Islas Secas or the Secas Islands are a group of about 16 deserted islands off of the Pacific Coast of Western Panama. Only one island has an eco-friendly resort, while the others remain completely uninhabited (to my knowledge). Due to the fact that they are quite far from the shore, they are seldom visited and as such hold some of the most beautiful and unspoiled reefs in Panama.
The islands are all volcanic and all together constitute about 1,000 hectares. They are also quite young islands and broke off from the mainland sometime between 10,000 and 20,000 years ago. My parents were visiting from the States, so we decided to have a little fun and go check it out.
The reef here was just unbelievable! We saw dolphins, sea turtles, and tons of vibrant fish! Below is a dolphin off in the distance.
The ecosystem here is rich in biodiversity and many marine species reproduce in this area. In fact, according to the Islas Secas Resort, there are over 800 different species of fish and 33 species of shark! This includes reef-tipped sharks, tiger sharks, bull sharks, hammerheads, and guitar sharks. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see any sharks on my visit.
My mom even tried to be an otter. I think it was working pretty well for her.
There were all sorts of color morphs of the Guineafowl Puffer (Arothron meleagris) above. They can reach 50cm in length. I don’t understand how being yellow is a good adaptation…but who knows!
I also learned how to open a beer with a shell- certainly a useful task when you live in Panama. Of course the next best thing was to drink that beer in the warm Pacific Ocean right after :)
And of course, I was overjoyed when I found my first sea slug in Panama! I’m not sure what species this is, but I’m working on identifying it. There was this one tide pool on one of the islands that just had tons of them! I was in heaven.
I have no idea what this thing is. It looked like an sea version of a millipede. If anyone has any ideas, please let me know! Definitely one of the coolest animals I’ve ever seen.
Alas, the Secas were absolutely beautiful. I had an amazing time with my parents and the sea life was spectacular. I begged them to leave me on one of the islands- any of them would have been perfect. They had to drag me home, but I did get to fit in a little vaulting before we left. The Secas Islands are definitely worth a visit if you’re in Western Panama. Happy travels ~B