We woke up to a beautiful sunny day with nothing planned. Sounds like your typical day in paradise, right? We decided to go on another hike, but just as we finished putting on our gear, Aris came to us with another idea.
“Put on your swimsuits,” he said, “– we’re touring some islands.” More than three-dozen major isles and islets surround Isla Palenque, each bringing its own beautiful touch to coastal Chiriqui’s grand collection. Sightseers and beachgoers will be taken aback with the scenes that meet the eye. Our trip was simple, spanning along four islands closest to Palenque. Visible from North Beach, these points become true spectacles when seen up close.
We were curious to see how Isla Ventanas, or “Island of the Windows,” got its name. Tide splashing up shallow cliffs with mangrove trees hanging overhead keeps the area’s natural green motif, but we saw what stood out as soon as we turned the corner. Black juts of rock scatter all along the island’s coast, forming portholes that deliver a new scene with each passing glance.
We then curved around to Isla Linarte, just off the tip of Boca Brava. On Linarte’s far end is a shallow sand bar that, to put it simply, looks like it came straight out of a postcard. Five palm trees, perfectly spaced, some tilted this way and that for artistic effect, stand alone atop a cylindrical beach with light sand and scattered rocks. All those cartoons and comics with someone sitting against a lone palm tree on a small secluded island… this is about as close as you’re gonna get. Our final point was Isla San Jose, a small island north of Palenque with petite sandy shores. This is where we lowered the anchor and jumped in to enjoy the water for ourselves. We had some fun goofing around with the GoPro camera and Aris’s waterproof camera, taking turns jumping off the boat.
We cruised for nearly three hours, though the same trip can be done in less than one, given that each of these islands are just minutes away. It’s quite a bumpy ride with the current (those who get seasick, make note of this), which made it challenging to keep the camera steady for our video shots. But given how picturesque each of these points are, and how many more there are to see, you can’t help but smile about the fact that you are in a truly special place.
Images by Luke Hansen.