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Tropical Oasis - Secluded, Unspoiled Beaches on Saboga

Bedrooms 2
Space 278 m²
Property type house
Minimum Stay 2 nights


About the property

Studio Apartment Directly Over The Beach

Our listing is for one of our two studio apartments on the lower level of our home. Each apartment will accommodate 2 adults and up to 2 children. We also have 2 upper bedroom suites for larger groups that cannot all fit into one of the apartments.

*Please note - if your party is larger than 4 people, VRBO's pricing matrix will be incorrect. The studio apartments will each sleep 4 maximum. Larger parties will need one or both of our upper bedroom suites as well, Please contact us for a custom quote if you need the additional space. In total we can accommodate parties of up to 8 adults and 8 children.*

Isla Saboga is a nature lover's paradise. Unspoiled beaches and tropical jungle only 35 miles from Panama City, at the gateway to the Pearl Islands. If you can imagine what Hawaii must have been like 100 years ago, before all the development during the 20th century, you can perhaps begin to appreciate what Isla Saboga and the Pearl Islands has to offer. It is perhaps one of the world's last unspoiled archipelagos, and the fact that it is only 35 miles from vibrant Panama City makes it even more special.

Our home is part of the El Encanto beach development, an eco-friendly grouping of tree-top villas overlooking the beaches on the west side of Isla Saboga. El Encanto has a palapa-style restaurant on the beach, which supplies kayaks, beach chairs and umbrellas, and also coordinates activities such as fishing and sailing for guests.

Our studio apartments are located beneath our main house, and are hotel-room sized units with a queen bed and an additional queen sofa bed to accommodate up to 4 guests. They have a well equipped kitchen, flat screen TV with satellite, and fully tiled bath.

Air conditioning and a ceiling fan are included as well for those few days when the sea breeze lies down.

A wood deck with patio furniture and a concrete patio overlook the beach only 75 feet away.

For US TV history buffs, the 7th and 8th seasons of 'Survivor' were filmed on here Saboga, and an additional season was later shot here in the Pearl Islands as well. 'Survivor' is now an international franchise, and Turkey has just completed filming its own 'Survivor' on neighboring Mogo Mogo island.

Whale watching is a favorite activity during the months of July and August, when the humpback whales from Antarctica migrate here to the Bay of Panama to give birth to their calves and escape the cold Antarctic winter. Whales are regularly observed directly from shore, and you can hire a boat to get an even closer look. The Panama Whale Watching Tours operates out of neighboring Contadora, and offers daily tours from July through mid-October.

More Details

Lee and Jennifer Scott
Member since: 2013
Speaks english
Response time
Within a few hours
Response rate
Calendar last updated:
9 February, 2017

About Lee and Jennifer Scott

Jennifer is a retired US Army Lt. Colonel., and Lee is a retired computer programmer from Birmingham, AL. Jennifer grew up near Sturbridge, MA, but with a career in the Army, has lived all over the place.

We first visited Isla Saboga in October of 2009, looking for a place to retire and do some sailing, and immediately fell in love with the island. We went home, sold our house, quit our jobs, and in June of 2012, we sailed our sailboat here with our two toy Australian Shepherds to begin a new life.

Lee and Jennifer Scott purchased this house in 2012

Why Lee and Jennifer Scott chose Panama

On our first visit, we were stunned by how natural, unspoiled and undeveloped the Pearl Islands are. They are perhaps among the last of the original tropical island environments left on the earth. And to be located only 35 miles from Panama City and its international airport is truly remarkable. The quantity and variety of sea life, birds, whales, etc. in the bay of Panama is amazing.

Isla Saboga is located just next door to Contadora Island. But, Isla Saboga is nothing at all like Contadora, however. Where Contadora is almost fully developed, with roads, some shopping, restaurants and hotels, Isla Saboga is, in contrast, a nature-lover's paradise. Unspoiled, deserted beaches, with miles of tropical forest to explore, Saboga is just now beginning to be developed, and the development is being done in an environmentally friendly and sustainable way.

What made us select this particular location was the view of the ocean. We are set back just enough from the beach that our view includes not only the water, but also the trees, mangroves, and palms that make the house feel a bit private and secluded, even though we are right on the beach.

