Panama invites you to know the most beautiful islands in the country
The Central American destination is known for the Panama Canal, but the tropical nation is home to more than 1,600 islands and some of the most underrated beaches in the world
Whether it's taking a day trip from Panama City, or turning a vacation into a beach-to-beach adventure, the following islands offer experiences not to be missed in Panama:
Isla de Taboga
Also known as Isla de las Flores, Isla de Taboga is a small Pacific island located 30 minutes (via ferry) from Panama City in Panama Bay, which makes it the perfect destination for a quick island getaway. The island, very close to the capital, has a rich tropical plant life, beautiful beaches and impressive excursions to the highest points of the island. The island is part of the Taboga-Urba Wildlife Refuge and Wildlife Refuge - a very interesting destination for bird watchers. From sunbathing on the beaches of Restinga or Honda, to taking a historical tour of the island or hanging out at one of the many nearby boutique hotels and restaurants, on the island of Taboga there really is something for everyone.
A quick 20 minute plane ride (or hour and a half ferry) from Panama City will take you to the stunning Pearl Islands. Located in the Pacific Ocean, the Pearl Islands have more than 200 islands, most of them small and uninhabited, to explore. From whale watching and snorkeling to rowing, windsurfing and sailing, the Pearl Islands are the perfect getaway for sun worshipers, whatever the time of year. It is also an extraordinary destination for diving, with more than 50,000 fish living in the surrounding waters. Among the most popular are San José, Pacheca, Bartolomé and Contadora Island, which is the fifth largest in the archipelago. Known for its calm and transparent waters and its beautiful white sand beaches, travelers can choose from a wide range of hotels,
Bocas del Toro Archipelago
A 45-minute flight from Panama City is the northwestern Caribbean archipelago of Bocas del Toro, where you can explore the three main islands of the province: Isla Bastimentos (one of the largest in Panama), Isla Colón and the small Isla Carenero. Playa de la Rana Roja, located in the Isla Bastimentos National Park, is a popular destination for the lush tropical jungle that surrounds its white sand beach, something rare among Caribbean beaches. Travelers who stroll through Playa Bluff, on Isla Colón, between July and October, will be able to witness the four species of sea turtles (protected by ANABOCA, a local non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation of sea turtles) that arrive to nest in the zone. On the main island of Bocas del Toro, Isla Colón,
Gulf of Chiriquí
If you want to go the less traveled route, the Gulf of Chiriquí has attractive beaches and dozens of remote islands to explore along the Panamanian Pacific coast. It can be reached by plane (via David, Panama) with an extra hour of road trip or six hours by road from Panama City, and the region is well worth the travel time. The area is home to the Gulf of Chiriquí National Marine Park, which is abundant in vegetation and has charming white sand islands, mangroves and wildlife, making it one of the best places in Panama for bird watching. The islands are not only rich in biodiversity, but are also reputed to be one of the most prolific sport fishing areas in the world, especially on Hannibal Bank and Montuosa Island. Visitors have the opportunity to engage in fun world-class recreational activities such as snorkeling and scuba diving in the clear waters of this island destination. If you are looking for an adventure-filled vacation or a quiet and luxurious stay, the Gulf of Chiriquí is the perfect option for all travelers.
In the Gulf of Chiriquí there is also the largest island in Central America, the island of Coiba. Coiba is home to one of the largest coral reefs in the Pacific and, along with the 38 smaller islands located in the Gulf, is protected under its UNESCO World Heritage Site designation. (a permit is required to visit this island). Whether it's whale watching, hiking, snorkeling, diving, or relaxing, Coiba Island is a perfect getaway for the adventurous traveler. Those who visit between December and April will be able to see some of the largest fish in the world, while others will be able to experience its biological diversity with 147 species of birds, monkeys, crocodiles and iguanas. To access the island, visitors can take a quick one hour and fifteen minute boat trip from Santa Catalina.