San Andres Anchorage
28 January 2013 | Isla San Andres, Colombia
Susan /mostly sunny, few light showers, 86 degrees F
Isla San Andres (san ahn-DRAYZ) is to Colombia as Waikiki is to the States; a warm, sunny vacation mecca. One end of San Andres is filled with hotels, restaurants, name brand shops for clothing and swim wear, and shops carrying electronics, perfume, liquor, cosmetics, house goods, etc. ala Free Trade Zone. A nicely maintained walking path separates commerce from a long white sand beach packed with people enjoying the sun and warm water. Party barges and large lanchas ferry people to the very popular Cayo Rosa and Cayo Cordoba on the outer reef for more snorkeling and beach time. Car (really electric golf carts), moto and jet skis rental is very popular. As is diving; there are more than two dozen principal diving sites in the reef that surround San Andres. And as if Colombians need yet another reason to fly here, we're told its hospitals are famous for a particular kind of cosmetic surgery.
With this focus on tourist money, cruisers are largely ignored. The anchorage is between the commercial pier and the tourist area, close enough for a good walk, far enough for the music to drop to an acceptable level for sleeping. The anchorage is filled with anchored working boats, no longer working but still floating, and a few boats left where they ran aground. Perhaps to point out the shallow spots. The surrounding shore is lined with party barges / water taxis and lanchas of various sizes, and short docks filled with small fishing boats. Boats compete with jet skis on speed criss-crossing the anchorage. The most popular cruising guide says Nene's marina has a dingy dock. Wellll, the small, crowded marina, water side of a busy gas station, does have short dock section parallel to land that can be used to land and tie-up a dingy but it's a long high step from dingy to it, and there's space for only a couple of dingys at a time. A signs says we're suppose to pay but we've not seen the office open nor anyone acting in charge or interested. It's not a great spot so we've been scouting out other options. One day we left the dingy at a busy lancha spot where they watched her for a couple of hours while we walked into the tourist area. The good news is bottom is sand and seagrass, great holding, and the water is very clear.
In our walks we located two grocery stores, a mini-Rey, and one without a sign that carries fresh produce. The Mini-Rey has a well stocked deli counter. Both are outside the main tourist area toward the anchorage. While here we plan to check out dive options and perhaps a kite board lesson for Jerry, rent a "car" or moto to see the rest of the island, hopefully watch a Saturday beach horse race, finish some critical projects, get diesel (jerry jug from Nene's), and depending on weather we may stay for Carnival, which is reportedly a big party.