There is a steep hillside to our left, and the edge of the El Encanto property to our right, so we are in our own private world, with our own private beach in front of us. The beach, while technically public (as are all beaches in Panama), is only accessible from the adjacent beach at low tide.

What makes this house unique

There are 2 ferriees that come out to Saboga from the city, and both bring you directly to the dock where we will meet you and bring you back to the house. One ferry leaves from the Trump Hotel in Punta Pacifica. Another ferry also comes to Saboga leaving from the Balboa Yacht Club.

El Encanto itself has a nice beach club with a restaurant. Beach chairs and umbrellas are available, as are activities like kayaking, snorkeling, and beach volleyball. Fishing, scuba diving, sailing and exploring the neighboring islands can be easily arranged as well.

Contadora, the most developed of the Pearl Islands, is only 15 minutes away by panga.

At present, other than the small fishing village (population 400) across the island, there is only one other expat family living here. There are a couple of small stores in the village, but they sell little more than eggs, bread, milk and beer. So, most of your groceries will need to come with you. Contadora has a better selection of goods, but the cost will be about twice what it would cost you in the city. For longer stays, groceries can also be delivered out to the island by the ferry.

Guestbook comments from the owner

Isla Saboga was more than a tropical vacation spot. It was also a place to meet new friends and explore a relatively undeveloped forest. The views were amazing. The villa was comfortable and the people very warm and friendly. There was excitement and thrills as well as peace and tranquility on this vacation. I definitely recommend it to those seeking an adventure!
May 2013
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Accommodation and facilities for this holiday house rental in Saboga

Property Type:
  • house
  • Guests provide their own meals
  • Housekeeper Optional
Floor Area:
  • 278 m²
House Rules:
  • Max. occupancy: 12
  • non smoking only
  • pets not allowed
  • not suitable for children ...
  • Minimum Age Limit for Renters ...
Location Type:
  • Beachfront ...
  • Village ...
  • Adventure
  • Away From It All
  • Family
  • Romantic
  • Sports & Activities
  • Air Conditioning ...
  • Clothes Dryer ...
  • Internet ...
  • Linens Provided
  • Telephone ...
  • Towels Provided ...
  • Washing Machine ...
  • Coffee Maker ...
  • Dishes & Utensils ...
  • Kitchen ...
  • Microwave ...
  • Oven ...
  • Refrigerator ...
  • Stove ...
  • Dining ...
  • Dining Area
  • seating for 2 people
  • 4 Bathrooms
  • Hummingbird Bathroom - toilet , shower enclosure , Ensuite with twin sinks.
    Eagle Bathroom - toilet , shower enclosure , Ensuite with twin sinks
    Green Parrot Bathroom - toilet , shower enclosure
    Sandpiper Studio Bath - toilet , shower enclosure , Fully tiled bath
  • The Sandpiper studio bathroom is fully tiled, floor to ceiling, with very attractive large Italian tiles. The Green Parrot studio Bathroom has a tiled floor and shower.
  • 2 Bedrooms, Sleeps 12
  • Hummingbird - 1 extra lg. double bed , 1 child bed , Deck overlooking beach. Inflatable mattress for children
    Eagle - 1 extra lg. double bed , 1 child bed , Inflatable mattress for kids. Bed can separate into twins.
    Sandpiper Studio Apartment - 1 large double bed , 1 sofa bed/futon , Sofa bed is queen size
    Green Parrot Studio Apartment - 1 extra lg. double bed , 1 sofa bed/futon
  • In the studio apartment, the kitchen and bedroom share the same space. The room has a high wood beamed ceiling with a ceiling fan and split-unit air-conditioning. A flat panel TV is mounted on the wall opposite the bed. A leather couch/sofa bed serves to handle the extra sleeping accomodations when necessary. Just outside the sliding glass doors is a wood deck with railings overlooking the beach. One of the upper bedrooms (Eagle), has a private deck overlooking the beach. It also has a king bed and tiled ensuite bath. The other bedroom (Hummingbird) has a king bed, tiled ensuite bath, and terrific view of the jungle and the beach below. It has a small deck overlooking the beach.
  • DVD Player ...
  • Music Library ...
  • Satellite / Cable ...
  • Stereo ...
  • Television ...
  • Video Library ...
  • Boat ...
  • Deck / Patio ...
  • Kayak / Canoe ...
  • Outdoor Grill ...
  • Water Sports Gear ...
  • wheelchair inaccessible ...
Leisure Activities:
  • beachcombing
  • bird watching
  • boating
  • eco tourism
  • photography
  • shelling
  • sight seeing
  • walking
  • whale watching
  • wildlife viewing
Sports & Adventure Activities:
  • deepsea fishing
  • fishing
  • hiking
  • jet skiing
  • kayaking
  • mountain biking
  • sailing
  • diving
  • snorkelling
  • snorkeling/diving
  • bay fishing
  • surf fishing
  • surfing
  • swimming
  • water skiing
  • wind-surfing
Grocery shopping on Saboga is very basic. You recommend you bring your food with you when you come, or you can eat at the beach club restaurant nearby. If you don't have the time or inclination to grocery shop before coming out, we can recommend the concierge service we use. They will shop for you and deliver the items to you in the city, or they can deliver them directly to the ferry on the morning you depart. We also have a neighbor who prepares meals to order. With a few hours notice, she can prepare meals and deliver them here to the house.


