Private Panama Surf Island
Have you ever dreamed of surfing in a tropical paradise with perfect warm water waves to yourself? This is your opportunity. We have a surf camp that opened in June 1998 that will fulfill your ultimate wave fantasies. It is located on a small island in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Panama (Gulf of Chiriqui)
There's also diving, fishing, exploring, or just relaxing in a hammock. On the island there is a variety of wild life including monkeys, many types of bird, parrots and deer.
The Surfer Paradise Surf Camp is actually two islands, one being the surf camp island and then a smaller island. The surf camp island has the living accommodations. Cabanas are located on the side of a hill overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Water is supplied by a fresh water spring on top of the hill that has been piped down for drinking and showering. Electricity is supplied by a generator with 110-volt (American style). There's a large sandy beach break directly in front of the surf camp.
Surfing, Surfing, Surfing
The smaller island is about a 30-minute boat ride. This is the island of the largest waves. When the waves are flat everywhere else, you'll find head high wave here on the average. On the north side of the island there are lefthanders going off and on the south side of the island there are right breaking waves. (Something for everyone) We provide two boat trips per day or one major boat trip per day to the various surf breaks, one early in the morning, the next later in morning or early afternoon.
What do I bring?
The weather is tropical, so all you will need is your trunks, sunglasses, warm water wax and alot of sunscreen. Reef shoes are a good idea for coral and rock breaks.
Citizens of the U.S.A. must have a valid passport. There is no visa requirement.
Details & Reservations
All guests will arrive at the International Airport in Panama (PTY) on Saturday. (It’s OK to fly into Panama City on Friday, but we will charge you $85 for the extra day) The taxi driver will meet you at the airport and take you to the bus station for immediate departure to the surf camp. The bus will take you to the town of Guabala', depending on the time of day. The bus trip takes about 5 hours. Our driver will be waiting here to take on the 20 minutes ride to the port. If it is after dark, then you will spend a night in the port at some cabanas that we have built. The next morning, our boat will come ashore to pick you up and take you on a 25 minute trip to the island. The island is located in the Gulf of Chiriqui, about 80 miles from the border of Costa Rica. All food, shelter, daily boat trips are included at the surf camp. Beer, soda and snacks are extra. IMPORTANT NOTE: The surf camp does not start to charge you until you are picked up at Guabala’. That is because up to that point, you are paying the expenses of taxi and bus. So, if you (for example), arrive at Guabala’ at 5 a.m. than that is when the clock starts. The actual daily rate is $107, so if you arrive at the camp Sunday and stay until Friday afternoon, than that is 6 days. 6 x $107 = $642 total. If want to stay an extra day and have an extra day with a Saturday afternoon surf camp departure, that you will be charged 7 days.
Your departure from the island will be Friday afternoon for the trip back to Panama City. We will arrange your last hotel night in the city and your transport from the hotel to the airport for your Saturday airport departure.
If you wish to have extra days with an airport arrival on Friday and/or a airport departure on Sunday, then you will be charged an additional $85 per day.
No more than 15 surfers will be accommodated on the island at one time. I will be taking reservations on a weekly basis and when the week is filled, the week is filled. We want to keep the place un-crowded with maximum surf for each person.
Information about the Repubic of Panama:
Surf Break Descriptions:
We are up to 10 breaks at this time within a short distance of the camp. More discoveries are being made all the time. Some break best on high tide, some on low tide. Here's a description of each:
Emily's: is a left point break, often described as playful. When there's a good swell, getting double barreled on the same wave is possible. With a swell, wave is generally, head high to two feet overhead. Tide: Medium tides.
The Point: Left point break about ½ -mile from camp. Generally breaks, 3-4 foot bigger than Emily's, it is also fast and hollow, making it easy to get barreled on. On a big swell, it has been compared to a Pipeline-type wave. Quite often I have heard people say, "That was the best wave of my life!" Tide: Medium tides.
Sand bar/ Rivermouth break: South of big island, this break is a series of "A frames" up and down a long beach in front of a small island, just south of the main island.
El Toro: surfed at medium tide and breaks both right and left. It is between two major rock formations. .
There four breaks are on outside island. One is a big wave left reef break, next is a smaller, but very fun left reef break, the other a right break reef pass and the last is an island wrapper going right, and should only be surfed at medium to high tide.
With a good swell, the outside island can produce waves that are double to triple overhead. With an average swell, it will generally have 2-4 ft overhead conditions. When the swell is right, one of the breaks on this island has been described as a "G-Land style wave". We've seen surfers get standup barrels at these breaks with spitting tubes.
We also have a two mile long sandy beach breach that is good for beginner surfers and for warming up.
Letters from Customers:
Commonly Asked Questions:
1. Will my girlfriend or wife like it there?
If your girlfriend likes the outdoors, she'll love it. There is fishing, snorkeling, hiking, horseback riding, a long beach you can run/walk with lots of pretty shells she can collect. Though our accommodations are better than camping, she will ONLY enjoy it, if she likes camping.
2. What are the accommodations like?
Oceanfront cabana rooms with a great view and a cool breeze. There is running water for drinking and showering. We have a dining room area for eating and visiting in the evening. We have electricity in the evening hours when we start our generator.
3. When is the best season?
Best chance for double overhead plus waves in from April to October. November to March is more likely to be in the headhigh range. Rainy season is from May to November, dry season is from December to April. Please note, we can not guarantee waves that are either too big or too small for your preference.
4. Do I need any special immunizations?
Tetanus would be good if you haven't had one in the last ten years. No problems with Malaria, Yellow Fever or Hepatitis.
5. How safe is it in Panama?
Recently, a government study on crime in Latin America found Panama with a lower crime rate than Costa Rica, which is typically thought as one of the safest latin american countries to travel to. Panama is rated at the same level as the United States.
6. Do I need a passport?
Yes For a U.S. passport application, go to: http://travel.state.gov/passport/passport_1738.html
7. How far are you from Panama City?
The island is located 250 miles from Panama City going in the direction of Costa Rica. We are on an island in the Gulf of Chiriqui.
8. Can you accommodate vegetarian diets?
Yes. Panama has a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. Please inform us prior to arrival of any special diets.
9. How consistent are your waves?
As consistent as any other surf destination in the world. We have waves most all the time, but we can't guarantee waves 100% of the time. No body can.
10. What is the bathroom like?
We have a flush toilet, sink and shower.
11. What is your preparation for medical emergencies?
We have a fairly extensively medical supply cabinet, so we can handle most minor injuries like cuts and bruises. Our camp workers have some first aid, CPR training, but aren't doctors. We are in phone and radio contact with a local naval base. We are approximately 1 hour to a small country hospital and 1.5 hours from a major city hospital.
12. Is there internet at the surf camp?
The surf camp does have wireless capability through a satellite connection at the port facilities only. Bring your wireless capable device (laptop, Blackberry, etc.,), if you wish to be able to access it.
13. What is not included?
Beer, soda, canned juices, hotel in Panama City, taxis and buses are not included.