Providencia is a Caribbean island, and a part of the San Andres and Providencia Archipelago. It is politically a part of Colombia, but is geographically closer to Nicaragua. It is attached by footbridge to a smaller island, Santa Catalina.
It is a very scenic island, with good beaches, typical caribbean climate, laid back atmosphere and friendly people. While the island depends quite heavily on tourism, it is not 'touristy' - there is only one swimming pool on Providencia. The hotels on the island resemble more "guest lodges" than 5 star hotels, everything is very low key. The restaurants and bars are basic, and Providencia does not have any clubs or discos.
Providencia is heavily protected by Colombian legislation - no non-native of the island is allowed to own property there, or operate a business. Thus, while many developers may want to "build up" Providencia, it seems unlikely that this will happen in the near future. It is quite unique in its status - an affordable caribbean island with low-key/budget tourist infrastructure.
While there are sporadic cargo boats that carry passengers to and from San Andres, most people fly to the island. Satena, the only current air operator, runs 5/6 daily flights to Providencia from San Andres. The flight lasts approximately 25 minutes.
The island has one principle coastal road (which goes around the circumference of the island), and a few other smaller roads. There is no public transport to speak of, although their are (relatively expensive) taxis. Another option for tourists is to rent a motorbike/jeep. Many beaches, cafes and restaurants are walking distance to each other. Santa Catalina does not have any roads, there is only one footpath.
Providencia does not have many 'tourist attractions' per se, rather its appeal lies in the scenery and beaches. Nonetheless, in Santa Catalina there is Morgan's Head (a rock that, when looked at from an angle, looks like a head) and the remains of a fort (now two cannons).
Bahia Aguadulce is the main tourist area of Providencia, there are 5-6 small hotels, a few restaurants and a shop - all of which are walking distance to the beach.
Isabel Village is the main town in Providencia, it has an internet cafe, a cafe and a few miscellaneous shops. There is also a footbridge to Santa Catalina.
Santa Catalina is a smaller island connected to Providencia, and is considerably less developed. It has one shop, a beach and one restaurant/bar.
Bahia Suroeste is a long beach, with two hotels, and a few cafes.
Bahia Manzanillo is a beach with the "Roland Roots Reggae Bar", occasionally featuring beach-parties and live acoustic music.
Hotels and bookings
All but two of the hotels (the Sirius and the Sol Caribe) have their bookings arranged by Decameron, a travel agent. The Decameron website does not deal with Providencia, so it has to be arranged by phone or in person at a Decameron office in Colombia.
The vast majority of the food on offer is sea-food.
Alcoholic drinks are normally limited to beer, rum and aguardiente.
Normally there is live (acoustic) music every night in one of the beach bars on the island - word spreads of which bar it is by way of posters and word of mouth.