by travel-expert José Berrocoso
A PANAMA EXPERIENCE LIKE NO OTHER
Offering endless marine adventure opportunities, an untouched, wild island landscape, ancient archaeology discoveries and access to Pacific surf breaks that rival Costa Rica.
A few hours west of the city, the Gulf of Chiriquí lies along Panama’s Pacific coast, extending from the Costa Rican border to the west to the Azuero Peninsula on the east. The region is home to one of the largest coral reefs in the Pacific, one of the region’s richest mangrove forests and incredibly bio-diverse ecosystems. It has beautiful beaches and two vast, protected marine parks.
In nearby waters, Islas Secas unlocks access to an archipelago of 14 volcanic islands. With exceptional marine wildlife, thousands of species of wild fauna and flora and a little-touched, wonderfully rugged setting, this is one of Central America’s best kept secrets, far less explored than its Caribbean cousin. There are four individually-designed Casita sites, sleeping up to just 18 guests on one of the islands. Islas Secas is also powered by and in harmony with its surrounding environment: 100% of energy is solar-generated; 100% of food waste is recycled; 100% of waste water is re-used for irrigation; and 75% of the archipelago has been left untouched.
The experiences offered are wide and varied, with everything from world-class fishing to diving, snorkelling, seasonal whale watching, naturalist tours, private beach picnics, wake and paddle boarding and sea bobbing. The 20 miles between Islas Secas and the coast of mainland Panama allow endless scope to roam fish-storied waters, creating a ‘marine playground’ for its guests. The sea life that calls these temperate waters home includes parrotfish, angelfish, blue tang and eagle rays; humpback whales, hammerhead sharks and dolphins; and even the critically endangered Green Olive Ridley and Loggerhead sea turtles.
For travellers with more of a thirst for adventure, it is also a year-round surfers’ hotspot with a fantastic combination of beach breaks, reef breaks and point breaks. Visitors can ride waves on both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans on the same day thanks to Panama’s narrow geography. Thirty minutes by boat from Islas Secas transports guests to Isla Silva de Afuera, where it is said the surf is better than in Costa Rica, and Islas Montuosa lies a little over an hour away with consistent deep-water waves reaching up to 25 feet on big swells.
Kayaking in Coiba National Park
-14 islands, 18 guests, 20 miles from civilization.
-Create your own marine safari: Islas Secas offers rare, exclusive access to one of the most diverse marine ecosystems in the world.
-The Gulf of Chiriqui is a home to a diverse ecosystem and vibrant communities. The property is committed to stewardship of this unique region through its support of community programs and scientific research.