- 1-2 nights all included package
- Paddling, snorkeling, beach ...
- Spaniard Fortress
- Caribbean Islands
- Gateway: Panama City
|Mamey Island, is a place full of peace and quiet to relax and unwind a bit, not in isolation, since it is fairly accessible. People are very friendly and there is a beautiful landscape, characteristic of our Panama. This is a small island (about 4000 m2) in the Costa Arriba of Colon province, just 200 meters from shore and just over one nautical mile from the community of Puerto Lindo-part of Portobelo National Park. To the east is the larger island and beyond Linton, Isla Grande.|
If you do a bit of research about Panama, you begin to quickly realize that it has a few distinct regions or zones. One of the most popular among them is the central area that is home to the capital-Panama City as well as some other provinces. Additionally, you may learn that Panama is surrounded by many archipelagos and islands. This was part of its initial appeal to Europeans who saw the area as sheltered and quite promising.
This is one of the reasons that the Colon Province was (and remains) a hub of business and commerce. Sitting close to Panama City, Colon is where you will find the world's second largest duty-free zone, and where finance and industry are still important sources of income. Perhaps this is why so many people overlook the area around Colon as a place of natural beauty and wonder. Perhaps they think - business, banking, and shipping and forget that it is also Panama.
Panama is Naturally Beautiful
It is important to remember that Panama is a remarkable republic because of its dedication to land preservation and protection. More than 20% of its land is held as national parks, and more than 30% remains jungle. Even the remaining indigenous people are given protected status and encouraged to retain their culture through a great deal of autonomy.
This emphasis on the more important things in life spills over on the people of Panama too, and most are happy to meet travelers. Visitors quickly discover that locals are more than glad to speak with them, share information about their homeland, and offer recommendations about where to go, what to do, where to eat, and so much more.
Visitors to the Colon Province are often pleasantly surprised by the friendliness of the people in the rural area, and particularly those who inhabit the small islands in the Costa Arriba region. This is where Mamey Island is located just 200 meters from shore, and where you can enjoy a truly delightful kayaking adventure.
View Isla Mamey in a larger map
We will pick you up at your Panama City hotel lobby at 7:00 AM and head northeast reaching La Guaira two hours later. It is from there that we can pack our kayaks with gear and warm up by paddling over to nearby Isla Grande. We stop for lunch at this gorgeous spot, do a some stretching, and even take some time to check out the charming little town. When we are done with Isla Grande we turn our attention to Mamey Island.
Along the way we pass Cabra and Linton Islands, and may have some time to explore the coral reefs, mangroves, and some coastal areas of the island before heading ashore and setting up camp around 4:00 PM. By 6:00 PM that evening we will all be relaxing around a cozy camp fire and getting rested for our next day of paddling.
A Day Around Mamey Island
We wake up and enjoy breakfast around 8:00 AM and then take down the camp, leaving no sign that we were there. We spend time on the nearby beach, do a bit of snorkeling, and some paddling around the area before we return to the mainland and pack our gear for the ride home. The trip back includes a stop in historic Portobelo, where we enjoy lunch and make a brief tour if time allows. We should be back in your hotel anytime in the afternoon after 2:00 PM.
(NOTE: If you have chosen the three day trip, you will be able to enjoy two nights of camping on the island, and during the second day we will visit more coral reefs and explore the waters of the area in greater depth.)
The trips include camping in tents, dinners, breakfasts, and lunches.
Further Details about Your Trip
Remember that Mamey island is part of Portobelo National Park, and this ensures that anyone kayaking in its waters is in for a treat. Consider the following description:
"This coastline includes important stretches of coral reefs, mangrove swamps, coastal lagoons and beautiful beaches, where every year four species of marine turtle, including the threatened hawksbill, come to nest. Within the park is one of the more beautiful natural harbors of all the Caribbean, the bay of Portobelo" (Elotrolado, 2014)
This area was the first national park in all of Panama. It encompasses a tropical rain forest, is surrounded by coral reefs, and has all of the different varieties of mangroves. It contains both cultural and historic spots, and is obviously a fascinating placeto enjoy one or two days of paddling and exploration.
Traveling to the island, you see that it is relatively uninhabited. There are a few scattered huts and hammocks, and a lovely field that is open for camping, but for the most part, the island is a destination that you will have almost entirely to yourself. The larger island of Isla Grande is nearby and may also serve as a spot for accommodation if someone else has beat you to the island on the day of your trip.
The other "residents" of Mamey Island won't complain. After all, you will find that you do have to share it with the many beautiful birds and seabirds that make a home on the island too. The small strip of beach is often covered with shells, and there are coral reefs that you can enjoy from the comfort of your kayak or from the shore. There is also a gentle hiking path that can be used by visitors without putting any of the land birds, or their nests, at risk.
The only "downside" to a kayaking adventure to Mamey Island is that it may not be an option for much longer. Spain purchased the island not long ago and it is actually currently listed for sale.
So, be sure to book a trip to Mamey Island soon because it may not be open to the public in the near future- when one will approach this secret island getaway only to see that it is now "Private Property" and a paradise lost to visitors!
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
WHAT DOES IT INCLUDE ? All mentioned transportation, expedition kayaks and snorkel gear, guides, tents, sleeping pads, camping gear, and meals. Our guides are trained in kayak navigation skills, first-aid and CPR.
WHO CAN GO ? Any person from twelve to seventy years old, in good health. Minors must travel with a responsible adult.
WHAT SHOULD YOU TAKE ALONG ? A pair of shorts for navigating, sneakers or strapped sandals, a cap, sun-block, a light jacket or windbreaker (in case of rain), a blanket, a towel and a dry set of clothes for the trip back.
It's very important to pack only what you will require and use. Also, make sure you pack it so that it'll stay dry, including your sleeping clothes and blanket.
WHAT SHOULD NOT BE BROUGHT ? Any object than can be deteriorated by water or valuables like jewels, cash, credit cards, etc. Anything that you wont use such as extra clothing, make up, etc.
1 night : USD $ 375.00 per person
2 nights : USD $ 525.00 per person
Minimum 4 persons.
Year around. The rainy season in Panama starts in April-May and ends by November-December.
A strong north wind blows January through March, and the water is cooler. The rest of the year there are chances of rain but usually there is better visibility for snorkeling, less waves, and the water is warmer.
Mamey Island is a favorite local destination. For that reason we wont dare to visit on weekends or holidays. It will be crowded, guaranteed.
Also, since it is a private island, its owner my change visiting policy any time. If for any reason we can not camp on it there are close by alternatives.
Garbage can be a problem. This is not a remote location. It is heavily visited during weekends and we have no control over others garbage disposal habits. We do our best to keep it clean and make sure our groups sticks to our "leave no trace behind policy". Local people also do their best to keep it clean since it brings tourism income.