“Yes, it’s my first time in Providencia.”
“Providence. Providencia is the Spanish name and Providence is the English name. You don’t have to speak Spanish anymore mi dear.”
This tickled me exceedingly. For the first time since I started travelling I spoke my mother tongue with the locals and my fellow tourists didn’t understand.
It tickled the locals too to have a Jamaican in their midst. “So yuh chat like wi!” Yes, yes I do talk like you.
I was in paradise for 5 days. This slice of the Caribbean is difficult to get to, and when you do get there it feels more like Jamaica than Colombia.
Die-hard scuba diving fans come to Providencia as well as Colombians looking for peace and quiet. There is very little internet on the island so this is the place for a digital detox.
And what a detox it is. Scuba diving in one of the world’s top diving sites, eating fresh fish on the beach and just enjoying the time away from everything. This is paradise.
My time on Providencia was spent learning to scuba dive and chilling out at the beach. Every day. I had found a restaurant that was in my budget, locals with good conversations and a hammock for a daily nap.
Then I made friends. A Moroccan living in Belgium, a Bulgarian living in Germany, a South Korean living in Guatemala followed the advice of a Jamaican living in London and they came to my beach, slept in the hammocks and ate at my recommended restaurant. We were all satisfied.
The locals insisted that we came out to their reggae bar so we made the trip down that night. The party hadn’t started yet so we head down to the beach to take photos of the moon.
We found a rope swing and we took turns swinging on it. We danced on the beach laughing at ourselves. We laughed taking pictures in the darkness. We laughed. Someone stopped and pointed to the sky so we stopped and admired the stars in silence. Melancholy came over us. We all didn’t want this to end.
We had found heaven. This was paradise.
We should stay in paradise forever. We have nothing to lose because we are young.
We can’t afford to stay in paradise forever. We are broke.
So we are young, broke but in paradise. The laughter restarted at this realisation. We laughed on the moto-taxi back to our hotel. We laughed as the cool Caribbean air rushed against our skin and we laughed as we tumbled into bed.
My scuba diving graduation/last day celebration was a day trip around the island and to Crab Key. There was more laughter as we sailed the sea of 7 colours. Emotions were high and it was decided that are reunion was needed.
Of all the places that I have been to, no where impacted me like Providencia. The stories my Grandmother told me about old Jamaica seemed like Providencia today. Imagery of the old Caribbean came to mind – where everyone knows each other and you can leave your front door open.
I’m glad that main stream tourism hasn’t made it to Providencia. It means the island is still pure and lush. I hope it continues to be that way. I know I will be back. Maybe this time, I won’t be so broke.
How to get to Providencia:
Where to stay:
Blue Almond Hostel is currently the only hostel on the island. There are plenty of posada’s though.
What to do:
Get a massage on whilst watching the horse race on Sunday’s at West Bay, eat at Divino Niño, scuba dive with Sonny Dive Shop and check out the wreck and the night dive. Go kayaking and snorkelling in PNN Old Providence McBean Lagoon. Most importantly, eat lion fish.