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Island Life in Panamá

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The islands off the coast of Panamá—white-sand beaches, hammocks rocking between palm trees, clear emerald waves lapping the shore—are the stuff of vacation fantasies but, in truth, are dangerously close to your reality. Head offshore and take off your shoes. You've discovered the undiscovered.
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The San Blas Islands in the Caribbean waters of Panama are a remote archipelago consisting of more than 300 islands, all with white-sand beaches, swaying palms, and clear turquoise waters. Fewer than 50 of the islands are inhabited by the Kuna...
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Contadora Island, Saboga, Panama
Snorkel, fish, relax and recover while you're in Panama on Contador Island, in the Pearl Islands Archipelago. These beautiful boats are ready for hire (in hugely affordable fashion) once you've left Panama City and landed on this enchanting...
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Isla de Coiba, Panama
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...
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San Blas Islands, Panama
A visit to the incredible 365-island archipelago (also called the San Blas Islands) within the communal lands of the Guna Yala indigenous nation provides some extraordinary seaside experiences. The islands making up the outer archipelago...
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Bocas del Toro Province, Panama
Of the many boat excursions available in the Bocas del Toro archipelago, the trip to Playa Estrella stands out for its numerous multicolored starfish residing in the tranquil, crystal-clear waters. The beach is truly an "oasis" of calm and the...
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Isla Iguana Wildlife Refuge, Panama
When we decided to take a surf vacation in Panama, we traded in the idea of white sandy Caribbean beaches for the more forceful waves of the Pacific. After spending a week on the Azuero Peninsula riding waves, we learned of a small island just off...
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Barro Colorado Island, Panama

In reality, the 1,620-hectare (4,000-acre) Barro Colorado Island is a hilltop. Or, at least it was until the creation of Gatún Lake turned it into the largest island in the Canal Zone, one where the Smithsonian Institute operates a research...