Las Perlas, Isla Contadora - Panama
July 14, 2019
by Thanara Zancanaro
The Pearl Islands (or in Spanish: Las Perlas) is an archipelago in the Pacific coast of Panama, around 48Km into the Gulf of Panama. Compose of more than 100 islands, but most of them are tiny and uninhabited, the most famous are: Isla Contadora, Saboga, Bayoneta, Pacheca, Mogo Mogo, Gibraleón, Casayeta, Casaya, La Mina, Galera, Viveros, Cañas and San Telmo. The archipelago is considered one of the best places for sport fishing in the world, this is due to the quantity and diversity of marine species. And it is also a famous point for whale watching in Panama. Due to the structure of hotels, markets and restaurants the most visit Island is Isla Contadora.
How to get there
There is one way to get to the Isla Contadora, by ferry. There used to be a daily flight by AirPanama but apparently, they don’t do this route anymore. There are two companies that do Panama City to Isla Contadora, Ferry Las Perlas that leaves from the Trump Ocean Club International Hotel & Tower Panama and Sea las Perlas that leaves from the Muelle Flamenco Marina, Isla Flamenco Causeway. Both companies have ferries that leave once a day in the morning and come back in the afternoon, which means that you can go just for the day if you don’t have much time. The round ticket is around $90 per person and the trip’s duration is about 1h30min each way.
How to move around the island
The most common transportation on the island are the golf carts. You can rent it by the hour or for 24 hours, if you are spending the night there this option makes more sense, in my opinion, if you want to explore the island. There are a few places in the main street that you can rent it, some hotels can do it for you, and some hotel or rented houses already have the cart included. The island is quite large and has a lot of ups and downs, besides that the roads don’t have a sidewalk which makes very difficult to explore the island walking, but you can also rent a bike if you are looking for a more cheaper solution.
The beaches are not hard to find, and you can get a map to help you. At the north side of the island is Playa Caracol, maybe the hardest one to get to since you have to hike a little bit but is one of the least crowded ones and is also a scuba diving spot; Playa Ejecutiva, maybe the smallest beach on the island; and Playa Galeon, this beach is the dropping off and boarding of the ferries. On the east side of the Island is the most famous beach Playa Larga, this was where I spent most of the time, just because it was easy to get to and very close to my hotel. And is also an alternative dropping point for the ferries. Very close you can find the nudist beach Playa Suecas, famous for its natural beauty and clear waters. A little more south there is Playa Cacique and Playa Camaron, known for being snorkeling points in Contadora.