Exceptional! 5/5 -
(29 traveller reviews)

Tropical Oasis - Secluded, Unspoiled Beaches on Saboga
average rating of 4.965517 based on 31 reviews

Relaxation Oasis

  • 5 of 5

We had an extended stay of 26 days at El Remanso and would definitely recommend it to anyone who wants to relax, unwind and enjoy the outdoors. The accommodation is extremely comfortable and all amenities are up to date. Hosts Jennifer and Lee are on site to assure that everything you need is available and quickly respond to any questions. From Saboga you can arrange visits to some of the other Pearl Islands, but without leaving the island there are many beaches to explore and for the most part you you have the beach to yourself. Jennifer and Lee readily helped with arrangements to make the most of our stay in the area. Beautiful sunsets were a highlight each day, and getting over to the nearby beach club restaurant gave us an opportunity to further socialize. As experienced travellers and users of vrbo and other similar rental sites, we found that Jennifer and Lee provided an unsurpassed level of service to us. We will definitely be returning.

  • Review Submitted: Feb 13, 2017
  • Date of Stay: Jan 2017
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
Owner's Response: Thanks for the wonderful review! You guys were wonderful guests and it was a real pleasure having you stay with us.
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  • 5 of 5

Had a wanderfull stay at El Remanso, the apartment has all the amenities one could possibly expect and certainly more than expected for such remote location with good wi-fi, Directv, hot water and a full kitchen. Location is espectacular and Lee and Jennifer are very accomodating hosts

  • Review Submitted: Nov 30, 2016
  • Date of Stay: Nov 2016
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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  • 5 of 5

I really want to say I hated it all! But only to keep ppl off the Island LOL

3 days, so many empty beaches! I felt like we were the only ppl there. We definitely need to go back, 3 days was not enough time to experience everything. Jennifer was awesome. Our room was awesome. Their dogs were awesome too! :)

That's all I can say. Awesome. Amazing. Awesome. Amazing.

Only negative was the down pour that soaked our luggage while we waited for the ferry. But can't blame our hosts for the weather. ;)

  • Review Submitted: Sep 20, 2016
  • Date of Stay: Sep 2016
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
Owner's Response: Thanks for your review! And sorry about the luggage getting wet. It's the rainy season, and those thunderstorms just can't be controlled! Our power was out for 24 hours, which has never happened before!
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Beautiful house with amazing hosts!

  • 5 of 5

I have put off this review for a while but have wanted to come add to the many positive reviews. I went with a group of friends and we rented the entire house for five days. The location could not be more perfect. Endless beautiful, unspoiled beaches line the shore of this island. It is quiet, relaxing, and mesmerizing. The house itself is gorgeous with top-line amenities, and was only recently built. That said: the BEST aspect of the trip was Jennifer and Lee. Jennifer made great recommendations on what to do on the island and made sure that we always had everything we needed. The breakfast Lee prepared was incredible each and every morning. Both made sure that all of us had an amazing time, and treated us all like family. Thank you both for an amazing vacation and wonderful memories!

