Just returned from San Andres Island. We stayed there for a week (Feb 10-17) I thought I would put this together for fellow travelers, hopefully this will be helpful to some:
HOTELS: Stayed at Decameron Aquarium. We liked it there but there is no beach. The rooms are in towers in over the water bungalows. All buildings are linked with boardwalks which was really nice. There is a constant breeze as the buildings are on the water which makes the weather very comfortable, even when it gets very hot. The snorkeling is awesome right at the hotel pier. We visited the Decameron El Isleno, brand new hotel on the best beach on the island. The beach however is public, lots of people but very nice beach. We visited the Decameron San Luis which has a small rocky beach across the road. The beach looked awful, full of rocks and very very small. The hotel looked OK but not a place where I would like to stay. The Decameron Los Delfines is very small and has no beach. We didn’t get to see the Maryland (right next to the airport) nor the Marazul. When you stay at one Decameron, you can eat at all others except the El Isleno. A great advantage that I have never seen elsewhere.
JOHNNY CAY: Well worth the visit. Beautiful pristine aquamarine water, great beach. Very busy & noisy but a must see. At the back of the island, there are several paths where you can explore and find iguanas and blue lizards. You can hire someone right off the beach in front of the pedestrian walkway to take you on a boat ride there and it is cheaper than booking through the hotel. You negotiate the price.
ROCKY CAY: The private beach club for Decameron hotels. Worth the visit, nice beach, you can walk across to a smaller cay. You need to book a day in advance, there is an all inclusive bar & restaurant at your disposition.
ILSE SNORKEL TOURS: an absolute MUST !! We did the snorkel tour with the manta rays & snorkeling to coral reef just off Acuario. Well worth the money. You can book through the hotels but you should book directly with her as the hotels take a big cut. She has been doing this for years and is very reliable. She and her son Vladimir run the tours and can be reached at 316-248-5870 or at email@example.com
CENTRO/DOWNTOWN: We always felt very safe everywhere we went, day or night. There is a big police presence everywhere. The shopping is OK, the alcohol is really cheap.
GOLF CART RENTALS: We had originally planned to rent a golf cart as suggested by so many on the forums. After seeing how they drive, there was no chance we were going to risk our lives…..Also, be aware that if your golf cart breaks down or you get parts stolen (it does happen often we were told) you are responsible and must assume 100% of the replacement costs. Our Transat rep on site told us she didn’t recommend it as she has had many travelers experience this kind of problem. We booked the island tour instead and got to see the island this way.
The island is beautiful, the weather can’t be beat and the ocean absolutely spectacular. We really enjoyed our stay on the island and I would return to San Andres without hesitation.