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Ricardo Campos – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
 
Isla Iguana Pedasi – Best Places In The World To Retire – International Living Isla Iguana, Azuero Peninsula Los Santos Pedasi Panama
 
Panama is well known for its many islands, both on the Caribbean and Pacific ocean side.  There are about several major islands in Panama:
  • The San Blas Archipelago consists of well over 200 islands, some of which are made entirely of corals.
  • Contadora, of the Pearl Islands.
  • Solarte.
  • Boca Brava in the Gulf of Chiriqui, with crystal clear waters and plenty of coconut palms.
  • El Porvenir Island.
  • Nargana Island.
Now, to tell you about Panama´s Best Kept Secret of the Pacific Coast…that is now getting out! Pedasi and the Azuero Peninsula is becoming quite the tourist destination. In the past it was mainly surfers visiting Playa Venao and Panamanians wanting the peace and tranquility that the  small laid back village of Pedasi exudes.  Now more visitors are making it one of their destinations. There are two main islands just of the coast of Pedasi: Isla Iguana and Isla Cañas.
 
Isla Iguana (pictured above) is a National Wildlife Refuge and home to the largest breeding colony of frigate birds in Panama. The males are the ones with the bright red throats and the ones that sit on the eggs to incubate them.
 
The white sand beach is made up of fine corals which are found around the island. Great for shallow water snorkeling. On the backside of the island you can enjoy seeing humpback whales with their calves and males putting on a spectacular show as they court the females. On the way out to the island you will likely encounter sea turtles swimming near your skiff or a pod of dolphins will join you as they jump and display their agility in the sea.
 
Isla Cañas is a larger island which is inhabited by approximately 800 Panamanians. They live a laid back lifestyle coveted by many of us. The island is well known for its large sea turtle nesting sites. The island residents are very keen to protect the nesting turtles and their eggs.
 
These islands and the surrounding areas are well known internationally for fishing, diving snorkeling and boating. MTV is filming an outdoor reality program in Pedasi and Azuero Peninsula during August and September 2014.
 
 
 
Vannessa Solano of Activentas, S.A. – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account

In Panama, we have quite a few islands, so the answer could go on for quite some time if I covered all of them.  Here are the main ones:

Bocas del Toro

Bocas del Toro is a group of islands on the Starfish in Bocas del Toro, Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingAtlantic side of Panama.  On Isla Colon (the main island of Bocas del Toro), there are hotels and restaurants, bars, and lots of amenities.
 
There are tours that can take you to different islands, each of which have their own attractions.  An island that is particularly interesting that I like is called Starfish Island, which is an island that is literally surrounded by starfish.  You can also go to Dolphin Cove, where you can see dolphins (it’s not just a name).

 

Bocas del Toro is good for diving, and is very peaceful and relaxing.  You can see caves and shipwrecks.
 
In addition, Bocas del Toro has lots of nightlife, with lots of young people.

 

San Blas Islands 

We also have another group of islands in San Blas Islands Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingPanama called San Blas, also on the Atlantic side of Panama.  The San Blas Islands are the home of the Kuna Indians, which are the indigenous people.  The area is actually its own comarca, which is semi-autonomous region.  It is a protected area where only the indigenous people can live.
 
In San Blas and you have to follow and respect their rules, and there are a lot of them.  For example, if you go fishing, you have to get permission, and they will take you to a special place to do it.  You may be able to go free diving, but if you want to use tanks, there are only certain places where it is allowed.   The reason is that they want to protect the environment.
 
You can see sea turtles in San Blas.  There are no fancy accommodations; very rural.

 

Las Perlas Islands

We have Archipelago Las Perlas (also Map of Pearl Islands, highlighting Contadora Island – Best Places In The World To Retire – International Livingknown as the Pearl Islands), which is a group of islands including Contadora and Coiba on the Pacific side of Panama.  (Contadora Island is highlighted in the map to the right.  Panama City is in orange.)  In Coiba, for example, you can do some amazing diving.

 
Some of the islands in the Las Perlas chain are more developed, with amenities like very good hotels.  You can go fishing, diving, and perhaps just visiting to spend the day at the beach.  You can stay for several days and it is very relaxing.  There is not that much nightlife on the Perlas Islands.
 
To get to any of the Las Perlas Islands, you would generally go from Panama City, either taking a plane or a boat.  To get to Contadora Island, it would take about 45 minutes by plane or about 2 hours by boat.
 
Anywhere on any of these islands, it is very safe.  People walk around at all different times.  It is absolutely rare to have any incident.
 
The islands on the Pacific side and the Atlantic (Caribbean) side are very different, but they are all beautiful. 
 

