Taboga Island is known as the Island of the Flowers. The Taboga Day Pass is a great way to spend a day on this lovely island that is only 20 kilometers (12 miles) from Panama City. Leave for Taboga Island from the Amador Causeway on a fast ferry that takes 30 minutes. The view during the transit is incredible since you can see the city skyline, the Bridge of the Americas and all the ships waiting to cross the Panama Canal.
This island was discovered in the 16th century by Spanish explorer Vasco Núñez de Balboa. Its original name was Isla de San Pedro where the town of San Pedro was founded in 1524 by the Spanish priest, Hernando de Luque. He founded a church of the same name which is said to be the second oldest church in America. From this island Francisco Pizarro and Diego de Almagro set off in their conquest of the Inca Empire. Another famous resident of Taboga Island was Rosa de Lima, the first saint of the Americas who was born on the island.
People came to Taboga Island in search of gold and pearls, including pirates. Pirate Henry Morgan came to the island after looting Panama City (currently Panama Viejo). The island became a port for Panama City and it served as a place to stay during the Gold Rush for people on their way to California. Painter Paul Gauguin lived on the island in 1887 after he came to the country to work on the Panama Canal. The island became a vacation place for the Americans during and after the construction of the Panama Canal. It was later used for military purposes.
Nowadays this island is a tourism destination. You can learn all about the history of the island in the Taboga Day Pass since it includes a guided walking tour that will take you to all the important historical sites. It is possible to swim in the beach. The two main beaches on the island are Playa Honda to the left and Playa Restringa to the right. Playa Restringa has incredible views of Panama City’s skyscrapers. At low tide it joins with a sandbar to a small island called El Morro. Playa Honda has nicer sand and better facilities.
Visiting on a weekday is recommended since there are less people. Going on the Taboga Day Pass may mean crowded beaches since it is a popular local spot, especially on holidays. It is also possible to spend a night on the island since there are plenty of hikes, fishing trips, whale watching (seasonal) and more.
Where to Stay on Taboga Island?
- Ferry service
- Guided historical tour
- Beach chairs and umbrellas
- 2 beverages (1 on the ferry and 1 with lunch)
Time: up to 8 and a half hours.
What to bring? bathing suit, beach clothes, change of clothes, towel, rain jacket or waterproof bag (green season), sunscreen, hat, ID, cash (there is NO ATM on the islands), water bottle and camera.
Important information: The Ferry to Taboga departs from the Amador Causeway in Panama City at 8 a.m., 9 a.m., 11 a.m., and 3 p.m. and returns from Taboga Island at 8:45 a.m., 10:15 a.m., 2:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. On Saturdays and Sundays there is one additional ferry departing from Panama City at 4:30 p.m. and departing from Taboga Island at 5 p.m.
Passengers who buy the Taboga Day Pass can board the ferry at any time which is convenient to them depending on how much time they want to spend on the island.