  • Review Submitted: May 11, 2016
  • Date of Stay: Jan 2016
  • Source: HomeAway
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Wales, UK

Great B&B on a wonderful Island

  • 5 of 5

We had 3 great days on Saboga away from the tourists. The beach nearly for us alone. Jennifer and Lee were great, showed us the village and brought us to the ferry. They had everything there you need for a great vacation on an island. Its a really nice place to stay. Great view on the patio, nice to snorkel a bit and swim in ocean.

If we come again to Panama we will definitely go to El Remanso again.

Thanks a lot!

  • Review Submitted: Jan 18, 2016
  • Date of Stay: Jan 2016
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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Wonderful time away with family and friends

  • 5 of 5

We were a large group with teens and we stayed in El Remanso for six days. Beautiful place, gorgeous house, spacious rooms, amazing breakfast provided by Lee and Jennifer and what a wonderful time! We were worried that our teenagers would be bored after a few days but Saboga Island was perfect. We did go to Contadora twice but happy to go back to our own beach. We walked to other beaches around Saboga, snorkeled, took the village boats (pangas) around other places, walked around the island and bought more beer in the village, ate local fish and ate lunch almost every day at the vacation beach club. We brought food to heat up for dinner (hungry teens), wine for our nights and our snorkel gear. We are looking at pictures and can't still believe we were there. We would all go back again if we weren't that far. Thanks so much for your hospitality Lee and Jennifer!

  • Review Submitted: Jan 11, 2016
  • Date of Stay: Dec 2015
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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Nearest Airport
5 Miles
Contadora Island
Nearest Ferry
1 Miles or
Nearest Restaurant
200 Metres
Paula Nani Beach
Nearest Beach
20 Metres
El Encanto
Car: not necessary

Isla Saboga is a nature lover's paradise. Unspoiled beaches and tropical jungle only 35 miles from Panama City, at the gateway to the Pearl Islands. If you can imagine what Hawaii must have been like 100 years ago, before all the development during the 20th century, you can perhaps begin to appreciate what Isla Saboga and the Pearl Islands has to offer. It is one of the world's last unspoiled, undeveloped archipelagos, and the fact that it is only 35 miles from vibrant Panama City makes it even more special.

Several seasons of CBS's 'Survivor' TV series have been based here in the Pearl Islands, and two seasons were filmed here on Saboga.

We have 2 studio apartments with full kitchens, and two extra bedroom suites available for guests. We can accommodate up to 8 adults and 8 children (2 adults and 2 children per room). The basic rental is for 1 studio apartment, not the entire house.

The small fishing village on Saboga is about a 10 minute walk from the house, on the other side of the island. There you can buy very basic grocery items like eggs, milk, bread, some vegetables, and the like, but fancier things would need to come with you from the city. There is an old church in the village that is supposed to be the second-oldest church in Central America.

There are several archaeological sites on the island that are the remains of the Indian villages that were here when the Spanish arrived in the mid-16th century. The Indians built several stone fish corrals that are still in use today to trap fish at low tide.


Rates & Availability

Rental Rates for this holiday house in Saboga

Rental Basis:
per property
Owner accepts payment in:
Convert Currency
Rate Period Nightly Weekend Night Weekly Monthly * Event
Low Season
1 May 2017 - 30 Jun 2017
2 night minimum stay
Notes: Rates are based on 2 guests; add A$34 per night, per additional guest
Whale Season
1 Jul 2017 - 30 Sep 2017
2 night minimum stay
Notes: Rates are based on 2 guests; add A$34 per night, per additional guest
My Standard Rate
2 night minimum stay
Notes: Rates are based on 2 guests; add A$34 per night, per additional guest

Additional information about rental rates

Rates quoted are for the studio apartment. The two additional bedrooms are each $25 less per night than the studio apartment. Please enquire for photos or more information.

All prices subject to change until confirmed booking.

Owner's Cancellation Policy

100% refund if canceled at least 30 days before arrival date.
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