“La Isla de las Flores” or the Island of Flowers is how I knew Taboga Island when I was growing up, but now that I have seen Taboga from the jet setter’s point of view I understand why Taboga Island is part of the Pearl Islands.
The Pearl Islands
The Pearl Islands is a group of about 200 islands lying about 20 miles off the Pacific coast of Panama.
Contadora is the most prominent island of the archipelago, but that’s for another story.
Taboga Island, on the other hand, is the closest of the Pearl Islands to Panama city, about 20 km and therefore gets the most tourism from Panama City.
Its name comes from the indigenous word aboga which means much fish, and it was discovered by the same Spaniard that discovered the Pacific Ocean from the coast of Panama in 1513.
At low tide, the northern end of the island is joined by a sand bar to the small island of El Morro, and the southeastern end is 270 meters (886 feet) from the neighboring Urabá island. The island has a tropical rain forest climate, with average daytime temperatures of 83 °F (28 °C). It is famous for its beautiful beaches, clear waters, soft sands, and wildlife refuge.
Tourism is the major economic activity on the island, although fishing and agriculture are also practiced. The island has become a popular touristic attraction due to its beautiful natural areas and its proximity to Panama City.
Daily ferries link the city to the island, most of them departing from the Amador Causeway, or you can come to the island as we did, with a charter fishing tour from Panama City.
Aside from beaches, the island has trails for hiking to its highest points, including Cerro Vigía and Cerro de la Cruz. The latter is a hill located south of the town, topped with a huge cross.
What to do in Taboga Island
There are many activities available in the Taboga island, such as Boat tours for fishing, whale watching, snorkeling, mountain tours, and sightseeing are available, as well as walking and nature tours.
Taboga Island has small hotels and restaurants just 2 minutes from the pier, like the one we had lunch during our trip.
Not only the food was amazing, but I hear that if you get there from a fishing charter you could get them to cook your catch, which will probably look something like this:
I tell you, if you have never tried a whole fish fried, it’s the most tender and delicious fish you will ever try… so don’t let the eyes of the fish intimidate you. You don’t have to eat the head.
A hidden part of the Island
So, because we were kind of like jet setting around in our charter boat, we were able to see a part of the island I’ve never seen before.
It’s really not that far, but not accessible by foot. At least I don’t think so.
The cove is located around the other side of the island, totally opposite to the beach and the pier, there is this waterfall and wonderful cove that really stole my heart.
From the color of the water, and the temperature (it was perfect), the view of the waterfall; this was the highlight of my day.
We jumped off from the boat and did summersaults, swim and floated in this cove for a while.
I really didn’t want to leave. But we had to because we hit this place before lunch and at some point, we all got hungry and ready to eat and actually go into the island.
Maybe next time I make sure we spend more time in this part of the island.
The mandatory Taboga Island Picture
Of course, when you get off the ferry or your private boat onto the pier, as you are walking into the town, you need to take a picture on this fabulous sign of Taboga Island.
I love the colors and the scenery of the sign.
There was a little line, but it was worth it. Don’t you think?
I was happy to find out my bathing suit matched the sign.
As a matter of fact, the Department of Tourism in Panama has made these signs for almost every town around Panama and so it’s a great way to document your visit to my amazing country. So make sure you stop and take your picture.
You can see some similar signs in some other of my posts from Panama. So make sure to check them out to map out your Panamanian adventure!
The beach at Taboga Island
The beach at Taboga Island, right there by the pier, by the restaurants is so welcoming and great. Almost as perfect as a Hawaiian Island, and if you have been reading my blog you know I’m biased towards Hawaii, so that means a lot.
The sand is “naturally soft” which it’s a one up from Hawaii, and the water is blue and warm.
We were able to take some nice pictures with the new hat I got as a gift from my cousin Ilka.
This is another place you need to visit when you come to Panama. Taboga Island is a paradise waiting for you. You can spend a day or a few days. It’s great for a relaxation retreat actually, because there isn’t a lot happening on the island, but maybe at this point in my life, that’s what sounds exciting.
The ferry departs daily from Panama city at very affordable prices allowing you spend the entire day in the island, or you can go in style and charter a boat to take you around the Pearl Islands as we did.
Either way, make sure to include Taboga in your plans when you come to Panama. You won’t regret it.
I can’t wait to hear about your trip to Taboga Island, and your experience there.
Remember to keep traveling because life is your getaway!