This is one sweet island. Providencia is part of Colombia, but is nestled in the Caribbean Sea in the crook of Panama, Costa Rica and Nicaragua. 125 miles from any mainland, it is truly a remote destination.
Huge mountains surround the harbor, giving it excellent protection from the prevailing wind and seas, and providing an amphitheater of beauty.
People are friendly and are eager to welcome you to their unspoiled island. Tourism hasn’t taken a hold of this tranquil spot yet, the way it has snagged San Andres, another small island fifty miles south. San Andres is chock full of high rises, screaming traffic, spiffy shopping and loud music blaring, so we skipped this “paradise”. Colombia has plans to develop Providencia into an Eco Tourism hotspot. This is a good idea. Countless examples of natural phenomenon exist in the rivers, plants, animals, water, reefs, and sea life.
Tiny cabanas are sprinkled all over the island for the occasional tourist to stay, and delicious fresh food is prepared and served at quaint restaurants. Each place we stopped to eat felt like a visit to someone’s private kitchen. And the trust in all people was felt everywhere.
When we rented a scooter, they asked us to just return it to the curb with the key in the ignition anytime, no worries about overtime or theft after our drop off. Nice to feel safe everywhere you go!
Hiking was superb on our own meanderings as well as with a guide, Big Boy, to El Peak, 1200 feet above the sea. After our three day passage to this island, it was great to stretch our legs. Hiking with Big Boy was especially interesting because he stopped every hundred feet to show us the medicinal uses of each plant we passed. He showed us plants which cured his childhood leukemia, and those that could stop your cut from bleeding, your headache from annoying you, and your heart from beating too fast. He showed us plants that cured cancer, diarrhea, itchy rashes, and even impotency or sex drive deficiency. If I am ever sick, I’m coming here to be cured.
Snorkeling was excellent in many places and we even organized a scuba trip that was amazing. The first dive to sixty feet was packed with shark. The twenty who greeted us with curiosity on our descent were incredibly calm, lazily swimming fifteen feet from us. We continued to encounter more shark, as well as sea turtles, lobster families, and beautiful fish on this dive. Our second dive brought us straight to a statue of Mary, bizarrely placed (or fallen?) eighty feet down. We swam up and around through crevices and rock formations that made me marvel with nature in a whole new light. I wish I had trusted our camera at these depths to be able to capture the memories. Alas, I must try to preserve them with my feeble brain.
Back on Alembic, we continued to enjoy the delicious bounty of this pristine island and sadly planned our next voyage to Honduras. Providencia is definitely on the list for Must Come Back!