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Isla Grande a Paradise in Colon with Beaches, Marine Life and Surprising Stories

Isla Grande is a tropical paradise, surrounded by beautiful coral reefs, beaches with palm trees and an Afro-Antillean culture that is felt in the music and can be taste it in the flavors that can be enjoyed in this destination.

Beaches, Trails and Aquatic Life

The main beach on the island is called La Punta. Tourists can enjoy the sun and various entertainment options such as bathing, sunbathing, resting, visiting the mangroves near the coast or taking a boat tour around the island.

However, one of the biggest attractions in this place is the marine life with its extensive population of fish that delight fans who do snorkeling and diving. The island has a magnificent north shore with its shallows, canyons, caves and depths. On the southern shore of this paradise there is a unique labyrinth of coral reefs that offers incredible views of the marine life of that sector. With calm seas the visibility is approximately 10 meters deep.

Afro-Caribbean Food to Recharge Energies

After a whole morning on the beach, snorkeling or diving, it’s time to eat. In Isla Grande it is possible to choose a wide range of Afro-Antillean and international food. For example, the octopus, the spider crab and the Creole-style lobster accompanied with fried plantains. On the island you can find restaurants and dishes at all prices, from cheap to gourmet restaurant. The seafood and fish are fresh and delicious, it is the specialty that the Visitors order the most.

Accommodation for All Needs

Any visitor who wants to stay a night on Isla Grande, or a week or a month, has several lodging options. There are hotels and cabins, with a variety of prices: from 150 dollars per day, the most luxurious room, or there are cabins for up to 25 dollars for two people. Isla Grande usually receives dozens of Visitors on weekends and holidays receive many more. The recommendation is to visit on weekdays when the beaches are almost deserted. About 900 people live on this island, most of them are mulatto descendants of the colonial era who are dedicated to fishing, trade and tourism.

Isla Grande Landmarks

Apart from the natural beauty and Caribbean culture, Isla Grande has two places with a unique history and legacies. The first is the Black Christ, it is the most photographed spot of the island. The story goes that many years ago, a soldier had a traffic accident and was left in a wheelchair, and he asked the Black Christ of Portobelo for the ability to get up and walk again in exchange of giving back the favor. After 8 years of therapy, the soldier walked again, and had the Black Christ made, placing it in the sea, near his house along the coast.

The second icon of the island is the lighthouse, designed by the French, Alexandre Gustave Eiffel (who designed the Eiffel Tower) and built in 1893. It is about 124 years old, and is one of the oldest in Latin America, rising 55 meters above the sea ​​level, located on the west side of the island. To get there, walk on a cement path, which is quite steep, therefore it is recommended to go slowly. You can go up the Lighthouse, inside it is narrow and has a spiral staircase, but from the top you have an impressive view of the island and its surroundings.

How to Get There

Isla Grande is at only three hours from Panama City. Driving, take the Panama-Colon freeway to the Sabanitas exit, then enter the Transisthmian highway towards Colon City and upon reaching the town of Sabanitas, turn right following the road towards Portobelo. Upon reaching this historic town, you come to a ‘Y’, and continue taking the left towards La Guaira. Upon arrival there are parking lots for cars and take a boat to the island.

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