An 18km road skirts the island, and virtually the entire population of 6000 lives along it, in scattered houses or in one of the several hamlets. Santa Isabel, a village at the northern tip of the island, is the administrative seat. Santa Catalina, a smaller island just to the northwest, is separated from Providencia by the shallow Canal Aury, spanned by a pedestrian bridge.
Providencia is much less affected by tourism than San Andres. English is widely spoken, and there's still much Caribbean English-style architecture to be seen. The locals are even friendlier than those on San Andres, and the duty-free business fever is unknown. However, the island is becoming a fashionable spot for Colombian tourists. Aguadulce, on the west coast, has already been converted into a tourist village, with hotels and restaurants, boat and motorcycle rental, and a scuba diving school. So far, the rest of the island is largely unspoiled, though the situation is changing.
The coral reefs around Providencia are extensive, and snorkeling and scuba diving are excellent. The interior of the island provides for pleasant walks, with El Pico being the major goal. The trail to the peak begins from Casabaja, on the south side of the island. It's a steady hour's walk to the top.
Getting around the island is pretty straightforward -just wave down any of the pickups that run the circular road (US$0.50 for any distance). Providencia is an expensive island for food and accommodations, more so than San Andres.
Places to Stay
Sol Caribe - Sector Agua Dulce
Sirius Hotel Providencia - South West Bay
Providencia Island 57000
Residencias Sofia Hotel
Residencias Miss Elma
Cabanas Miss Elma
Cabanas El Encanto
Posada del Mar Hotel
Cabanas Agua Dulce
Cabanas Relar Hotel