Isla Escudo De Veraguas is without a doubt one of the most beautiful islands in Central America. This remote destination is home to clear blue waters, soft sandy beaches, colorful marine life and the rare three-toed pygmy sloth.
Isla Escudo de Veraguas is located 3 hours by boat from the small town of Chiriqui Grande. Although some people depart from Bocas del Toro; it is uncommon because you are on the open ocean with no place to stop if a storm blows in. Because of it`s remote location; only a fraction of tourists visit this island each year. The only form of civilization is a handful of fishing huts used by the local fisherman for a few months in the summer. Don`t expect bathrooms, electricity, or permanent buildings on Isla Escudo de Veraguas.
How to Get There
There are a few options when it comes to getting to Chiriqui Grande. We had a group of 4 people that shared a taxi from Boquete. The 3 hour drive cost approximately $100 USD. Another option is to catch the local bus from David to a small gas station (Estacion Terpel) which is 8 km inland of Chiriqui Grande. From there you will need to hitch a ride or wave down a taxi into town. The only problem with this option is that there is only one hotel once you arrive and you cannot make reservations beforehand.
Related: 5 Panamazing Hikes in Boquete
The boat ride to Isla Escudo de Veraguas is long and bumpy but trust me; its worth every second! In total our trip took 5-6 hours including a stop at a beautiful small island and a stop for lunch along the way.
Choosing a Guide
There are only a few local tour guides that organize trips out to Isla Escudo de Veraguas. We contacted Jerry Moreno; a very passionate and enthusiastic local who has spent most of his life finding adventure throughout Panama. He also organizes many other small custom tours so if your up for a unique and exciting experience he’s the guy to contact! The best way to get a hold of him is through Instagram @Jerryfit or whatsapp +507 6153-8924.
When to Travel
The best time of the year to go is between March and November. The weather from December to February can make the long boat ride quite dangerous. Rain storms are fairly common all year round (4-5 storms per week) but usually only last a couple of hours.
Clothing & Equipment
- Lightweight Trekking Pants
- Swim Shorts
- Headlamp or Flashlight
- Power bank
- Waterproof Bags and Garbage Bogs
- Insect Repellent
- Snorkel Gear (can be provided)
- Toilet Paper
- Tent (can be provided)
- Sleeping Bag (can be provided)
- Air Mattress (can be provided)
Food & Water
Our guide Jerry cooked 3 meals per day, brought lots of water and provided tons of snacks. Since the temperature and humidity can be so high its important to stay hydrated! If you have any dietary requirements its important to let your guide know in advance so that they bring the right food with them. Think back country camping to the extreme.. there is no where to get more food or refill your water if you run out. With local fisherman using the island be sure to ask about the daily catch. We were lucky enough to be treated to a fresh lobster dinner one night!
Things to Do
You can expect your days to be spent exploring the island. Cruising through the mangroves, snorkeling the reefs, and discovering new coves and islands around every corner. Multiple times each day we would jump off the boat to swim or dock at a new beach to check it out. Isla Escudo de Veraguas is truly a hidden island paradise.
Camping at Isla Escudo De Veraguas
Several elevated huts are scattered along the shores of the island but these are the only semi-permanent buildings. While cruising the shore line and exploring the island you will see many places that people have set up camp. PLEASE help to keep this island clean and beautiful and take your trash with you when you go. Unfortunately; with the increase in popularity there has also been an increase in garbage on the island. If you can; collect an @adventurebag to take home with you.. it will be much appreciated!