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, colourful 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 its 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 to get into town. The only problem with this option is that there is only one hotel once you arrive and you cannot make reservations beforehand.
The boat ride to Isla Escudo de Veraguas is long and bumpy but trust me, it’s worth every second! In total, our trip took 5-6 hours including stops at a beautiful little island and a local family’s house 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 you’re looking 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 visit Isla Escudo de Veraguas is between March and November. The weather from December to February can be unpredictable, making the long boat ride dangerous. Rainstorms 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. If you have any dietary requirements, make sure 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. The only caveat to that is the daily catch from the local fishermen. We were lucky enough to be treated to a fresh lobster dinner one night for only $5 USD per person!
Things to Do
You can expect your days to be spent exploring the island. Cruising through the mangroves, snorkelling the reefs, and discovering new coves and islands around every corner. We would jump off the boat multiple times a day to swim or snorkle. 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.
Do your part to keep this island clean and take all of your trash with you when you go. Unfortunately, with the increase in popularity, there has also been an increase in the garbage on the island. If you can, collect an @adventurebag to take home with you. It will be much appreciated by the locals and everyone who visits the island after you!