Due to connectivity issues getting to Providencia used to be even harder than to getting to San Andres. Nowadays you can get there pretty easily by using one of the 2 airlines that cover that route daily or the catamaran that sails every other day.
By Plane from San Andres
Two airlines flight to Providencia from San Andres with daily flights usually in the early morning and in the afternoon (3PM). These tickets can be bought in most of the travel agencies located in San Andres or directly at the airline.
Flying with Satena.
Out of the 2 airlines, Satena is the only one that's bookable online, the website is all in Spanish, but if you have booked a flight with any other airline in the world, I'm sure you can figure it out as it follows standard usability practices up until the payment where the credit card's expiration date is backwards.
This information it taken directly from the Satena's intranet, this is subject to change, I recommend you check the schedules directly with the airline first before making any plans.
Providencia - San Andres
In low season Satena offers two frequencies between the islands, in high season they increase these 2 frequencies by one or 2 more without any kind of previous notice. The plane takes 15 minutes to get there.
Flying with Searca.
Searca is a charter company that has been hired by Decameron to transport people staying at the Decameron managed hotels, you can not book this airline online, you can however book it in any of the recognized travel agencies in San Andres.
This information it taken from the Searca intranet, this is subject to change, I recommend you check the schedules directly first before making any plans.
This airline still uses paper tickets, so if you are buying it over the phone/internet from another country or Colombian city, you'll need to arrange a pick up of the actual ticket or ask the travel agency to mail it (not recommended). The horrible thing about paper tickets is that if you lose them, you are screwed, because Searca will not issue you a new one.
The catamaran Sensation leaves every other day (MON, WED, FRI, SUN) from "la casa de la cultura" dock and comes back on the same day. On high season (easter and xmas) and on Carnival week (JUN) they sail daily and sometimes 2 times a day.
Departure time (San Andres-Providencia) is at 7 AM and the return is at 2 PM.
At the time of this writing the round trip ticket costs $240.000 and takes 4 hours from San Andres to Providencia and 3 hours on the way back.
They are not very efficient when it comes to making a booking with them. You can also contact them directly to this emails email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
I recommend you are brief in your email, as I have gathered that briefs emails get the fastest replies. I advice you follow this format:
Subject: New Reservation Paris Hilton x 02
We would like to make a reservation for:
- Paris Hilton, American Passport number 516A273252
- Posh Spice, English Passport number 05REA84681
- San Andres - Providencia: Viernes 13 de JUN
- Providencia San Andres: Miercoles 18 de JUN
We will pay on the day of departure in CASH/CREDIT CARD.
It generally takes them 3 to 4 days to answer emails, but sometimes they just don't seem to answer at all.
About The boat and the trip
The reviews are mixed on this trip, some people have a wonderful time, while some other curse the day they were born; If you are prone on getting sick I advice you take a Mareol pill about 1 hour before getting into the boat, this pill will save your from getting dizzy and probably puking, but it will make you very sleepy.
8 out of 10 people agree that getting from San Andres to Providencia is way harder than the way back!
The same people from the Catamaran have acquired a bigger, faster boat. I have done the trip on both boats and although the newer one is comfier and has better AC, I think the old one doesn't swing as much. I advice you seat down in the middle back, that way you don't feel the jumping up and down of the boat, no matter how much you want to visit Providencia, as a personal experience do not take this trip with a hangover, it will make you rethink if its worth living if you do.
If you are easily disgusted by the thought, sound or smell of puke, be prepared as for sure someone will barf on the trip, crew members will hand out plastic bags to everyone and tissues damped with alcohol in case the smell gets pretty bad. This is what I call the Vomito Effect where people just puke because they are disgusted at the puking scenes around them.
Day Trip to Providencia
The catamaran offers day trip return tickets from San Andres to Providencia this is an extremely pointless trip, as you'll spend at least 4 hours on the boat, 1 hour vomiting and only get a few hours on the island if you are lucky before a 3 hour trip back, you'll hardly see it anything properly.
DO NOT bother with this option, if you want to experience the real Providencia, keep your sanity intact and avoid suicidal thoughts, I highly advise you to stay at least a night while visiting the island.
By cargo boat
Cargo boats don't have a fixed schedule and we don't really know who to contact, but if you are staying in San Andres for a while and have the time to ask around, this might be worth a shot. The people who have done it told me they paid $40.000 COP per route.
From what I've heard is up to the captain of the boat to allow you to go with them, as it is technically illegal to transport people that are not crew members in these types of boats.
Your best bet is to go to the dock (5 minutes away from our hostel) and ask captains directly. Please be aware that to enter the dock for safety reasons you must be wearing pants and fully covered shoes, otherwise they won't let you in and pass the main gate.