Orientation & Geography

Colombia, Archipiélago de San Andrés, Providencia y Santa Catalina

Isla de Providencia or Old Providence is a mountainous Caribbean island. Though it is closer to Nicaragua, it is part of the Archipelago of San Andres, Providencia and Santa Catalina, a department of Colombia, lying midway between Costa Rica and Jamaica. Its maximum elevation is 360m above sea level. The island was the site of an English Puritan colony established in 1629 by the Providence Island Company, and was taken by Spain in 1641. The infamous pirate Henry Morgan used Providencia as a base for raiding the Spanish empire, and rumours suggest that much treasure remains hidden on the island. Providencia has a population of 5000 yet receives about 15,000 visitors per year. The island is also a scuba diving destination, with a barrier reef protecting the Eastern and North / South parts of the island. The barrier is 32 km long. It is a barrier reef akin to much longer ones in Australia, New Caledonia, Meso-American (Including Belize), and Andros Island, Bahamas. A local population of Black Land Crabs is noteworthy for its spectacular breeding migration. The 995-hectare national park Old Providence McBean Lagoon is located on the island's northeast side.