Being part of GreenSpot.travel means not only am I trying to find out which are the best hotels that we could potentially send our clients to, but also which ones (if any) have sustainability initiatives, are contributing somehow to the preservation of the islandâ€™s natural heritage and are benefiting the local people. I have to say that there are a few hotels right on the beach, and literally only several feet back, that are not integrated into the natural landscape at all. There are however some charming smaller guesthouses and posadas which are part of a program which helps Colombian natives rent out rooms in their homes, offering a private space but a warm and welcoming family atmosphere. There are of course a handful of all-inclusive hotels owned by mainly one chain.Â So the main thing is to find lodging that would accommodate our clients in a unique and green way.
Speaking of green initiatives, our restaurant last night, La Regatta, was out on a pier and while they served the best fish Iâ€™ve had maybe ever, what struck me on the way in was the way they reused their bottles on the grounds to create gardens and decorations, some seriously creative recycling!
Onto the subject of diving, I have to say the undersea world is something all humans should be able to experience!Â If the opportunity comes up, take it, because it is unreal. At times I felt I was watching what was in front of me on TV because it was so incredible to see so many fish swimming about right before my eyes.Â The coral here is known to be quite healthy in comparison to other parts of the world. I did not see any brightly coloured coral yet, but the fish were amazing. And sting-rays! They are so beautiful. Several times we watched a large sting-ray, even an elusive Eagle ray, which had been resting on the soft sand floor, rise up and float away looking like it was flapping its wings. Such a breathtaking sight, we got to our knees in the sand and just watched. One of our group members, Willian Bueno from Brazil took a video that I will have to post.
I decided while Iâ€™m here to do my beginners certification because the more I learn about the sea, the more I want to see.Â Today I began by watching a video at Blue Life Dive Center, and then my instructor, Fabian, and I went to the pool to practice and get used to the equipment. Now I have a text book that I have to study to take some tests tomorrow before I do a second open water dive like I did today, as well as another pool session to practice more technical skills.
In the afternoon we took a tour of the island to see some sights, including Henry Morganâ€™s cave where the infamous pirate hid treasure centuries ago. It is now a tourist attraction with some good points and some bad. It has a pirate museum which is interesting because of the artifacts such as old kitchenware and utensils, 400 years old, that have been discovered around the islands.Â It also has locals dressed in pirate attire, giving spiels about the history and a replica of Morganâ€™s ship with dance of the pirate times. These aspects are not very authentic experiences, but the cave in addition to the small museum is interesting because it is made completely of coral, showing that the entire island was once under water.
Touring local areas on islands is always the most fascinating part for me, seeing where the people live, often times how poor a place really is especially in comparison to sprawling resorts. Iâ€™d much rather spend some time with some natives of a place in their homes or their hangouts but itâ€™s something thatâ€™s not always possible. Thatâ€™s why I love the posadas concept, because while it is a regulated system to ensure standards, it gives the local people the opportunity to really benefit from tourism, and provides a really enriching and authentic experience for the visitors. I only wish I get to stay in one but as we are a group it was not arranged for us.
I hear that Providencia, where we are heading to next, is spectacular compared to San Andres so maybe the excitement is just beginning!