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Pacific Snorkeling on Taboga Island in Panama


Pacific Snorkeling by Boat on Taboga Island Panama – Sea Turtle Spotted

Taboga Island Panama Snorkeling Review

Snorkeling Trip with Cerrito Tropical on Taboga Island

A while back we took a Taboga “round-the-island” snorkeling trip to scout locations for our snorkeling and diving guests who stay with us at Cerrito Tropical B&B Hotel.

As a retired PADI instructor, I have taught and guided excursions in Australia, Canada, the Caribbean Islands, and wrote a dive guide book for several Caribbean islands — therefore I am pretty critical of dive and snorkel sites for my guests, and don’t impress easily. Here is an account of what we found.

Please note: Pacific snorkeling is quite a different than the Caribbean. Expect more current, less coral, and lower visibility. Don’t attempt offshore snorkeling unless you are a strong swimmer with your own fins, a buddy, and a guide.

We set off 8 am on a sunny day with a local guide in his panga (small local open boat), accompanied by friends. Conditions were almost perfect, visibility good at 15-20 feet with plenty of tropical fish around to entertain us including a very large parrot fish. We spotted a number of large brain coral and plate coral.

An excellent coral guide can be found at CoralPedia.

Because of the strong current present the panga-boat drifted with us as we snorkeled; “drift snorkeling” we dubbed it. Then we headed off in the panga to the uninhabited back of Taboga to the Brown Pelican Preserve and later to snorkel a shallow hull from a wreck by Isla Urraba (recommended). Conditions were terrific, there were lots of tropical fish, especially near the sunken boat.

On the way back to Taboga our guide slowed and followed a large green sea turtle. We were thrilled, and strained to see the big guy who surfaced to check us out. A brown pelican was following so the turtle didn’t stay up long, giving us just enough time to snap a couple of photos. Almost back to the beach I asked to see the coral gardens nearby. There was a large area of coral, some clean but other parts unfortunately covered with algae or bleached due to the changing growing conditions.

Back at the beach settling up, the trip took a total of 2 hours and we all agreed worth the effort of getting up early on a Sunday morning. $60 plus tip for 4 people without snorkel gear. At Cerrito Tropical B&B Hotel on Taboga Island in Panama, we arrange these trips for our guests through local guides with boats.

While Taboga Island is not the best area in the world I have experienced, it was entertaining, at times challenging, and we thoroughly enjoyed snorkeling amongst the island’s thriving ocean life. I rate it 3 to 4 stars (out of 5) depending on the conditions.

C. Mulder



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