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Guided Island Exploration
With only a handful of rooms on a 400-acre private island, Isla Palenque is yours to explore.
Self-guided exploration on our well-marked trails allows you to stroll at leisure in the shade of ancient trees laden with vines and flowering epiphytes of astouding variety. You’ll encounter the iconic wildlife of Isla Palenque -- howler monkeys, iguanas, mapaches, anteaters and more – amid intact ecosystems bursting with wild orchids, bright birds, and tropical butterflies.
We've created an array of the best tours in Panama to take you into the heart of this unique Panamanian island wilderness, to discover the powerful ways that natural beauty can move you, challenge you, and deepen your understanding of the people who grew up in these environments. Our knowledgeable local guides will lead you through lagoons abuzz with birdsong, to the edge of Punta Ballena for a natural waterworks show, and into the secret bat cave on Isleta Amelia, to name a few landmarks.
Below is a list of every island tour offered on Isla Palenque:*
* All tours have limited availability, and many are dependent on the tides, season, and weather conditions. Prior to your arrival, we will contact you personally about the tours that will be scheduled during your visit. No matter which excursions you choose (multiple tour options will be offered on a daily basis, and custom tours are also available), be sure to read our island safety post to ensure a safe Panama adventure within our island’s raw, captivating wilderness.
Adventurewise it is unmatched, monkeys, crabs, secret paths, snorkeling, bat caves, rock climbing, lunch on a deserted beach; then a siesta in the cool room and dip in the pool at the end of the day. [ stayed April 2013 ]
These guided hikes take you to several different areas of the island, allowing you to discover the intricacies of Isla Palenque's unique ecosystems. As you progress from the eye-opening beauty of old-growth jungle to palm-lined beaches of soft volcanic sand, your guide points out species and describes the interconnected ecologies of our wild island gem. Treks include birdwatching, hikes through lagoon ecosystems or over jungle-filled hillsides, and other activities, depending on the season.
Level: Easy to Medium | Price: $20
Gain a deeper understanding of the island’s remarkable aquatic ecotones (zones where two divergent ecologies meet): rare white mangroves that protect the island from the sea while sheltering delicate sea life, bird-filled lagoons tucked just behind the beaches, and treasure-filled tide pools revealed in the receding waters of the falling tide. These are some of the most biodiverse corners of the island, and are also the most difficult to fully appreciate without the help of a guide, due to the elusive nature of many resident species.
Level: Easy | Price: $20
Hike a maze of multiple jungle trails leading to historic landmarks most visitors never see while we shed light on a few of the island’s most enduring natural mysteries and hidden wonders. How did Isla Palenque form? How did ancient cultures use the island – and what did they leave behind? What is Palenque’s role in the history of the area, and how is her significance reflected in the folklore of the locals? Isla Palenque’s stories go back centuries – take this tour to delve deeper into her encompassing wonders.
Level: Medium | Price: $30
The magnificent spray of the blowhole at Punta Ballena glimmers in the distance from where you relax on Playa Palenque or beachside at Las Rocas, calling you to the island’s westernmost point and the natural wonder there concealed. To witness the blowhole up close, take our guided tour: duck into the jungle to climb a gently sloping path that runs through old-growth forest and alongside a lagoon humming with birds and butterflies. At last, you’ll emerge to be greeted by a stunning vista of the Gulf of Chiriqui -- revel in your new vantage point atop the bluff as the blowhole erupts from the rocks below, showering you in its cool, refreshing mist.
Level: Medium-Hard | Price: $30
Wend your way around our island's engaging coastline, mountain-goat style. 'Rock hiking,' as we've come to call it, is an invigorating outdoor workout and a great way to get to know Isla Palenque. Clamber over boulders and navigate volcanic stone gardens that will disappear at high tide while your guide shares insight into the island's geological origins. Your journey will take you both above and below sea level, but unlike coasteering, rock hiking does not require a swimsuit.
Level: Hard | Price: $30
Repel down a towering jungle tree to move through the incredible vertical ecosystem you were craning your neck to see only moments before. After securing your harness, our experienced guide helps to hoist you into a world of flowering epiphytes, strange tropical fruits, delicate ferns and velvety mosses, while birds you heard from the forest floor make colorful appearances in the surrounding canopy. Occasionally, even a troupe of howler monkeys will come close to see who their new neighbors are.
Level: Hard | Price: $50
As the sun lowers towards the horizon, take a note from the local fishermen and head into the shallow bays Isla Palenque shelters for prime inshore fishing from our rocky coastline. The locals have been known to hook snapper, roosterfish, snook, jack, or trevally in our protected bays – try fighting one of those on a fly rod for added thrill.
Level: Easy | Price: $40
Isla Palenque’s Northeast coast includes two isletas that shelter one of the island’s most enchanting natural attractions: a shallow sand-bottomed cave home to a tiny species of insectivorous bat. Our kayak tour allows for an invigorating journey along our rocky coast to reach this incredible part of the island -- launching from Playa Giron at low tide for beginners, and into more boisterous waves for the experienced kayaker who craves a challenge.
Level: Hard | Price: $40
Paddle out towards neighboring Boca Brava to view our mangrove-lined Northeast coast from the open sea, enjoying opportunities for dolphin-spotting or a glimpse of a surfacing sea turtle as you approach the inviting shallows hidden behind Punta Ballena. At low tide, a vast expanse of sand forms a land bridge between Isla Palenque and Boca Brava, and the windswept ecosystem or resilient coastal plants and tide pools make for fascinating exploration opportunities no matter where you pull up to shore between the two islands.
Level: Hard | Price: $40
Strike out from the sandy shores of Playa Primera and paddle a half-mile over the sparkling Pacific to reach Isla Palenquito, as this charming isle to the North is affectionately known. Upon landing at Palenquito, you'll find an intriguing little beach that very few have been to -- enjoy its coral sands and coconut groves before returning by kayak to the island you call home.
Level: Hard | Price: $40
Take one of our paddleboards from Las Rocas and head out on the open ocean with our guide, who will take you to any number of locations on nearby islands, depending on the swells and experience level of the group. (If you have never been on a stand-up paddleboard before, we recommend that you arrive a half hour early to get some practice balancing, paddling, and turning.)
Level: Hard | Price: $40
Our cuisine often features traditional Panamanian fare and features ingredients we grow ourselves on the island: this tour provides a wonderful glimpse into the process of creating our "ultra-local" dishes. Join our chef as he takes you through our on-site organic farm to select ingredients for two simple local dishes which he will then show you how to make.
Level: Easy | Price: $30
We're here to help you explore Isla Palenque -- if you have a passion you'd like to fulfill during your trip, or simply wish to explore the island with a private guide, we can plan a special itinerary just for you and your travel partner(s). Contact us to arrange a custom private tour that caters to your particular interest.
To provide the best experience, we’ve defined a maximum number of participants for each of our tours, ranging from 4 to 10 guests depending on the tour.
* All tours have limited availability, and many are dependent on the tides, season, and weather conditions. Prior to your arrival, we will contact you personally about the tours that will be scheduled during your visit. No matter which excursions you choose (multiple tour options will be offered on a daily basis, and both private and custom tours are also available), be sure to read our island safety post to ensure a safe Panama adventure within our island’s raw, captivating wilderness.