Last year in Valencia, Spain I happened to talk to a Colombian woman who generously praised San Andrés as a destination. San Andrés y Providencia is an archipelago (and a departamento) in the Caribbean Sea belonging to Colombia. San Andrés, the main island, is located about 200 km off the Nicaraguan coast and maybe 300 km from Costa Rica (with Colombian mainland much farther away).

San Andrés
Location of San Andrés island. Image from Bing Maps.

Not long after that, while in Costa Rica (and briefly Panama), I was interested in whether I could catch a boat to San Andrés, or if I'd need to fly (via Bogotá or something). I eventually discarded the plan as I only found flights which were very expensive and I was running out of time.

Now, in retrospect, I'd love to know the answer: What are your best options to getting to San Andrés, especially if you happen to be in Costa Rica? Are there boats or ferries of any kind from Nicaragua or Costa Rica (or Panama or Colombia)? Or are flights the only real option—and if so, are there direct flights from elsewhere than mainland Colombia?

(Also, if you've been there, feel free to share your impressions. Is it indeed something special, or just a nice beach resort for well-to-do Colombians?)

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San Andrés, February 2006. Photo credit: Rockfan on Flickr.

  • (Thanks to Peter Hahndorf for indirectly inspiring me to ask this, by mentioning the name San Blas which I got confused with San Andrés somehow...)
    – Jonik
    May 10, 2012 at 21:28
  • 3
    I am from Nicaragua and I never heard that you can flight from here to San Andres. I am not aware that there is a boat option either.
    – cayerdis
    May 23, 2012 at 2:44

2 Answers 2


Apparently scheduled sea options are very limited or nonexistent.

As mentioned, last year when I quickly checked, the flights (via mainland Colombia) I found were really expensive (like 800+ USD)...

But now that I'm aware of despegar.com (cheap flight search engine for Latin America), I know a bit better.

As Karlson mentioned, the main airport of the archipelago is Gustavo Rojas Pinilla International Airport (ADZ), and there are connections mainly to mainland Colombia (Bogotá, Barranquilla, Medellín, Cali, etc), and Panama City. And if Wikipedia is correct, there's also a seasonal connection by TACA to San José (Costa Rica)—but at least right now this is not available.

So, to answer this question:

What are your best options to getting to San Andrés, especially if you happen to be in Costa Rica?

From Costa Rica, unless the seasonal direct flight from SJO happens to be running, probably the cheapest/easiest way is to head to Panama City and fly from there to San Andrés for about 400 USD (return ticket; one-way would cost more). Flight time just over an hour. (Bus from San José to Panama City is quite cheap but takes 16-18 hours; flying SJO-PTY is surprisingly expensive.)

More generally, there's an abundance of decently priced flights from Bogotá to Isla de San Andrés (by Lan, Copa, and Avianca). Flight time about 2h; some 8 direct flights daily. One-way prices from USD 157 and return from USD 314 (incl taxes and fees).

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despegar.com example price for next week


Not sure if ferries are available to St Andres but you can certainly look at the official site for more details but from the Wiki page all I could find is that by sea you can only reach the island on a cruise ship.

Of course the island does have an airport so you can get there by plane. Most of the services are via Colombia(Bogota, Medellin, Cartagena) or Panama on Copa, or LAN Colombia.

There are also mentions of seasonal service from Costa Rica and charter flights from Montreal as well but being what they are I wouldn't rely on these.

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