High-season tourism in the islands

Isla Saboga

This post is also available in: Spanish

By Ilene Little
Vacationers enjoying Panama’s high season are not all tourists. This time of year, many people who live locally enjoy holidays with friends and family by heading out to the islands.Panama residents tend to know already what they want to do. They just want to do more of it; more relaxing, more exploring and more fishing and sailing. Mainland residents take tours for the same reason as the tourists: to learn and experience more than they could do on their own.

Rodrigo Donali and Terry Little after a successful day of spearfishing. From left to right: Donali, Little and local guide, Maximo

Rodrigo Donali and Terry Little after a successful day of spearfishing. From left to right: Donali, Little and local guide, Maximo.

Professionals in any field of expertise realize the value of a good tour guide or a good charter boat captain. To a sailor or a fisherman, a local guide is a valuable extension to their own skill set. Part of being a guide is paying attention to what grabs someone’s interest and then having the equipment and expertise to guide them to a place where they can see and do what they are interested in. The vacationer and the guide often end up forming a friendship based on mutual respect. It is that friendship that develops return business for the guide.

Sailors, by nature, are explorers. Fishermen are hunters. The ocean is unpredictable. There is always the promise of suspense and surprise. It is hard to imagine a tour that happens on or under water that does not segue into a unique experience rather than just a day’s activity. Sometimes the goal of the day is to catch enough fish for a nighttime BBQ and a special family celebration on the beach.

El Remanso B&B on Saboga

El Remanso B&B on Saboga.

That was the case when Rodrigo and Barbara Donali hosted their extended family of 10 for over a week on Isla Saboga in the Pearl Islands. For the occasion, family members from Panama City, Mexico and Italy came together on Saboga Island to enjoy each other’s company. El Remanso B&B on Saboga provided two beachfront vacation home rentals.

Isla Saboga

Isla Saboga.

The Saboga Tourism Center (STC) provided concierge services to help the family plan flexible daily activities. Spearfishing with STC guide, Terry Little, became an almost daily activity.

The day’s catch of fish and seafood became as important to the dinner menu as the fishing stories were to the dinner conversation. The fishing, the catching, the cleaning –and sharing the recipes while cooking– were all part of the fun! Sunset dinners became an “all-hands-on-deck” gathering. The Saboga Beach Club was the perfect setting for cookouts, drinks and music.

To get in touch with the STC, visit SabogaTourismCenter.com.


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