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Your Journey to Chiriqui, Panama
The Gulf of Chiriqui, Panama and Isla Palenque represent one of the world’s few remaining “undiscovered” places, of which the broader tourism circuit remains largely unaware. So while the journey here may be a bit longer than to more trafficked destinations, the airports in Panama have comfortable, modern-day terminals, and there is plenty to see along the way. We’ve provided clear instructions for getting here, as well as transport packages within Panama, to guarantee that you will enjoy the journey. Of course, once you arrive to find yourself surrounded by ancient tropical forest with unhindered views of dozens of uninhabited Pacific isles for miles around you – you may find yourself wishing (as we often have) that the journey was even a bit more arduous so that Isla Palenque might always remain a secret paradise known only to those willing to venture off the beaten path.
Directions – A Quick Synopsis of your Trip
AIR. To get to Isla Palenque by plane, you will fly into Tocumen International Airport in Panama City, then take a short connecting flight to Enrique Malek Airport in David, Panama.
Copa Airlines flies to David twice per day, leaving from Tocumen, and you can purchase tickets from many North American cities to David with a layover in Tocumen. In addition, the local airline Air Panama flies from Albrook airport in Panama City (across town from Tocumen) several times per day, and while for some schedules or itineraries this is the better option to get to David, we strongly recommend Copa airlines as the tickets are less expensive and the airline is more reliable.
Once you land in David, we will be waiting to bring you to Isla Palenque by a one-hour combination of car and boat.
To assist with your choice of airline into David, we have a blog post that provides advice and details about your options. In addition, if you want to make your planning quick and easy, we also offer a Panama City Transport Package add-on to simplify travel from Panama City to our island, using Copa airlines.
CAR. For driving directions to Boca Chica, the nearest mainland village to our island, contact us.
Directions – In Detail
- PANAMA CITY, PANAMA. Fly to Tocumen International Airport in Panama City (PTY). Tocumen is Latin America’s main airport hub, and offers direct flights from a growing number of North American cities, including New York, Boston, Washington DC, Miami, Altanta, Houston, Denver, and Los Angeles.
- DAVID, PANAMA. Fly from Panama City to David, the provincial capital of Chiriqui, Panama (30 minutes to 1 hour in duration, depending on the plane). From the moment you land in David, you’ll be in good hands. Look for one of our team members proudly holding an Isla Palenque sign after you exit the luggage area. Hop in our private car (we'll get the bags) for a 45-minute drive to Boca Chica, and from there it's just a fifteen-minute boat ride to the island! (Note: as of fall 2014, and until probably mid-2015, construction on the highway often extends this this trip to an hour or more)
- ISLA PALENQUE, PANAMA. Our regular ferry schedule includes pick ups and drop-offs in Boca Chica at 7am, 11am, 4:30pm, and 8pm, which coincide with Copa's flights. Aboard our comfortable boat, our guide will get you settled-in with a cold drink as you complete your journey to Isla Palenque with a short ride over the open sea. Hold onto your hats and keep your eyes peeled for wildlife – our island sanctuary awaits you.
From Tocumen you can catch a flight to David on Copa Airlines – you can even buy a single ticket to David from cities that have flights with Copa. Alternatively, if you want to spend a night or two in Panama City or if the Copa layover in Tocumen is too long, you can cross town to Albrook airport and fly with Air Panama to David. See our blog posts on Copa Or Air Panama? and The Panama City Layover for advice and details.