Isla Saboga, a Quiet Time

Gliding in with the waves, wading ashore at the pristine beach with my small sling pack carrying all I would need for the day’s lazy adventure. The grass roof of the dining hut signals a respite from the sun when we’re ready to wander that direction. The hammock sure looks inviting hanging near the bar, too!

Okay, back to reality.

Panama 038Waiting for the ferry, Panama City

Oh, wait… this is real!

Even after the 75-minute ride on the comfy water taxi it’s only 9:30 and I’m ready to kick back and enjoy the beauty and serenity that I can feel as well as see.

Panama 042  The Beach Club – Isla Saboga

Panama 045 The Beach at Isla Saboga


After 4 days of exploring Panama City and the surrounding area with a purpose, we were ready to experience the island the way it was meant to be enjoyed. While some of the more populous islands like Contadora and Isla San Jose are geared to  busy vacationers and have ample development to satisfy city dwellers, some of the Islas de Las Perlas, like Isla Saboga, are pretty well left untouched. They may not be virgin territory, but they are left fairly rustic, with little commercialization to spoil the ambiance nature provides.

Coming on a week day was a good decision. Many city dwellers come off shore on their weekends to get away from the hustle and bustle of Panama City. We went midweek and enjoyed relative solitude on this quaint but beautiful beach. We had our choice of lounges, whether by the bar and dining hut, or elsewhere on the beach for more privacy.

When we arrived, I would have described the beach as large and fairly flat; when the tide changed it became more obvious why the bar hut was near the tree line. Eighty to a hundred feet of beach shrunk to about twenty feet of beach front due to the large tide surge in this part of the world.

The balance of the morning was spent in well earned relaxation. We chose not to use some of the amenities included in the cost of this little excursion: kayaks and snorkel gear to be specific. We did manage to hike around a good part of the island between sunning and napping. The few residences and buildings we found nearby were fairly new and well maintained.

Panama 052

One of the largest was a bed and breakfast near the beach hut. It had its own access to another small beach unseen from the beach club. Nifty place for someone wanting their privacy.

We spoke with the owner of El Remanso, the B&B, and they plan user stays around the ferry schedule. When the ferry leaves at around 4:00 pm each day, it doesn’t make sense to have someone check out at noon. Accordingly, early check-ins are not happening on the same day of a departure either.

Panama 049

After our tour of the surrounding area, we returned to the beach club for lunch. It is included in the cost of the excursion from Panama City, along with beer or wine or soft drinks. That’s my kind of deal! And the view was hard to beat.

Panama 058 Ah, the lunch setting

The grilled chicken and fresh vegetables provided for lunch were pretty darned good. And we also had our good luck charm/companion adjacent to the dining area: the reconstructed bones of a baby whale to oversee our fortunes. The locals consider it good luck for his bones to watch out over the ocean. We’ll go with the locals on this one. We sometimes need all the luck we can get!

Panama 059 Baby Whale Bones

At taxi time, about 4:00 pm we ventured back into the surf to take the small dory back to the ferry to return to Panama City. Being well fed, well rested, and well educated on the niceties of Isla Saboga, we felt a little pang of sorrow in leaving the solitude of this quiet island. It’s only one of the more than 200 islands in the archipelago, but it will definitely be remembered!










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