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.

Caribbean trumpetfish at Isla Diablo
Caribbean trumpetfish and brown tang are pretty common around Isla Diablo.

How to get to Isla Diablo snorkeling spot?

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.

Isla Diablo snorkeling map

Water entrance for snorkeling Isla Diablo

Wear your equipment and enter the water from the island’s main beach, next to the volleyball field.

Isla Diablo snorkeling exploration

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.

Coral reef at Isla Diablo, San Blas
Some coral beds are well preserved. On the right, a barrel sponge.

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.

Beau gregory at Isla Diablo
The beau bregory is a colorful fish that can be easily seen in Isla Diablo shallow waters.

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.

Restaurants and accommodation near Isla Diablo

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.




 

  • Level required Beginner
  • Maximum depth3m
  • Water entranceFrom a sandy beach
  • LifeguardNo
  • Visitor numbersMedium
  • Access costsTour price (from $100pp.) or stay on the island. A $22 tax apply to visitors.
  • Restaurants nearbyYes

MAP Spot

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.