|Hotel Bahia Sardina on San Andres Island is another choice in addition to the Decameron Hotels on SAI. it is probably only a 2.5 star Hotel but it is very clean and adequate for budget travel. Like a Quality Inn here in the states. We spent 10 nights at this hotel in March of 2004. Previously we had stayed at the Decameron San Luis and another called the Portobelo. (Portobelo for backpacker types only I would say!) The Bahia Sardina is located on the main beach in town. It is a very well kept hotel and we paid like $30 a night in Colombian pesos for the 3 of us including two meals a day. The meals were not buffet but were adequate although we got kind of bored with the cuisine after a week or so. They have a small pool off to the side in you get tired of the beach and sea right in front. This hotel mostly caters to Colombians but is a viable option for those seeking lodging in some place other than the Decameron chain hotels. Each room also has electronic safe deposit boxes. We have visited San Andres 3 times in 2002, 2003 and 2004. We have visited Hawaii, (Maui and Honolulu Island), Punta Cana Dominican Republic, Aruba, Cancun and Maya Riviera, St. Croix USVI, Tela and Roatan Island Honduras, Costa Rica, Caribbean and Pacific Coasts of Costa Rica and Cartagena, Colombia. I prefer San Andres Island more than any of these other places although each one above has its pluses and minuses. San Andres has beautiful waters. As good as any I mention above. The actual beaches on San Andes are not as good as Aruba’s but the 150 meters of beach at Johhny Cay are as good as you will find anywhere i think! How much beach do you need?. The main beach in town is good but not like Aruba’s seven mile. Snorkeling is good on SAI especially on the back coral side of the island. Snorkeling is better on Aruba since there are more fish but San Andres is good too. San Andres has culture being part of Colombia. The main town on San Andres island is a good place to explore and you can find anything you need. Hop on a local bus or flag a taxi and you can be away from the city in just a few minutes. The island is not too big that you have to travel long distances to get anywhere. The island is economical. Yes, Cancun or Aruba has finer 5 star resorts but what I find to be a turn off about Cancun is the touristy attitude of the place. College kids who want to get drunk and such and cancun to me just really isn’t Mexico unless you go DEEP into the Cancun city where no TOURISTS are even found!
If you want a 5 star resort where you stay at the resort and never want to see how the people live then I would recommend Punta Cana or Cancun Hotel strip but if you want a little slice of everything I would highly recommend San Andres Island. I could return to Aruba or Punta Cana for a second trip but San Andres Island will probably always win out for reasons I mention above.