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Isla Diablo is one of the most frequented islands in the San Blas archipelago. This tiny island (300 meters-large at most) located in quiet Caribbean Sea is bordered by a beautiful coral reef. Wear your snorkel gear on and enter the water from the beach to explore the underwater wonders of this site, including hundreds of colorful fish and gorgeous sea stars.
Isla Diablo (also called Niadup in Guna) is a small island in San Blas archipelago. It is located a few hundred meters away from Isla Perro Chico. You can choose to stay for a few days on the islands (by taking a boat in Puerto Carti and booking some nights in the island’s cabañas, by far the most affordable option) or to visit them during trips (departing from Panama City, expect to pay at least $ 110-130 per person for 2 days/1 night). The foreigners must pay a $22 fee to enter Guna Yala territory.
Wear your equipment and enter the water from the island’s main beach, next to the volleyball field.
The snorkel area covers the small coral reef extending along Isla Diablo beach, on the best-sheltered side of the island. Isla Perro Chico, where a nice shipwreck can be explored (see map above), is only a short distance from the spot (about 150 meters). However, it is impossible to swim there from Isla Diablo because of dangerous currents occurring through the pass.
Leaving from the beach, you will discover a shallow coral reef extending over about 50 meters. Sea ginger (Millepora alcicornis), sea lettuce (Agaricia agaricites) are dominant in the decently preserved reef. A few elkhorn corals (Acropora palmata) can also be seen amongst them. The reef also shelters a nice diversity of sea sponge species, notably barrel sponges and red or pale purple tubular sponges.
The reef teems with life, and you will encounter numerous species of colorful fish during your exploration: schools of dozens of Atlantic blue tangs, gorgeous stoplight parrotfish, trumpetfish, colorful Spanish hogfish, grunts hiding underneath corals… Yellow and orange cushion starfish can also sometimes be spotted on sandy areas located beyond the reef.
There are two guesthouses on Isla Diablo (full-board cabañas). Another option is to stay in Isla Perro Chico, about 200 meters from there, and arrange a short boat trip to Isla Diablo.
These snorkeling spots are accessible to beginners and kids. You will enter the water gradually from a beach, or in a less than 3ft. deep area. The sea is generally calm, shallow, with almost no waves or currents. These spots are usually located in marked and/or monitored swimming areas. It is not necessary to swim long distances to discover the sea life.This level only apply when the spot experiences optimal sea and/or weather conditions. It is not applicable if the sea and/or weather conditions deteriorate, in particular in the presence of rough sea, rain, strong wind, unusual current, large tides, waves and/or swell. You can find more details about the definition of our snorkeling levels on our snorkeling safety page.
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Snorkeling spots are part of a wild environment and their aspect can be significantly altered by weather, seasons, sea conditions, human impact and climate events (storms, hurricanes, seawater-warming episodes…). The consequences can be an alteration of the seabed (coral bleaching, coral destruction, and invasive seagrass), a poor underwater visibility, or a decrease of the sea life present in the area. Snorkeling Report makes every effort to ensure that all the information displayed on this website is accurate and up-to-date, but no guarantee is given that the underwater visibility and seabed aspect will be exactly as described on this page the day you will snorkel the spot. If you recently snorkeled this area and noticed some changes compared to the information contained on this page, please contact us.
The data contained in this website is for general information purposes only, and is not legal advice. It is intended to provide snorkelers with the information that will enable them to engage in safe and enjoyable snorkeling, and it is not meant as a substitute for swim level, physical condition, experience, or local knowledge. Remember that all marine activities, including snorkeling, are potentially dangerous, and that you enter the water at your own risk. You must take an individual weather, sea conditions and hazards assessment before entering the water. If snorkeling conditions are degraded, postpone your snorkeling or select an alternate site. Know and obey local laws and regulations, including regulated areas, protected species, wildlife interaction and dive flag laws.
Shallow wreck and reef drop off with coral and fish
Shallow lagoon with seagrass meadows and hard coral
Coral and sponges reef with lots of fish
Shallow seagrass flats with sea stars and juvenile fish
Mangrove and seagrass flats with sea stars and fish
Sandy beach and mangrove with fish and sea stars
Level: Free shore access