One of the most famous islands in San Blas is Dog Island also known as Isla Perro in Panama. It might even offer the cleanest water in the world and is therefore one of the top snorkeling places in Guna Yala. The island is located not far east from the main Island El Porvenir and lies next to Isla Diablo (Niadup). You can reach Dog Island from the mainland in about one hour of sailing or with the water taxi’s. The one thing that makes Dog Island so special is the shipwreck in front of it shores. Here you’re able to snorkel and uncover the leftovers of an old army gunboat that Mother Nature has taken over throughout the years.
Dog Island is also know as Isla de Perro or Gunboat Island
Snorkeling and beach games on Dog Island in Panama
Dog Island is one of the favorite destinations in the San Blas Islands of many tourists because of its excellent location and facilities. It is one of the islands that offer camping facilities, some kind of a bar and a volleyball court. In addition, it is a top snorkeling place because of the old navy shipwreck of a gunboat. If the tide is low you can see its rusty bow sticking out of the sea, when the tide is up you can snorkel over and around it and find yourself in a magical place full of life.
The marine life that has settled on the wreck near Dog Island carries a great variety of colors and shapes. You can find fish of all sizes hunting around the smaller fish that are hiding within the ships leftovers. Large coral fans go up and down with the strong currents and tides and offer shelter for the creatures that walk the ocean floor. Be sure to check out Dog Islands snorkeling spots if you’re a fan of underwater adventures. It is one of the best places in Panama and the world to snorkel!
Staying the night at Dog Island
Photo credits: Eduzemog
While the islands isn’t that big it does offer a place to stay for the night and enjoy the beautiful sunset. Dog Island has around 30 campsites with comfortable tents offering shelter against the elements. In the evening there is always a large bonfire that never lights up without a coco loco or some local beers. If you’re lucky and the New Moon is here you might be able to encounter bioluminescence in the water. This spectacular effect is the production of emission of light by a living organism. In San Blas little squids and plankton are causing the bioluminescence. Be sure to check your feet when you enter the water because the lights can be small and dim but look like the fish are having a mini disco.
When the New Moon shines on Dog Island you can encounter bioluminescence in the ocean waters. Just walk into the shallow waters and be aware of the mini fish-disco that is happening around your feet.
Getting to Dog Island is easy
How to get to Dog Island is very easy. The Island is located centrally in the Kuna Yala region and can be reached by sailboat or water taxi. You can go there on your own without making any reservations but many tourist prefer a daytrip via one of the booking agencies that operate in San Blas. You can easily go from anywhere in San Blas to Dog Island by boat within one hour. Most hotels & lodges will also offer you tours to go there. Be sure to bring your snorkel gear if you don’t plan to go with an organized trip as you can’t rent them there.