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Panama's Islands

San Blas Islands
Islands in PanamaThe San Blas Archipelago is composed of approximately 100 nameless islets, 113 with names and of them nearly 30 islands are entirely made of corals. You could spend almost an entire year traveling through the insular area of each one. There are no roads into the region, but small planes fly to more than a dozen landing strips daily. EnjoyPanama can arrange overnight stays which we recommend. Off the northeast coast of Panama, palm-lined beaches, coral-ringed islands and jungle-cloaked mountains make San Blas look a lot like paradise, but the main reason for going there is to spend time with the Kuna Indians, who have managed to protect their unique culture. They live in thatched huts on about 40 of the 350 islands of the archipelago and rule their own autonomous province.

Suggested Hotels:
Yandup Lodge
Coral Lodge

Contadora Island
Contadora Island is the fifth largest of the Pearl Islands and is located in the Pacific Ocean about 50 miles from Panama City. This island features fine hotels, restaurants, a dive shop, a 9-hole golf course and even a duty-free store. You may enjoy any of Contadora's 13 beautiful beaches which encircle the island, or take excursions to nearby islands, most of which are uninhabited, and find your own private beach for sunbathing and picnicking. Just across the way is Pacheca Island, roosting spot for magnificent frigate birds and an excellent spot for bird watching.

Suggested Hotels:
Punta Galeon Resort
Perla Real Inn

Solarte Island
Solarte IslandOne of the smaller islands of the Bocas del Toro Archipelago, Isla Solarte is located between the Columbus and Bastimentos islands. The most visited part of it is Hospital Point, its western tip, which lies just across the deep channel to the east of Isla Carenero. The ocean around that point is one of the archipelago's most accessible dive sites, appropriate for both scuba and skin diving. It is named for a former hospital that was built to quarantine yellow fever patients during Bocas del Toro's banana heyday. There are a few homes behind that point, but most of the rest of the island is covered with rain forest.

Suggested Hotels:
Solarte Inn

Boca Brava Island
Situated in the Gulf of Chiriqui, which is home to the Parque Nacional Marino Golfo de Chiriqui, a national marine park with an area of 14,740 hectares protecting 25 islands, 19 coral reefs and abundant wildlife. Isla Boca Brava is a small island yet there is something for everybody whether it be simply relaxing on a palm-fringed, deserted beach or participating in an activity such as snorkelling, scuba diving, horse-riding or surfing. Nearby uninhabited islands such as Linarte, Saino and Las Ventanas offer idyllic, clear waters.

Suggested Hotels:
Cala Mia

Colon Island
Colon Island is the northern-most and main island in an archipelago located in Bocas del Toro Province, Panama. The capitol city of this province, Bocas del Toro, is located on the island and is one of Panama's main tourist attractions. The city's airport is the centre of flights heading outside of the country and is a hub for Air Panama, the national carrier. It is also one of the few Panamanian cities in having a port. Beachfront hotels, restaurants, night clubs, Discothèques and residential districts are prominent in Isla Colon. Isla Colon has a strong boating community. Access to all the other nearby islands, requires either private boat, or the rental of a Water taxi.

Suggested Hotels:
Playa Tortuga

El Porvenir Island - Seat of the Region
Three regular weekly flights arrive on this Island. It is the strategic point to obtain more detailed information in connection with the Kuna culture and the services offered by other islands. At El Porvenir you'll find beaches and it is the administrative center for the governmental offices, the Seat of the Region's Intendency. From here you may move to nearby islands. Even reaching Obaldia's Port, Panama's lost boundary with the Republic of Colombia.

Nargana Island
Paradise in PanamaOn Nargana Island is the Nargana Lodge Hotel. The island connects with another town through a wooden bridge, politically divided, known as Jesus' Heart (Corazon de Jesus), that is to say, it is an island that has two towns. These are two communities quite accustomed to other cultures; bilingual, men as well as women wear western clothes. Both towns are managed by the Sahilas. Presently these communities do not practice their rites, nor play their traditional instruments. They do not have much native things, however, its general aspect is quite pleasant because of its straight, clean and sandy streets. Traveling 15 minutes by canoe, you may visit Tigre Island, a very traditional island; women still wear Molas and they practice their traditional rites. The best typical dancing groups, well organized, are at Tigre Island. The inhabitants still make their handicrafts, to offer them to the tourists staying at the Nargana Hotel.

Wichubwala Islands
The entire Archipelago favors tourist attention, but' the best services are found on this beautiful island. Here is the Anal Lodge; San Blas' best hotel. It has bungalow-type lodging, a marine pool with lobsters, it offers fishing trips or adventures to inhabited or uninhabited islands, diving or submarine fishing equipment are rented except for the oxygen tanks. It is worth mentioning that in the entire region there is no place to rent or fill up your oxygen tank.

Nalunega Island
Its name means 'Snapper Island', it is very attractive and its houses are traditional. This community takes advantage of the services of Porvenir Island.

Ailigandi Island
Offers the services of the 'La Palmeco' Hotel; This community has a modern hospital, basketball courts, modest restaurants, shops, churches, airports on solid ground, post office, radio communication, plumbing, electricity, and a local Congress House. The hotel is a concrete, one story building, with a restaurant and a bar; it is property of the town cooperative society.

Bastimentos Island
The Isla Bastimentos is located a 10-minute boat ride away from the town of Bocas del Toro. The small town of Bastimentos, the center of activity in the island, has typical caribbean architecture and no roads! It can only be reached by boat. Isla Bastimentos has several interesting features, such as Isla Bastimentos National Marine Park, beautiful and nearly deserted white sandy beaches, and on the southeastern edge of the island, Salt Creek, a settlement of Ngobe-Bugle indians (formerly known as guaymi).
Although there are hundreds of islands near the Panamanian coasts and in the two major archipelagos of San Blas and Bocas del Toro in the Caribbean Sea, some of the best snorkeling, SCUBA diving and deep-sea fishing are to be found in the Pacific's protected waters beside Panama's Coiba Island. Blessed with breathtaking rugged beauty, the hundreds of miles of the Pacific's Coast will offer the intrepid traveler a bounty of discoveries and exploration pleasures.


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