Isla Grande Panama – Small Island with Spectacular Views
On the Caribbean side of Panama off the coast of Portobelo is the picturesque island called Isla Grande. This island despite its name is quite small but larger than all the islands in the area. Isla Grande is a surfer and loungers paradise with spectacular surf and views. People come to Isla Grande to enjoy snorkeling, fishing, lounging by the sea, Caribbean food and the seclusion.
Unlike many places in Panama, Isla Grande is only accessible by boat. In order to get to Isla Grande from Panama City you must head to Colon and take a right turn at the El Rey Grocery store and McDonalds and drive to Portobelo, Panama. The road has been completely paved. Just a few years ago the trip to Isla Grande required a 4X4.
After passing Portobelo your last stop is La Guaira. You can park your car in the secured areas which cost a few Dollars a day. Hop on one of the boats that take you over to the island in about 10 minutes and pay the operator. The boat service is not included in the hotel stay.
There are two resorts that I would like to mention. Bananas Resort located on “La Punta” has been around for a long time and offers per night packages. During the week expect to pay $139 a night or $278 for the weekend for two, each additional person is $30. Breakfast is included but meals are not.
The other resort I would like to mention is Villa En Sueno. They have three packages that include all three meals. The VIP package is $65 per person and includes meals and drink menu. The Economy package is $45 per person and includes meals and basic drinks. The camping package is $25 per person and includes use of the camping areas, facilities and value menu.
There are a few trips one has to make while visiting Isla Grande. Make sure to visit the old lighthouse at the highest point on the island. The lighthouse was built by the French during their attempt to build the original Panama Canal. The original lighthouse was built by none other than Gustav Eiffel. It is now located at the Panama Canal Museum in Panama City.
The views are amazing and well worth the hike. Even if you do not stay at the “Bananas Resort” make sure to stop by “La Punta” to enjoy the sand. The beach is open to the public. Most of the island is surrounded by rocks and reefs so make sure to bring proper shoes for wading and surfing.
When on the Caribbean side of Panama the food is noticeably influenced by the sea. You can enjoy red snapper and sea bass with coconut rice and salad. If you have the opportunity you must try the delicious langostino lobsters. While in Panama fish, chicken, plantains, rice, beans, salad and lots of fruit will be your main diet unless you stay at a resort.
The climate on Isla Grande is beautiful throughout the year. During the day expect temperatures from 27 to 32 degrees Celsius. At night the temperature falls to 25 degrees Celsius. The breeze of the Caribbean keeps you comfortable throughout the day. Rain can be expected year round in sporadic bursts.
While in Panama plan a trip to beautiful Isla Grande. What would a trip to Panama be without a stay on the Caribbean side of the country where pirates like Captain Drake and Captain Morgan used to roam?