The Island of Flowers, its people call it. Hibiscus, oleander, ylang ylang, bougainvillaea, and jasmine. Fragance everywhere.
Prostrate on the beach. Supine on the hotel balcony. Snorkeling on the smooth Southern Sea. Horizontal, watching the earth’s seaborne commerce hastening along the rim of the ocean, bound to or from the Panama Canal. This is the Taboga view of the world.
Taboga is where Francisco Pizarro shoved off to conquer Peru, where pirates laid the groundwork for Hollywood movies, where the artist Paul Gauguin lingered a while on his way to the South Pacific, where half the steamship trade of the Pacific West Coast once was based.
A multi-lane Taboga highway is a footpath upon which two pedestrians may pass without one of them brushing the oleander. During the evenings tourists and Tabogans alike stroll along them, enjoying the pleasant ocean breezes that keep Taboga cooler than the mainland.
Taboga’s tiny church of San Pedro claims to be second-oldest in the hemisphere. The town square is of a size with it. Students of urban sprawl are reminded that Taboga was founded in 1515 or thereabouts.
For all its miniature drowsiness Taboga brought you to Panama as much as it sent Pizarro on his cockleshell way to despoil the Incas. Atop the island are modern radio aids your jet used in navigating you here.
Taboga island offers the hotel Vereda Tropical, perched on a cliff overlooking the beach. Call 250-2154 or 6632-4151.
Cerrito Tropical is another charming hostelry with ocean views. It offers 1-3 bedroom apartments and single B&B rooms. Special services include private chef, water taxi, fishing, beginner`s Spanish lessons and other activities. Call 6489-0074 or check cerritotropicalpanama.com
How to visit Taboga
Regular launch service links Taboga with the mainland. Call Calypso Queen: 390-2402 for more information.
The boat ride from picturesque Amador Causeway, along the Panama Canal, past ships at anchor waiting to transit is an experience in itself.