Keeping with our goal to not rent any vehicles, and having walked the entire east side of Providencia, Brian and I used our kayaks for a day of sightseeing. This was the fantastic idea of our friend, Rich (s/v Kelly Rae
), who also has a kayak and invited us to paddle with him down the west side of the island. We were bound for Southwest Beach; a popular spot for tourists and locals alike.
We had plenty to see along the coastline; swaying coconut palms, island homes, towering cliff-scapes, sandy beaches. After many a conversation and intermittent paddling, we'd reached our destination. My GPS watch informed us we'd gone approximately 4 miles. We beached the kayaks and strolled along Southwest Beach.
Southwest beach is a hot-spot on Providencia for several reasons. Firstly, there are horse races held along the beach on Saturdays; although we spotted hoof prints in the sand, we saw no horses which indicated to us that it was not a Saturday. We hope to catch one of the races, which had been interrupted due to Holy Week and the Easter holiday. We did also spot moto tracks and kept a lookout for passing mopeds and dirt bikes.
There were several small bars and gift shops along the beach. Activity was low as it was still early in the day, but some tourists were enjoying the sunshine and the water. There were resorts; not twenty-story monstrosities, but small cottage-like buildings with some umbrellaed lounge chairs. There were two dive shops along the way; we'd seen several dive boats cruising the coastline as we kayaked.
Rich had the inside scoop on another of Southwest Beach's treasures; the purple mangroves. He led us behind one of the bars, as soon as we'd rounded the building we spotted purple water. This was amazing! But was it real!? The owner of the bar explained to us that indeed, this was a natural phenomenon. He said that the color comes from the roots of the Red Mangroves; the color seeps from the roots throughout the year, but during the dry season since the water is stagnant the color becomes more concentrated.
Our grand finale at Southwest Beach was a superb, seafood lunch. There is a restaurant on the beach, several actually, but one in particular that is known for the Plato Mixto (dos personas). Brian and I couldn't resist this seafood platter; it overflowed with one larger fish, half an entire lobster, conch, crab meat, rice, and a bowl of soup. Everything we ate was delicious, and we ate everything! Rich enjoyed a crock of delectable seafood chowder; packed with lobster and we're sure plenty of cream and butter!
With full bellies, we paddled back toward the anchorage. There was just one other stop; a Catholic Church with a very artistic playground and park. The statues were made from concrete and had beautiful tile mosaic.
Beware of the pirates! The looked friendly...
...but they have a tendency to lead you astray!