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With its beautiful shipwreck sunk in front of the beach, Isla Perro Chico is without a doubt the most notorious snorkeling spot in San Blas islands. Also hosting shallow coral reefs, the island allows snorkelers to discover a vibrant marine life. When snorkeling the island, you’ll have the opportunity to encounter angelfish, groupers, parrotfish, pufferfish and lobsters just a few metres away from the beach.
Isla Perro Chico is a small island in San Blas archipelago. It is located a few hundred meters away from Isla Diablo. 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.
Enter the water from the beach, in front of the area you want to snorkel (the western beach to explore the wreck, the southern beach to discover the reef areas).
There are two different snorkeling areas in Isla Perro Chico: to north-west, a shipwreck, and to south-east, a coral reef.
1/ The shipwreck (area 1 on the map)
The shipwreck is really the main attraction of Isla Perro Chico. It can be easily reached, because it starts only a few tens of meters away from the beach, and it has sunk at an ideal depth for snorkeling (↕0-16ft/0-5m). Pay attention, nevertheless, to the currents, which are pretty frequent in this area. Buoys connected by strings allow snorkelers to grab hold if the current is too strong.
The shipwreck is around 50m-long and it is in the middle of a sandy area. Sunk in 1958, the shipwreck has been colonized throughout the years by many corals and sponges. On the shipwreck you can find fire coral, brain coral, tubular sponge and barrel sponge. Many kinds of fish live on what is now a true reef: parrotfish, scrawled filefish, sergeants, wrasse and trumpetfish are among the most common.
2/ The reef (area 2 on the map)
Here we discover a healthy coral reef, which starts from the beach and stretches gradually towards deeper waters (↕10-65ft/3-20m). On the reef, the underwater life is thriving. On the reef wall you will also discover beautiful gray angelfish, huge parrotfish, colorful damsels, as well as many lobsters, nestled in small rock crevices.
You have two options to spend the night on Isla Perro Chico: find accommodation in a cabaña, or book a camping spot and bring your own tent. Otherwise, you can stay in Isla Diablo (about 200m away from Isla Perro Chico) and arrange for a short boat trip to Isla Perro Chico.
These spots are accessible to anyone with basic snorkeling skills, and feeling comfortable in the water and with his snorkeling gear. You will enter the water from the shore (beach, pontoon, ladder, rocks) or from a boat. The water height in the sea entrance area is reasonable, but you will not necessarily be within your depth. Moderate currents can occur in the area, even when the sea conditions are good. The distance to swim to reach the most interesting snorkeling areas of the spot does not exceed 200 meters.
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.
Coral cay fringed by a coral reef
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
Free shore access
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