Trip to Acuario, Haynes Cay and Johnny Cay Islands
The next day we decided to go visit the other islands. One can book a day trip to the surrounding islands in San Andres, also from the hostel. This may be a little more expensive when comparing to on-site tickets, but help you skip the long queues.
We decided to book the Acuario + Johnny Cay tour – 15,000COP for the boat rides, plus 5,000COP for entering Johnny Cay (protected area).
It is, in fact, absolutely stunning: the colours, the nature, swimming with fish out in the wild! You get to swim with sharks, stingrays, as well as many other fish. These sharks won’t bite you, so don’t worry 🙂 they are tiny and sweet little creatures.
But there’s a major downside to this: it’s sad to see that the local people do not care for their own heritage, from an environmental perspective. This was actually the first time I see a place where they have the most beautiful corals, and then they actually give you shoes to step on them, rather then advise you to carefully walk around them. They feed white bread to small fish, and will sell you some so fish can come closer to you “for the photos”. And are happy to clutter the islands with as many people as they can, as this means money money money!
The boat rides feel dangerous, as you notice boats are run down, there are more people on the boats than the designated seats, not enough lifesaving vests, and you feel they overconfidently drive the boats. It’s a price to pay if you want to visit paradise.
Boats don’t feel safe (at all!), the islands are overcrowded, and everything is overpriced. It’s a shame and I hope the government soon puts a stop on this, or in 2 or 3 years time, you’ll have no San Andres islands to enjoy anymore…
My best hope is that these things are only happening because this is the tourism boom in the islands. Probably within the next year or so, things will get more organized too 🙂