Isla Contadora in Panama


By Pearl Island

The Spanish conquistadores gave the Island the name Contadora since they used it as a last provisions refill before the journey back to Spain. Contadora roughly translated means counter or bookkeeper/accountant.


Contadora Island is the only island of the Pearls that can be reached by flying from Panama City. The island is located near the coast of Panama, at around 50 miles away. Isla Contadora is well known for its famous resorts and hotels. The place is magical in every sight but still offers the luxury of home. The Spanish conquistadores gave the Island the name Contadora since they used it as a last provisions refill before the journey back to Spain. Contadora roughly translated means counter or bookkeeper/accountant.


Travelling to Contadora Island


Travelling to Contadora Island is not cheap but if you have money to spend you are in the right place. The Island offers great hotels and resorts that are suited with the finest facilities. You will find many luxurious apartments, condos and villas all around the island that can be rent or are privately owned. The island is easy to get around and you got over thirteen beaches to choose from when sunbathing.


Famous Contadora


The island of Contadora became world famous when in 1979 the Shah of Iran retreated there in exile. This put the spotlight on the islands as an exclusive and expensive island for the rich and the famous. Since then Contadora’s popularity began to grow and the first Hollywood stars started to invest in there private getaways. The reality show Survivor put the Pearl Islands and Contadora in many countries on the map as tropical paradise. Tourism became to flourish and the islands are not only for the rich and the famous anymore.


Getting there


Getting to the Pearl Islands is easy and fast from Panama City. Since the Islands are located just off shore the Panamanian mainland an estimated travel time takes only one to two hours in total. There are three ways to get to any of the Pearl Islands. We will discuss the fastest and cheapest routes to the Islands from Panama City.


Flying Air Panama to the Pearl Islands


Map pearl IslandsThe fastest way to get to the Pearl Islands is by plane. Flying to the Pearl Islands will get you from Panama City Airport to Contadora Island in only 15 minutes. The most frequent air service to the Islands is Air Panama and Aero Perlas., frequent flights daily. This is not the cheapest way to get to the islands, adding up check in time etc. it might not even be the fastest way but probably the most comforting. An Average price of US$100-200 dollars is normal.


Ferry to the Pearl Islands


Taking the ferry from Panama City to the Pearl Islands gets you there in around one to two hours. These ferries travel daily and visit multiple islands in their schedules. A common roundtrip of the ferry starts in Panama City then goes to Saboga Island, Contadora Island back to Saboga and Panama City. Average rates for roundtrips are US$80-100, one-way will cost you on average US$50-60.


Sailing the Pearl Islands


Another way to get to the Pearl Islands is by Sailing tour. Some charters are offering short trips of a few days visiting different Pearl Islands by sailboat. You will sleep on the boat but spend the day on the beach or sailing. It’s a fun and adventurers way to explorer the Golf of Panama and the Islas de Las Perlas. Average prices are fluctuant since it depends on the ship, how many people, how many days and the captains. Average prices for a four-day trip will cost you around US$400-500. Oceantrips.com offers amazing sailing charters in Las Perlas (Panama) on owner-operated sailing- and motor boats.


Activities on the Pearl Islands


The Pearl Islands have a lot of activities to offer for every traveler. If you are searching for a vacation full of adventure and/or relaxing you have come to the right place. The Pearls have so much to offer that some activities are known all around the world because they only happen here. Most people that visit the pearl islands are going on a whale-watching trip, since this is an open sea adventure among the giants of the sea.

Next you have the great variety of Dolphins swimming around the islands that can be spotted on tours and boat trips. The whales and dolphins are spectacular but the Pacific Ocean has much more to offer. When you go scuba diving around the Pearl Islands you can find great schoolings of fish, and with great we mean huge quantities of fish over 50k. Snorkeling can be done on various tours and trips around different Pearl Islands. If you are searching for some more adventure you can explore the jungles on the island with a squad, bike or golf cart. Kayaking is also a main activity on the seas around the islands; if you are lucky you might even encounter some dolphins! Are these activities too much then some relaxing activities might suit your vacation needs. You can walk the island in 1-2 hours and visit multiple beautiful beaches in a day. Some of the beaches are deserted and others are ready for you to snorkel and sunbath.



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