Nelson Vega of Panasurance – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Off the coastline of the Chiriqui province, in western part of Panama, there is another group of islands within the Gulf of Chiriqui Marine National Park. It is a protected area that has been slowly increasing its touristic attention; some of the islands have small resorts.Gulf of Chiriqui Marine National Park beach – Best Places In The World To Retire – International Living
 
You can practice snorkeling, fishing, diving, whale watching, or just spend the day at any of the amazing little beaches found on the many islands. From David (capital city of Chiriqui) the drive to Pedregal port is 5 minutes and to Horconcitos port is about 30 minutes. From this places is where you can find transportation to the islands.
 
From the islands, the view of the mountains in mainland Chiriqui is amazing, and the sunsets as well.Gulf of Chiriqui Marine National Park ocean – Best Places In The World To Retire – International Living
 
 
 
Anne Gordon de Barrigón of Whale Watching Panama/Emberá Village Tours – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Yes, there are islands in Panama, in fact, Panama is one of the only places in the world with three island archipelagos.  Two archipelagos on the Caribbean ocean, Bocas del Toro and the San Blas islands and on the Pacific ocean, the Pearl islands and the largest island in Central America, Coiba Island, which is a designated National Marine Preserve and near to Panama city, Taboga island.
Excecutive Beach, Contadora Island, Pearl islands, Panama
This is Executive beach, one of 7 white sand beaches on Contadora island, in the Pearl islands, 35 miles straight South of Panama city in the Pacific ocean.  Contadora island has a small airport, restaurants and small hotels and is easily accessible by two daily ferry services from Panama city. The Pearl islands are beautiful and many uninhabited and rich in Spanish explorer and pirate history.  Whale Watching is a popular activity here.   From July to October there are many humpback whales in the Pearl islands who come to breed and give birth.  In fact, we often see whales from this very beach while we are preparing to board our whale watching boats (that you can see at anchor in this picture.)  There is also clear, warm tropical waters, rich in colorful fish, coral reefs, secluded beaches and it is a great area for sunbathing, swimming, big game sport fishing, relaxing and of course, whale and dolphin watching.
 
Bocas del Toro, PanamaBocas del Toro is a group of islands on the Caribbean side within 40 miles of the Costa Rica border.  It has a very distinct flavor, compared to the rest of Panama.  It was settled by many Afro-Caribbean descendants who had originally been brought to Panama to work on the canal.  So it has a very Bahamas or Caribbean island influence.  Many of the homes, hotels and restaurants are built out over the water.  On the main island, Isla Colon, there is an airport and has a bustling town, called Bocas town, where there are many hotels, hostels, restaurants, tour companies, water taxis, bars, stores, etc.  Bocas town is popular with the younger, backpacker, surfer travelers.  The outer islands are quieter and more tranquil. The waters are crystal clear in most areas and are great for snorkeling, surfing, boating and fishing.  Not all the islands are on the grid, so living there will require you to be a bit more adventurous with water catchment and solar power ingenuity.  All islands and the mainland are easily accessible by a short water taxi ride. 
San Blas islands, Panama
The San Blas islands, also on the Caribbean ocean, East of Colon, Panama are the autonomous territory of the Guna (formerly Kuna) tribe.  It is made up of 365 small islands, all with beautiful white sand beaches and coconut palms.  Many have Guna families living on them or have complete Guna towns.  The San Blas islands are an incredible place for a romantic get away.  There are many small, Guna owned eco hotels of varying prices, from camping up to luxury cabins.  The waters are crystal clear with fabulous snorkeling.  There are also many sailboat charters for trips in the islands.  Because it is the Guna tribe's territory, no one except a Guna tribe member may live or own property there.
Coiba island, Panama
Coiba island is the largest island in all of Central America.  It is located on the Pacific ocean and near the Chiriqui and Veraguas provinces.  It is a designated National Marine Preserve, and also a UNESCO world heritage site.  It is known for its unique biodiversity, with wild monkeys, tropical birds, including scarlet macaws, crocodiles, nesting sea turtles, dolphins, whales, whale sharks and manta rays.  It is a snorkeler or scuba diver's paradise.  It was home to a former prison, which kept it in its pristine state. There are no real accommodations on the island, except the rustic ranger station.  To visit it, the best way is to stay in nearby Santa Catalina on the mainland and take a tour to the island or a live aboard boat tour.  It is not open for private or commercial real estate sales. 
Taboga island, Panama
Taboga island is only a few miles and a short ferry ride from Panama city.  It has a sweet little town, some decent beaches, although they can be quite crowded on the weekends, and some nice hikes on the island.  It is known as the flower island and the French painter, Paul Gauguin stayed here, and was influenced by the tropical lifestyle here.
 

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