Santa Catalina Isla
About 100 meters due north of Providencia’s town floats Santa Catalina Isla. To get there one needs to cross El Puente de los Enamorados (Lovebird’s Bridge). Maybe its named so due to the necessity to occasionally lend a helping hand to your significant other since this bridge mostly is a floating bridge. You can hypothetically cross by boat, but it takes the fun out of crossing a floating bridge.
Santa Catalina boasts several sites attributed to the famous Capt. Henry Morgan. In fact, Capt. Morgan rose to fame after participating in the taking of Providencia and Santa Catalina for the English from Spain. You know this story, colonial power A takes from colonial power B, then loses it in a bet to C, only to return to A. Capt. Morgan is the same privateer to be attributed with the creation of the fictitious pirate code featured in ever-so-popular Hollywood films of recent fame… and of course, the namesake of many American college students’ liverkiller rum.
Santa Catalina has no road, only a small settlement on the southern edge that serves those tourists that walk to Morgan’s head, his Cove, and his small fortification that can be reached by walking east. Walking west at the bridge will take you up a steep set of steps and back down to a very pretty rocky beach. A couple of hours to sightsee and possibly eat fried fish (yummy) are needed. Add an hour to refresh yourself in the seawater.
When walking towards the west you will find a small open air restaurant. Good fried fish here… and they even hand out information on the necessity to preserve the coral reefs that surround these small islands. Try the fried sardines that are literally fished out of the water about two minutes after being ordered.
Scuba diving is possible around Santa Catalina, but arrangements need to be made with your hotel or with local fishermen in order to dive the safe spots.
From Santa Catalina one can appreciate the beauty of Providencia. With a panoramic camera function, one can take in the near-Tahitian or Fijian quality of the hills and waterline in Providencia. Quite a sight.