Beaches & Zones of Providencia
The finest white sand lapped by the most turquoise of seas, in Providencia one finds Colombia's most idyllic beaches. Development on the island is strongly controlled, and as such almost all of the beaches are devoid of any buildings - instead there's just coconut palms, mangroves and the odd shack or restaurant selling beer, pina coladas and the freshest of seafood dishes. There's a variety of blissfully peaceful beaches to choose from.
Don't expect any beach hawkers here - the only thing that might disturb your peace is the odd stingray or turtle you spot whilst swimming in the calm waters (they're all friendly though!).
Playa Manzanillo is probably Providencia's most wonderful beach - about 300 metres in length, this bay is on South East coast of the island, and a little off the beaten track. It's either a long walk here, or a shorter drive down the track if you've rented a golf buggy. The sea is beautifully turquoise, and the beach has just one building of any real size - Rolands Roots Bar. Rolands is a very chilled out typically Caribbean rustic bar serving cocktails and seafood - in the evenings there's live reggae music making this one of the few happening nightspots on the island.
South West Bay (Bahia Sur Oeste)
South West Bay, found to the South West of the island, has Providencia's longest beach. The Southern section of the beach contains a handful of restaurants serving some the the island's best seafood - in addition there are a couple of hotels nearby including Miss Mary and Hotel Sirius. As one walks a little further North along this beautiful beach (see photo above) there's very little other than coconut palms, white sand and a calm turquoise sea. Every Saturday there are local horseback riding competitions on this beach - a great spectacle!
FreshWater Bay (Bahia Agua Dulce)
Freshwater Bay is where one finds the greatest conglomeration of restaurants and hotels in Providencia. Having said this, it all remains low key. There's about 6 hotels, and as many restaurants here - it's known as the "zona turistica" (tourist zone) of the island. The beach here is about 150 metres in length - Freshwater Bay has a lovely beach but one will soon realize that the beaches further around the coast are more beautiful and suitable for passing the day.
Bahia Maracaibo (Maracaibo Bay)
Found on the East coast of Providencia, Bahia Maracaibo has possibly Providencia's most beautiful landscape. Here one finds McBean Lagoon and McBean National Park, along with the beautiful Cayo Cangrejo (Crab Caye) a little off the shore (see photo above). The calm, crystal clear waters in Bahia Maracaibo and Crab Caye are ideal for both canoeing and snorkelling - turtles are frequently spooted in the waters around Cayo Cangrejo. The beautiful colour of the sea around Cayo Cangejo is almost beyond belief - there's stunning views from the top of this little island. The East coast of Providencia is possibly the islands most upmarket zone - Colombia's Formula 1 racing driver Juan Pablo Montoya has his holiday home here for example. There's a handful of very small little beaches along the East coast - but the bigger beaches are found to the South and West of the island.
Santa Isabel is the administrative "capital" of Providencia. Here you'll find the local tourist office, a few small supermarkets and a couple of banks with ATM machines. A little further South round the coast is Bahia Santa Catalina (Santa Catalina Bay) with a long beach used by local fishermen.
Santa Catalina Island
The neighbouring island of Santa Catalina is connected to Providencia by a long wooden footbridge known as the "Lovers Bridge". From Providencia Island it's a pretty, scenic walk to it's smaller neighbouring island. There are various small but beautiful beaches, such as Fort Bay, that can be walked to here. From Fort Bay, walk onwards to the nearby Morgans Head for some great snorkelling, or swim round to Henry Morgans subterranean cave, where the infamous pirate used to stash his treasure. If possible, also visit Red Beach, which is only accessible by boat/kayak - it's a beautiful calm little beach, with a stunning view towards the Two Brothers Cayes.
There's other lovely little secluded beaches to visit in addition to those mentioned above such as Pacha Beach and Almond Beach, both of which are found on Providencia's West coast.