Taboga Island is a tropical island located in the Gulf of Panama, just a short ferry ride away from Panama City. Known as the “Island of Flowers,” Taboga Island is a popular destination for both tourists and locals alike, offering small beaches, lush vegetation, and a laid-back atmosphere.
If you’re looking for an easy & relaxing beach getaway, Taboga Island is a worth a visit during your trip to Panama City.
Cosas que debe saber antes de ir
Es un destino de fin de semana: Like most touristic destinations in Panama, if you go during the week you’ll have the place to yourself or expect to see people from the city flock to Taboga Island for the weekend. I highly recommend going on a weekday if you have the flexibility.
Check the tide schedules: The beaches are much nicer at medium/high tide so you can plan a day trip based on when the tide will be high. Visit ESTE ENLACE for the tide schedule.
Agua potable: My rule of thumb is don’t drink the tap water whenever you’re on an island in Panama.
Efectivo y cajeros automáticos: It’s best to have some cash on hand for small purchases on the beach but there is one ATM on the island. Many of the main restaurants accept cards now but always ask before you buy something.
Clima: Expect it to be 30C during the day and 25C at night with the rainy season from May – December, with the heaviest rains happening towards the end of that.
Stock up on groceries in Panama City: Small grocery stores exist but they are very basic so it’s best to buy items in the city beforehand.
Glass bottles are prohibited: If you’re bringing anything from Panama City, make sure not to bring any type of glass bottle as it’s prohibited on the island.
Take your trash back with you: If you brought any beer cans, plastic bottles, etc remember to take them back to the city! It’s much easier for you to do this small gesture than to leave them an island with limited resources.
Getting there by ferry
It’s easy to take the ferry to Taboga Island and it takes approximately 30 minutes. There are a few ferry companies to choose from so I’ll outline which to use and how much they cost. You’ll want to check with the company to verify departure times.
Taboga Express: $24 round trip and has the most departure times to choose from. Leaves from Isla Flamingo on the Amador Causeway. Book Here.
Roka Ferry: $18 round trip but has limited departure times and does not operate on Tuesdays. Leaves from Balboa Yacht Club on the Amador Causeway. Book Here.
Barcos Calypso: $17 round trip but takes 45 minutes to get to the island. Leaves from La Playita Resort on the Amador Causeway. Book Here.
Go for the day on a Catamaran or Private Boat
Hop aboard a catamaran or a private yacht to enjoy Taboga Island in a unique way. I especially recommend this if you are going on a weekend to avoid the crowded beaches. The catamaran options are all inclusive with food and open bar plus fun music aboard. Or you can set your own private adventure by renting a boat for the day.
Villa Caprichosa is for the traveler looking for a bespoke luxury experience with all the Instagramable Vibes. This boutique hotel has several private pools depending on which room you rent and spectacular views of the ocean. The restaurant here is also top-notch with amazing food & cocktails so you’ll never need to leave. BOOK HERE.
More places to stay on Taboga island….
I don’t want you to think that Taboga has the best beaches you’ve ever seen because there are way nicer beaches in Panama (Pearl Islands, San Blas, Bocas del Toro, and Isla Iguana)! But the point is that they are the easiest & most affordable beaches near Panama City. Like I previously said, the beaches are most enjoyable at medium/high tide because when it’s low it gets very rocky. The majority of tourists will take a right as soon as getting off the ferry to go to the main beach, but instead take a left to go to Playa Honda. There’s always way less people here and a restaurant right in front where you can order food and drinks. The sand here is smooth and the water clear. Either beach you choose will have chair & umbrella rentals for around $15 (bring cash for this and remember everything is negotiable).
Hike to the top of Cerro Cruz
Only do this hike if you’re there early in the morning or for sunset at the heat is brutal, but the views are worth it.
If you’re interested in scuba diving to taking PADI courses to get certified then Scuba Taboga is where to book. They also offer boating, kayak, and paddle board excursions. Visit their website here.
Where to eat & drink
Calaloo: This is where you’ll find some of the best seafood dishes on the island and also one of the few restaurants with vegetarian options in Taboga.
La Dolche Vita: This is the restaurant located at the beautiful Villa Caprichosa Hotel and a great spot to visit for a late lunch before heading back to the ferry. If you make a reservation in advance they even offer pickup service to avoid walking up the steep hill. Send a Whatsapp to +50768169784 for reservations.
Casa Taboga: Local style restaurant a 10-minute walk from the main beaches with delicious Taboga-style seafood dishes.
Restaurante Playa Honda: Right on the beach in Playa Honda so you can easily take a break from sitting in the beach chairs, have a bite to eat, and head back down.