Panama’s Islas Secas Reopening November 19

Islas Secas, a privately owned archipelago of 14 islands in the Gulf of Chiriquí, Panama, will reopen on November 19, 2021. Located 33 nautical miles from the nearest town, Islas Secas is home to four individually designed Casita sites and three Tented Casitas, sleeping up to a total of just 24 guests on one of the islands. Each Casita has its own outdoor deck, plunge pool and thatched-roof cabana.  

A few hours west of Panama City, the Gulf of Chiriquí lies along Panama’s Pacific coast, extending from the Costa Rican border to the west to the Azuero Peninsula on the east. This largely undisturbed region is home to one of the largest coral reefs in the Pacific, beautiful beaches and two protected marine parks. The Gulf of Chiriquí National Marine Park spreads across 36,423 acres and protects islands, reefs, mangroves and innumerable varieties of marine and terrestrial wildlife.

To that end, Islas Secas is an excellent base from which to undertake marine safaris and immersive natural experiences. Guests can snorkel and dive to experience the biodiversity of Coiba National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site; swim and paddle board across the archipelago’s fish-rich waters; or witness migrating Humpback whales as two different populations visit the Gulf. There is a small population that migrates from feeding areas in the north that is seen between December and April, while between July and October, a much larger population migrates from feeding areas off Antarctica and Chile.   

For birdwatchers: A brief boat ride to Islas Coco, one of the Secas islands, will reveal the second-largest colony of soaring frigates in Panama. Visitors can watch the birds dive and catch prey in mid-flight. The rare brown-footed boobies also make their home on Isla Coco. Back on Islas Cavada, over two miles of groomed trails are available for those who want to explore the forests in search of dozens of other species of bird that live or visit the archipelago.

Holistic Wellness

Islas Secas

The new spa comprises two luxury couples’ treatment tents. Set within jungle foliage, the spa is located at the center of the resort. The tents are open to the elements and immersed in the jungle, inviting its visitors for a tropical, restorative and grounding wellness experience.  

In keeping with the resort’s eco-conscious ethos, products are ethical, organic where possible and natural, taking inspiration from plants endemic to the island such as coconuts and ylang ylang. Even salt scrubs are locally handmade using sea water right from the bay. Signature treatments include the Big Chill massage, featuring cold stones to ease muscles and headaches, aromatherapy misting to cool and rehydrate, and elements of Thai massage and bamboo rolling to stretch and gently work muscles. 

Pretty cool: Within each of the resort’s Casitas, guests will discover their own “Secascent Box,” a handcrafted box that contains nine delicate bottles of pure organic essential oils that allow visitors to blend their own bespoke oils and body lotions.  


Islas Secas

Islas Secas is considered an environmentally protected area under Panamanian law; thus, the property’s energy is solar-generated, food scraps are composted, wastewater is reused for irrigation and three-quarters of the archipelago has been left untouched. 

Protecting Panama’s natural heritage is a driving force at Islas Secas, and the retreat has expanded that ethos to support local community projects in the Chiriquí region. The privately funded Islas Secas Foundation supports conservation nonprofits, including Panama Audubon Society, MarViva, Wetlands International, Pacifico, Global Fishing Watch and Panacetacea. Their work includes creating transparency for illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing in Panamanian waters, mangrove restoration, marine area protection and spatial planning, and humpback whale monitoring, as well as environmental education in Chiriqui. 

Good to know: Rates at Islas Secas include all F&B, one spa treatment per guest per stay, and a variety of activities on and off-island. Islas Secas now offers a direct one-hour flight from Panama City to the Secas Archipelago aboard the resort’s Twin Otter private plane transfer service (operated by Air Panama), seating up to 15 passengers per trip.

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