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Island Living in Panama

Posted: 20th May 2015 12:14

Mainland Panama has enchanting colonial era cities, pristine rainforest and a rich mixture of cultures from around the Americas, but leave the shore and you will find yourself in your very own tropical island paradise.  Deserted beaches, untamed forest and unparalleled relaxation await, so take to the waters and immerse yourself in island living.

Bocas Del Toro

The Bocas Del Toro (Mouth of the Bull) Archipelago captures distinctly laid back Caribbean vibes and an old world feel to match.  The charming tumbledown buildings of Bocas Town on Isla Colón spread right up to the turquoise waterfront where water taxies come and go, taking travellers to and from the countless smaller islands that lie scattered in the waters off the north coast of Panama.  From here you can spend your days exploring the sea turtle nesting grounds of nearby Isla Bastimentos or the dive spots of Isla Solarte, and your nights indulging in the party atmosphere of Bocas Town’s fantastic restaurants and bars.

Pearl Island’s Contadora Island

The Pearl Islands are a unique mixture of exclusive private island retreats adorned with mansions and yachts, and deserted tropical paradises where parts of the television show Survivor were filmed.  The most popular tourist centre is Contadora Island, the only island that has hotels, restaurants and sightseeing tours, including whale watching trips.  This island was where the conquistadores would count the pearls harvested from the other islands, and has its own airport – a good job as the islands lie about 30 miles from mainland Panama.

Coiba National Park

The Gulf of Chiriquí is home to the Coiba National Park, a collection of 38 islands in a protected area that offers some of the best diving the Americas have to offer.  The largest island, Isla Coiba, was once a penal colony that was feared for its brutal conditions.  The abandoned prison can still be explored today, but a bigger attraction is the untouched natural environment on the island, home to rare indigenous wildlife.  As well as diving and nature watching the island chain is also famous for its watersports including surfing, so pack your board shorts!