How do we get to the island?
There are two ferries that come out to the islands from the city. One (www.ferrylasperlas.com) leaves from the Trump Hotel in Punta Pacifica, the other (www.sealasperlas.com) leaves from the dock at Las Brisas on the Amador causeway. Both ferries come to the dock on Saboga where we will meet you and bring you to your accommodations. The ferry trip is about 1-1/2 hours.
And, Air Panama has two daily flights from the airport in Albrook (not Tocumen) to Contadora. From there you would take a panga over to Saboga. It’s a 15-minute trip by panga.
Can we get there the same day we arrive in Panama?
You will usually need to plan on coming out to the island the day after you arrive in Panama. The ferries depart the city at 7:30 AM, so unless your incoming flight arrives very early in the morning, it is not possible to make it here the same day on the ferry. If your flight arrives in the morning, you could fly out on the afternoon Air Panama flight to Contadora. Be sure to check AirPanama’s flight schedule, as they don’t have an afternoon flight every day.
What about groceries and food?
For all vacation rentals, you will need to plan for 3 meals a day. If you do not have the time or inclination to shop in the city before you come out, we highly recommend the buying service we use, Simplify Panama (www.simplifypanama.com). They can shop for you and deliver the groceries directly to you at your hotel.
There are 3 small stores in the village on Saboga that sell basics like eggs, rice, milk, and some vegetables, but they are geared to serve the local villagers, so the selection is extremely limited.
Groceries are also available on Contadora, which has 3 stores with a much better selection than Saboga has. Be prepared to pay 2-1/2 to 3 times the prices in the city, though. That, plus the cost of the panga to take you there and back makes getting your groceries in the city a much better deal.
Are there any restaurants on the island?
There is 1 tourist-quality restaurant on Saboga – Paula Nani Beach. The restaurant serves breakfast and lunch but does not serve dinner except by prior arrangement. If you want dinner from the restaurant, we recommend ordering an extra to-go meal at lunch and just keeping it refrigerated until dinner time.
For those with a more adventurous palate, there are several fondas in the village that serve lunch for the locals. As long as you are not too concerned with cleanliness and compliance with health-department standards, the food is cheap and typically Panamanian.
What activities are there on Saboga?
Saboga is still very undeveloped and natural, so exploring the jungle trails, the beaches, the archaeological sites and the village will be the extent of what there is to do on land. On the water, there is fishing, snorkeling and diving on beautiful coral reefs, sailing, kayaking, paddle-boarding, wind-surfing, and just swimming on one of the many almost-totally-deserted beaches.
Is the water on the island drinkable?
Saboga’s fresh water comes from wells here on the island. We have had the water tested several times, and it has always been good to drink. Even so, here at our home we filter and UV-treat the water to make sure it is safe. You are welcome to bring bottled water if you prefer, and bottled water is also available in the village.
Any poisonous or dangerous animals on the island?
No. There are some snakes and iguanas on the island, but nothing poisonous. Saboga is home to one of the rarest boa constrictors on earth. It is a dwarf boa that does not get over 6 feet in length and is not dangerous. We have an occasional scorpion and a few bees and wasps, but nothing more than that. In the ocean there are the typical puffer fish, some sea snakes and occasionally jelly fish that you might have to watch out for. The sea snakes, though poisonous, are very timid and not aggressive, so unless you step on one they will leave you alone.
Why is there a two-night minimum stay?
The reason we have a 2-night minimum is that we do not like to have guests arriving for a room the same day other guests are departing. When that happens, the arriving guests can’t check in until the room has been cleaned, and the departing guests have nowhere to shower and change clothes if they have to check out early. And if it happens to be raining, the fun factor for both parties is pretty much gone. The ferries do not depart for the city until 3:30 – 4:00 PM, so a late check out lets guests use the beach and the room all day on their last day, and that makes for a much more enjoyable stay. The result of this policy is that both the night before arrival and the night after departure can’t be booked if we are going to stick to our standards of service. If your schedule allows for a 2-night or longer stay, we are happy to accommodate you! If you just can’t make that happen, let us know, and we will see if we can work something out. Since one-night stays essentially use up two nights, we don’t book them very far in advance, but occasionally we have small blocks of open days that we can squeeze one in.