Panama’s Gulf of Chiriqui is home to one the best and the most well-rounded fisheries in the world. When you consider the breadth and quality inshore and offshore options here, few places can compete.

The Gulf of Chiriqui is home to some of sportfishing’s most hallowed grounds. Hannibal Bank, Coiba Island, Montuosa and countless rocky outcroppings and high spots that attract and hold fish of all manner. The region’s combination of productive waters and diverse, concentrated bottom topography create a fishing wonderland.

The Gulf of Chiriqui is also home to Isla Parida. Isla Parida is not only an uncommonly beautiful tropical island, but it sits in the midst of the action. Sixteen miles from Ladrones Island. 40 from Coiba. 38 from Montuosa. Isla Parida is not only surrounded by some of the best fishing in the world, but it provides the physical setting for Sport Fish Panama Island Lodge.

What follows is an introduction to one of the Panama’s best kept secrets. A part of the world long known to dedicated offshore fishermen that is now coming to receive its due. It serves as a personal invitation to visit the Sport Fish Panama Island Lodge and to experience for yourself the many charms of Isla Parida and the Gulf of Chiriqui.

A Network of World Class Inshore and Offshore Fishing

Panama’s Pacific coastline is home to thousands of islands. The depth contours and access to the drop off create networks of habitat for inshore and offshore game fish. One particularly interesting aspect of this network of habitat is that it concentrates inshore and offshore species—and opportunities to catch them.

Islands such as Ladrones and Montuosa rise from deep waters. Their rocky shorelines are haunted by roosterfish and cubera snapper. Pinnacles a few hundred yards from shore are home to wahoo and black marlin.

Yellowfin tuna hunt these waters insatiably. The volume of life here is staggering. Frigates, boobies, spinning dolphins.

This place is what fishing dreams are made of.

Were there nothing more than yellowfin here, it would be a fisherman’s dream (there is much more). The tuna travel with pods of porpoise and dolphin. They corral bait at the surface, crashing out of the sea in frenzies unlike anywhere else in the world.

When the bait is stacked up on top, birds dive-bomb the action. Mobs of boobies dive into the sea. Frigate birds swoop down from hundreds of feet above to snag hapless runners or mackerels that jump from the sea or are tossed into the air.

Ever Seen a Fishing Magic Trick?

Bonito schools stack the high spots in many months of the year. Were it not for the enormous variety of predators that eat them here, this place would be bonito heaven.

Want to see a magic trick? We can turn this bonito into a black marlin, a yellowfin, dorado, roosterfish, sailfish, blue marlin, wahoo or cubera snapper.

The consistent presence of these schools of little tuna draw black marlin. The giant pods of big yellowfin don’t miss the chance to snag a bonito. Big roosterfish love them. A bonito on a circle hook is like candy to a big cubera snapper. Sailfish eat the hell out of them. So too do big dorado.

And don’t forget wahoo. The sight of a stud wahoo skying on a live bait—hitting it from underneath and launching itself and the hapless bait 10 feet into the air is something that your eyes will never forget. That everything loves bonito and that bonito are so regularly here is central to the reason that all of our boats are outfitted with tuna tubes. Whatever the day brings, we’re ready.

The Sport Fish Panama Island Lodge

The lodge is based in Isla Parida. The place is something of a tropical wonderland. Our guest rooms, dining room and outdoor bar area face the Gulf of Chiriqui. When you go to sleep here, you do so listening to the sound of waves rolling onto the rocky shoreline that sits 50 feet from your pillow.

The path leading to and from the boats to the lodge. A walk through fruit trees and tropical hardwoods.

After breakfast, you down to the beach where our panga takes you to your boat. To get to the beach, you’ll walk a stone-lined pathway covered in grayish river rock. The path traverses mango trees, coconut palms and tropical hardwoods.

A Part of the Place

The buildings here seem to be part of the place. That’s because they are made from it. The stones that line the pathways were laid down by the team who works here.

You can see the chainsaw marks on the beams of the outdoor dining room. The tree grew on the island. We harvested and processed it here too. It has never left.

The beams that support the dining room, bar and cabins were harvested sustainably- here on the island. We have a guy who runs an Alaska mill. He planes rough cut timber from the trees that we harvest.

We choose them specifically. They are dense enough that you need to drill a hole (with a specialty bit) before you can drive a screw into them. They are dense enough that the termites don’t eat them.

Part of the charm of the lodge lies in the organic way in which it fits the place where its located. Far from pre-fab, made somewhere else and shipped to the island, the team at Sport Fish Panama Island Lodge erected most of the buildings on site. We have a framer who has been building the structures here for more than a decade. He wears many different hats— part host, part manager, part logistics guy.

Our team can describe this place in detail. We’ve built it.

Our Team

The lodge provides stable, long-term employment. It is something of a pillar Panama’s sportfishing landscape. Most of our staff have been with us for years. Captain Juan’s mate is his younger brother, Victor. Victor and Juan’s older brother is the mate on the Fat Cat.

Brothers. The crew of the Sea Toy. Captain Juan and Victor.

Our culinary team takes great pride in transforming the tuna and dorado that we catch into mountains of sashimi, sushi, fried dorado, ceviche, tuna steaks of all manner (seared, grilled, smoked and more). Our team works well together. The smiles you’ll see are not artificial. It has been our experience that if you find good people and you treat them well, good things happen.

Our team of chefs transform the tuna and dorado you catch into meals you’ll remember for a long time.

The Experience

We enjoy this place. We’ve built Sport Fish Panama Island Lodge building by building. We’ve added to our fleet boat by boat. What started with a single cabin and one boat has grown into an upscale, boutique lodge that serves hundreds of guests from all over the world every year. 

We are proud of it. That it is functional is not an accident. We’ve been building physical infrastructure and dialing in logistics to serve a single goal. To be able to consistently and reliably deliver world-class experiences (fishing, dining, and general enjoyment) to those who choose to visit us.

Come see us, we’re ready. Make yourself a drink. They’re cold, they’re here and they’re included in the package.

Our goal is working. We have the reviews and posts to prove it. More than that, it is manifested in the smiles and memories that our guests take with them.

We’d love to put you on the biggest fish of your life. We’d love to show you a roosterfish, a cubera snapper, a black marlin and a 150-plus pound yellowfin tuna. We don’t catch them every trip, but our team is committed to the chase. And, in part because we fish in the Gulf of Chiriqui, we catch these things quite often.

Come See Us

This might sound like we’re bragging on ourselves and the place that we’re creating. We are not. We are simply inviting you and a group of your closest friends or family to come experience this wonderful place alongside of us.

It will be fun. After all, the Gulf of Chiriqui is home to one of the world’s most well-rounded inshore and offshore fisheries. It is also home to Isla Parida and the Sport Fish Panama Island Lodge.