The miniscule, idyllic island of Granita de Oro (meaning “little grain of gold”) is one of 38 small, wild islands that comprise Panama’s Isla Coiba National Park, in the Gulf of Chiriqui. The cyan-blue waters here swarm with a jaw-dropping array of sea creatures—not just coral reefs swarming with tropical fish, but moray eels, manta rays, sharks, and sea turtles. While snorkeling and diving are the most obvious pursuits here, many travelers enjoy just kayaking, sunning, and picnicking on the powdery beach.
Traveling with an intimate group can heighten the experience of exploring Central America. The ship used for Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic Costa Rica & Panama trips accommodates just 62 passengers.