The first time I set foot on Santa Catalina, after crossing the beautiful bridge that connects with Providencia, I was a little taken back. My expectations didn't quite match the reality of life. It almost seemed abandoned. Neglected. Sketchy to say the least. Despite the eeriness I continued along the footpath following the signs pointing to Morgan's Head. In the shallow waters beside me I saw sea cucumbers, starfish, crabs and baracudas. I climbed up past the steps at Fort Warwick and was welcomed by an incredible view of the bay. Heading back down on the other side was a quiet, sandy beach. Continuing even further, strange markers along the pathway entertained me as I kept on searching for Morgan. At the end of the path a treasure awaited me. Rocky cliffs overlooking a colourful inlet lined with palm trees... and even better, not a soul in site!
At first glance, Santa Catalina might not seem all that appealing. Part of me wonders if the residents keep it that way on purpose. Perhaps trying to protect the treasures they know surround them. Only a small piece seems accessible to the public and yet its lush, almost untouched forest beckons you to discover so much more.
Top things to do on the island
Lunch at Sea Star Gourmet
Sit on the bamboo patio and enjoy an unspoiled view of Providencia's harbor. The food is delicious and the corn ice-cream is a must!
As you head along the walkway to Fort Warwick you will notice that the shallow waters next to you allow you to see all kinds of interesting things without even getting your feet wet. Don't neglect to keep your eyes open! The same thing applies when walking along the bridge. I have seen spotted eagle rays, starfish, baracudas, pipefish, birds and even a shark from this bridge.
Visit the canon at the end of the walkway
If you take a right after the bridge, a short walk will take you to the canon at the end of the walkway. There's not much of a view from here as it has mostly been covered by mangroves, but you do get to see the canon and get a feel for life on this small island.
There's really not much to see here as far as ruins go. What's left of the fort is mostly just a wall. The view is great though.
Snorkeling along the beach
As you head down the stairs on the other side of the fort you will come across a beach. Make sure you stop and snorkel along the rocky edge. I saw some incredible fish, an octopus and other very interesting sea life. Surprisingly one of the best spots for snorkeling on the island.
On the other end of the beach you will find that the trail continues on to Morgan's head. It's relatively short, but a nice walk that gives you a chance to experience nature away from the beach. Along the trail you will find some cheesy markers that keep you excited and help you to feel more like the pirates did back in the days of Morgan.
Snorkeling at Morgan's Head
When you reach Morgan's Head (a big rock that you can't miss), find your way down the sharp rocks and spend some time snorkeling in the blue waters. There are some interesting corals, anenomes and large fish to be seen.