Panamania Day 8: Taboga Island, and Adios Panama

November 29, 2019 0 By Audrey

Our last day in Panama was the biggest challenge yet. Every day being in a foreign country is like a series of puzzles, and this day we planned to take a taxi to a ferry to an island and then reverse and make it back to our hotel without getting stranded along the way. All en español.

Getting from the hotel to the marina was easy enough. We then picked the Taboga Island Express to take us to the island and told our taxi driver to return at 4:30pm to pick us up, giving us a full day on the island.

$20/person round-trip tickets purchased, and we were on our way!

Guiding us to the island was the friendliest Brown Booby ever.

And Magnificent Frigatebirds stood out in the skies.

Adult female
Juvenile

It was a nice boat ride, but this was no pelagic trip. No stopping for birds, so I took quick photos from the boat as we whizzed by (bird-covered) islands, and it wasn’t until after that I found a Gray-lined Hawk hidden behind branches in one of my photos.

Iguana for scale

And in another photo I found the best bird of all, a Blue-footed Booby!!!!

In good spirits we eventually arrived at Taboga Island.

We’d made it to the island! And immediately had to use the bathroom. Oh, wait, what? Hold up.

We had to pay-to-pee! Luckily we had enough change on hand (Pro tip: go on the boat for free).

We walked the beach and looked around. The shoreline was small and not too crowded.

We sat on the rocks by the sand and considered swimming, but the tide was up, and there were signs about strong currents.

Great-tailed Grackle-Tropical Kingbird

What about the birds? Well, there were Tropical Kingbirds, Great-tailed Grackles, and a Spotted Sandpiper to start.

Spotted Sandpiper-Great-tailed Grackle

The best was a Yellow-headed Caracara.

And a lifer hummingbird on the island, a cute little Garden Emerald.

The island had so much potential, but it was slow. It was a quiet Monday morning and I’m not sure if it was the overcast skies, the closed shops, the rental chair, umbrella, and bathroom fees, or maybe the stray dogs and garbage, but we weren’t exactly feeling the island vibe.

We’d been there an hour and knew we wouldn’t stay for the next 50 cent bathroom break. If we didn’t catch the next ferry back, it would be another 5 hours on the island. Knowing what we had to do, we bid the Neotropic Cormorant despedida.

And boarded the return ferry, following Brown Booby buoys back to the mainland.

I was proud of us, and when we returned to the marina we became the luckiest Americans in Panama because the only ticket agent who spoke English also happened to be a friend of our taxi driver and she had his phone number. She saved us a half a day’s time on our last day, it couldn’t have worked out better. We made it back to the hotel in time to relax, pack up, and have a nice dinner out.

Panama achievement unlocked! It was amazing. Our whole trip went so smoothly. Our flights were good, the hotel was comfy, the food was tasty, people were friendly, traffic was (insanely) scary, we had the best bird guide. We made it out unscathed and richer for the whole experience. I will miss those Panamanian birds like nothing else and I’m so grateful for my mom’s company and adventurous spirit.

8 days, 197 species, 144 life birds and it all went by in a blur.

Until next time, Panama.

Adiós,

Audrey