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Isla Grande

Palm trees and white-sand beaches form the backdrop to this lovely little island, just nine miles (15km) from Portobelo. A popular getaway for folk fleeing the urban grind of Panama City, Isla Grande is an ideal setting for snorkeling, scuba diving or simply soaking up the island’s relaxed vibe. There are no roads, just a footpath along the island's southern coast, backed by pastel-colored cottages. Many of the people living here are of African descent and are eking out a living from fishing and growing coconuts – you’ll get a taste of both when you sample the local cuisine.

Owing to its location on Panama’s northern Caribbean coast, Isla Grande gets a lot of rain year-round. Terms like "rainy" and "dry" seasons don’t really apply here, though torrential showers are usually short-lived.

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These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Isla Grande.

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