in the Caribbean off of the coast of Central America and owned by Colombia is a great destination for beach lovers. A tiny island, there are several beaches here, each with their perks. If you are planning a trip to San Andres and are planning on enjoying the beaches (which, well you should be, duh!), read on to learn all about the best beaches of San Andres, Colombia.
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The Best Beaches of San Andres Island, Colombia
If you’re planning a trip to San Andres, I feel pretty confident you are planning to enjoy the beach while you are there. This island located in the Caribbean is one of Colombia’s premier destinations, and the beaches are undoubtedly the main draw.
Here I am going to discuss the beaches of San Andres and what to expect at each these best beaches of San Andres Island, Colombia. If you would like to know more about San Andres and how to plan your trip there, be sure to check out my full Practical Guide to San Andres (coming soon) as well as my Complete Guide to What to Do in San Andres (coming soon). You’ll also see links below to posts on some of the more popular things to do in the descriptions of some of the beaches below.
But here, you will learn exclusively all about the best beaches in San Andres, Colombia.
Spratt Bight – San Andres Beach Downtown is as Good as You’ll Find
Spratt Bight is the downtown beach area of San Andres. A long strip of beach, it is located along the northern coast of San Andres, also known as the North End. I am usually not a fan of beaches in town. For example, the beaches in Cartagena are not nearly as nice as the beaches outside of town. However, the beach at Spratt Bight is different. In fact, I think it is the best beach overall in San Andres.
First of all, the water is that crystal clear Caribbean water you want. It is nearly as pretty as the beaches in the Rosario Islands near Cartagena. Waves are calm and you can wade out quite a bit, making it a good spot for swimming as well.
Maybe even better though, is that there is a lot of beach. It’s both wide and long. Actually, it is surprisingly long. What I really like though is that you can choose to pay for chairs and an umbrella but there is plenty of space to just lay down a towel and chill on your own too, especially if you walk down a bit from the center of town.
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Another thing I really appreciated is that vendors are not too pushy. There are vendors, and massage girls, and braid girls, but they are not nearly as overrun as what you see at a place like Playa Blanca in Barú, and they actually take no for an answer and move on. That’s a nice touch to this best beach on San Andres.
The area in the center of downtown by where Beer Lovers and Corral is located can get a bit crowded, but if you walk down along the waterfront, you can find some areas that will be much less crowded. The nice thing as well is you can easily just buy drinks or beers from the nearby stores just off the beach front. Even that picture of Susana above, which looks like there’s no one else around is a few steps from the downtown beachfront strip.
Honestly, I’m not sure if there are much better beachfronts just a 1 minute walk from downtown anywhere in Colombia! The combination of nice beach and great convenience makes Spratt Bight land in the top spot as the overall best beach in San Andres, Colombia.
Johnny Cay – Windswept Island Beach of San Andres, Colombia
Johnny Cay is a small island just off the coast of San Andres. If you look at that photo of Susana above, you can see it in the background. Besides being great scenery to look at from Spratt Bight, Johnny Cay has another one of the best beaches on the island of San Andres (well close to it anyway).
This island feels very Robinson Crusoesque, just with a lot of tourists. You will have to take a boat to get here, and this is probably the most popular tour in San Andres. I would suggest seeing if you can get a full day tour (most are only half day) and making sure you get one of the earliest boats to get a prime spot on the beach. If you’re feeling adventurous, escape the crowd and take the 15-20 minute walk around the island.
The interior of the island is also neat, with a surprisingly amount of green under the shade of the palm trees. You can get lunch on the beach or under trees, as well as drinks. On the beach itself, you should expect to pay for chairs and a shade tent if you want them. Be sure to sample a coco loco. The waves are a tad rough here and there are rocks out in the water off the beach. It’s still a good swimming spot, but just be aware of that.
Read more about this neat island that has one of the best San Andres beaches in my complete Practical Guide to Johnny Cay.
Rocky Cay Beach
Rocky Cay is another tiny coral island off of San Andres. However, it’ even tinier than Johnny Cay. It’s not much more than a rock and a few palm trees. However, the neat thing about it is you can easily do a 15 minute or so combination of wading and swimming the 200 yards to get there, or just hop a 2 minute boat ride.
The island itself is worth visiting and you can read more about it in my Practical Guide to Rocky Cay, San Andres (coming soon). However, the beach overlooking it isn’t half bad either. There is better swimming and snorkeling out by the island itself (don’t forget to pack a good snorkel set and some good water shoes for the rough coral!). That’s mostly because there is a bit of seaweed and sand that get turned up in the waves on this San Andres beach. However, the beach is a good spot to just hang out.
It’s particularly good to enjoy lunch and have a drink or two here while taking in the view of Rocky Cay. The view of the sunset is also ok, and it makes for a particularly good spot for the end of a golf cart circuit around the island before heading back to town and turning in the cart.
San Luis – More Local Vibe Beach of San Andres
Located a bit further down from Rocky Cay in the south-central area of the eastern coast of the island, San Luis is the last proper beach on this list of the best San Andres beaches. It tends to be less touristy and have more of a local vibe. It is also less developed. While there are a few spots with chairs and shade tents and a few little restaurants, much it if is just open beach.
The waves here are a bit higher and rougher. It tends to draw a mix of tourists as well as a lot of locals, and can get crowded on holidays and weekends. However, during the week it should be less crowded than most of the other top beaches on San Andres Island. This is a good spot to just hang out for a bit on those less crowded days.
Other Non Beach Watering Holes in San Andres
So that rounds out the best beaches in San Andres, Colombia, however there are a few other beach like places worth visiting.
The Aquarium and Haynes Cay
This is another popular tour, and is sometimes included as an all day tour that includes Johnny Cay as well. You will stop at the Aquarium, which actually has a long sort of beach on a sand bar. However, the highlight is the reefs just off the sand bar where you can see lots of fish. Again, you’ll want a good snorkel set and some good water shoes here.
Then you can wade over to Haynes Cay (aka Haines Cay), another little island where there is a little beach and some beach bars. The snorkeling is the main draw here, and it is really worth it. It is also popular to rent pontoon boats and have boat parties in the little bay made by the sand bars.
Located at the very southern edge of the island, Hoyo Soplador is a little mini geyser created by a hole in the ground below a cave where waves crash in, creating a shooting stream of water. It’s a neat little spot, and you’ll be surprised just how forceful the air feels when it blows in your face. There’s no real beach here, but it’s another must see thing on San Andres and a good stop on a golf cart circuit of the island. See a complete guide to the Hoyo Soplador here.
On the West Side of the island, there are a couple natural swimming pools carved into the rocky coral coast. None have a beach, but they are decent swimming spots. During our first visit, you could dive in and see lots of little fish swimming around. During our most recent visit in 2021, the seating areas and buildings had been swept away by Hurricane Iota, although I am sure they will eventually be rebuilt.
Ok, this is not a beach either, but the beach and snorkel lovers may want to try diving in San Andres. It is relatively cheap and there are a number of companies that offer mini-courses of a couple hours and will let you get a chance to go down and enjoy being under the sea. There are also tethered helmets that allow for a bit of an easier experience that isn’t quite scuba diving.
Are You Ready to Enjoy the Best San Andres Beaches?
There you have it, a complete guide to the best beaches of San Andres Island in Colombia. If you’re planning a trip, be sure to also check out my complete Practical Guide to San Andres. I hope you found it useful and if you do go to San Andres, you enjoy it and its beaches to the fullest! If you do go, let me know what your favorite San Andres Island beaches were in the comments below.
Cheers and Happy
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