Playa de San Luis

Playa de San Luis, San Andres: Address, Playa de San Luis Reviews: 4.5/5

Playa de San Luis
4.5
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4.5
3,396 reviews
Excellent
1,649
Very good
1,176
Average
435
Poor
89
Terrible
47

rban123
Helsinki, Finland49 contributions
Feb 2022
I loved this beach, it has fewer crowds, with couple of restaurants.
Food was nice , drinks are available till night.
Just 100 meters from the beach, there are couple of supermarkets on the main road, barber and some more bars.

However, bus access to centre isn't frequent and can take time to the centre.
Written March 3, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

VivianeMuller
Porto Alegre, RS325 contributions
Mar 2020
When you do your trip around the island in a rented car, you must stop in San Luis! There are very few tourists, that`s why we could see a lot of fishes, this beach is not crowded as Sprat Bight and Rocky Cay. There were chairs in the sand, i beleive they were from some hotel nearby. But in the part we stayed, there was no place to buy food, we brought our own.
Written March 8, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

David K
Clifton Park, NY21 contributions
Dec 2015 • Family
More than two thousand miles south of New York, on a tropical island shaped like a sea horse, I peer uneasily into a two-foot-wide hole in black volcanic rock—a soplador, or blowhole—alongside a dozen other people in swim suits.

Suddenly, a whopper of a wave smacks the shore—and the hole violently sneezes a jet of fine mist, sculpting my hair straight up like Bart Simpson’s.

Milliseconds later, the hole coughs up a fountain of seawater, like the remnants of a meal. Shrieking with delight, everyone within a 10-foot radius is soaked.

Good thing I’m wearing my bathing suit. Such is life in San Andrés, a small Colombia-owned island in the Caribbean whose sea-horse shape is remarkably apt for its diversity of natural wonders, mouth-watering fish dishes, and variety of water sports, from parasailing to jet skis. Since arriving here last week with my wife’s family, we have explored the island in a pair of rundown carros de golfo—golf carts—played in rough surf, snorkeled amid colorful iridescent fish, savored fresh ceviche, and dug the reggae vibe of an island whose natives speak a mixture of English, Spanish and Creole.

Such credentials, sadly, butt up against the warts of an island that hasn’t quite adapted a tourist-friendly persona. Chances are San Andrés won’t end up on your bucket list anytime soon. Honestly, it wouldn’t be on my list if my wife weren’t Colombian.

The main problem in San Andrés is the government and locals don’t take good care of it.

There’s garbage—lots of it. Alongside the roads and strewn across beaches. The hulls of old appliances, half-buried rusted bicycles, and plastic trash of every variety, from soda bottles to sippy cups. And the island has an overabundance of noisy motorcyclists, who make crossing the street in downtown San Andrés an extreme sport. The noise and solid waste pollution clashes sadly with UNESCO’s designation of the San Andrés group of islands (of which San Andrés is the largest) and surrounding sea as a Biosphere Reserve, meant to protect the archipelago’s valuable ecosystem, including a largely intact reef that’s great for snorkeling.

Moreover, getting to San Andrés is a hassle most Americans won’t bother with. Located 500 miles off the Colombian coast, and 150 miles from Nicaragua, it’s off the beaten path of U.S. airlines. (Over two days, we flew Albany-Newark, Newark-Bogotá, Bogotá-San Andrés). And the island’s tourism industry could use some spit and polish. More than a few shop owners and sidewalk vendors seemed to regard us with indifference and even rudeness.

It’s as if the locals never took Tourism 101, figuring the island’s natural wonders would carry the day.

And to a great extent, they do. Along the island’s roads and beaches, I found my slice of paradise, with a little purgatory thrown in.

Nearly every day now the thirteen of us have crammed into a pair of barely functioning golf carts, puttered past the drab duty free shops of downtown, and dodged flocks of crazy motorcyclists. We headed to the white sand beaches where wild waves toss us like rag dolls and we gape at vistas of ocean with seven distinct hues of blue. On the way back to the hotel, we stop at rough-hewn seaside restaurants to savor native dishes and sip piña coladas mixed by natives who are culturally more Creole than Colombian. Prices of many goods and services are something like half—even less—of what they’d be in the U.S.

Sadly, during our time here, the wind has been too strong and the ocean too rough for us to snorkel the protected reef, about a mile offshore.

The island’s rundown feeling extended to our hotel, a ten minute ride from the airport—atop a windy hill with palm trees endlessly swaying around a pleasant kidney-shaped pool. Part of one of the buildings had been burnt down in a fire, melted roof shingles still hanging over a charred patio area. The toilet for our room didn’t flush properly and the sliding door to the bathroom was off track and once, I couldn’t exit the bathroom and had to shout for my wife on the other side to lift the door open.

Despite the drawbacks, the rooms were comfortable and clean, with blissfully cool air conditioning. And the owner, Miguel, who perpetually held a can of Miller Genuine Draft in his hand, was extremely nice and and gracious and gave free rides to and from town in his clunker of a pickup, the dozen or so of us sitting on the rim of the truck bed as it slowly chugged past, well, piles of garbage.

