Isla Grande

A paved road continues northeast from Portobelo to Isla Grande, and another heads east to Nombre de Dios (25 km) and Palenque. Scuba-diving is offered at several places along the way. The road passes through
Garrote
and
La Guaira
, from where
pangas
can be hired at the car park to cross to
Isla Grande
. The island is a favourite because of its relaxed lifestyle, fishing, scuba-diving and snorkelling, windsurfing and dazzling white palm-fringed beaches. The best beaches are enclosed in front of the two expensive hotels, but you should be able to use them. A good, more public beach, is on a spit before
Hotel Isla Grande
. The island's 300 black inhabitants make a living from fishing and coconut cultivation, and a powerful French-built lighthouse crowns the small island's northern point, where there is a mirador, reached by steep path. There are a number of colourful African-tinged festivals held here throughout the year, particularly on 24 June, 16 July and the pre-Lenten Carnival with
Congos
. The part of the village to the right of the landing stage is more lively with competing salsa sounds.

This is edited copy from Footprint Handbooks. For comprehensive details (incl address, tel no, directions, opening times and prices) please refer to book or individual chapter PDF
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