I’ve developed a routine. Waking up around 6:30 a.m. with a stiff neck because of unfamiliar pillows, I go brisk-walking with my sister-in-law along garbage-strewn streets, hop-scotch around dog poop, and buy a sack full of empanadas on the way back to the hotel. I jump into the pool to cool off and go upstairs to shower.

I relax on the balcony, notepad in hand. As I write this review, I overlook a gorgeous panorama of ocean necklaced by white surf as a brisk breeze ruffles the palm fronds framing the view and cools the back of my neck. My wife, working on her tan, lounges alongside the pool where my 11-year-old niece splashes in the water with my 4-year-old nephew, who wears a child’s life vest. I hear my daughter laughing from somewhere. The strong breeze massages my bare chest. I haven’t shaved in a week.

Sorry to rub it in. It doesn’t get much better than this.

Author's note: When he’s not exploring nooks and crannies of South America, David Kalish writes novels and plays. He is the author of The Opposite of Everything, a romantic comedy and cancer story rolled into one.

Such credentials, sadly, butt up against the warts of an island that hasn’t quite adapted a tourist-friendly persona. Chances are San Andrés won’t end up on your bucket list anytime soon. Hell, it wouldn’t be on my list if my wife weren’t Colombian.
Written December 30, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

GRANDPAcking
Phuket, Thailand1,842 contributions
Jun 2018 • Solo
I was GRANDPAcking in the San Andres & Providencia Islands for 4 weeks.
On first time on San Andres, I stayed in El Centro at the northern beach (Playa Spratt Bight).
I couldn't afford to stay in El Centro so, for my 2nd visit to San Andres, I got myself down to San Luis where accommodation is cheaper.
The beach is not as nice as Spratt Bight and it is not as well kept - but it is still good.
It is also a lot quieter and less crowded.
The down-side of this is that there are very few on-beach bars and cafes. Those that you do have are very 'rustic'.
This is easily fixed by popping over the road to get a beer from the Supermarket.
There are 2 parts to San Luis ... (1) north and (2) south of San Francesco.
The northern beach is better than the southern beach but the southern beach has more beach-front bars o hang around in.
You can get from El Centro to San Luis Beach by public bus.
They leave frequently and they cost C$2,400 each way.
Written June 26, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Yordan H
Miami, FL6 contributions
Jun 2017 • Family
We rented a house in san luis, we went to beach twice and it was very windy. This part of the island is always windy making the beaches there wavey, and the sand sticks to you body because of the force of the wind. Stick with rocky cay which is fairly close, no wind and great for kids.
Written June 8, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Antonia V
Melbourne, Australia89 contributions
Aug 2015 • Couples
We struck gold and stayed in an amazing beach house right on San Luis beach. The lunch places on the beach are where it's at and it's a much nicer area to spend your time. We had a scooter so just drove into the centre at night but we steered clear of the main beach in town where all the high rise hotels etc are. San Luis is heaven and so safe! Go to the The Grog for lunch, we had amazing fish. And check out the Pisinita's along the beach. You pay $4000 pesos pp entry and get to swim/snorkel in a nice little area (tip: buy your own snorkel from a little local shop you'll use it multiple times and saves you paying each time to rent). We visited two, one was quieter and more relaxed, the food took forever so order right away. The other had a water slide into the ocean and a diving board and some other water activities, more fun for kids and a little more interesting but with that comes more crowds and chaos of course.
Written August 4, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Alex P
Londrina, PR30 contributions
Mar 2018 • Couples
We've rented a Mula (a type of small jeep) to travel around the island.
San Luis (and Cocoplum) were one of the best places you went.
Awesome beach, from where you can walk to Rocky Cay (the sea is very shallow there).
We did some snorkeling in our way to Rocky Cay and saw fishes and even a stingray.
Also, there are tents and bars around the place where you can sit, lay down and drink something.
Written March 24, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

wherewhenwhat
Melbourne, Australia5 contributions
Feb 2018 • Couples
Because the beach is about 7kms out of central San Andrés it’s much quieter. When we were there the crowd was mainly adult couples. No kids or big families. Don’t expect much in public amenities here. There are three beach front restaurants/kitchens/bars. Great for swimming and relaxing but beware of potentially dangerous debris lying around when walking and also in the water.
Written February 24, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

orionseed
Miami, FL53 contributions
Mar 2019
Hands down the best beaches of San Andres. They are not just sand but lots of rocky formations found that let you take great pics, and a few feet away from the shore and you can find coral formations and plenty of fish and marine life to observe. If you go to San Andres, visit the San Luis beaches. Amazing.
Las mejores playas de la isla. Muchas formaciones rocosas para tomar fotos espectaculares y a solo unos metros de la costa se puede apreciar una abundancia de vida marina. Totalmente recomendado.
Written October 10, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Guilherme Rui
Rio Das Pedras, SP79 contributions
Mar 2019 • Couples
I liked San Luis as it is the only beach, far from the center where it is crowded, where you can actually swim. It also has rocks, as everywhere in San Andrés, but you can manage to swim there.
Written March 25, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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