Postcard from the Pearl Islands

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  14 Comments

Dear Luke and Leia,

We are surviving in the Pearl Islands these next few days….

Surviving? Yes, because this is where the some episodes of the hit television series “Survivor” was located. So naturally with your dad visiting, we had to see what it was all about. We had heard that Isla Contadora is beautiful.

Isla Contadora in the Pearl Islands
Isla Contadora in the Pearl Islands

Planning the trip and seeing the options available we decided to use both forms of transportation to Contadora, by boat and by plane.

Getting to Contadora by boat

The boat leaves from the dock on Amador and is a large catamaran with indoor and outdoor seating. The ride was smooth and rather fast as boat travel goes, taking about 2 hours. We made a short stop at Saboga, a neighboring island, and then continued on to Contadora where tenders took us ashore.

Loading the tenders at Saboga
Loading the tenders at Saboga
Tender heading to the island of Saboga in the Pearl Islands, Panama
Tender heading to the island of Saboga in the Pearl Islands, Panama
The harbor at Contadora.
The harbor at Isla Contadora.
Pelicans in formation over Contadora.
Pelicans in formation over Contadora.

Our hotel in the Pearl Islands

We were met by the hotel staff and taken directly from the airport to our hotel. The hotel, Villa Romantica, is located on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Palm trees and a rocky cliff off to our right added to the island’s mystery.

Villa Romantica from the beach below.
Villa Romantica from the beach below.

We spent the rest of the day exploring the hotel grounds and beach area near Villa Romantica. I loved the rocky jetty and the cave the pounding surf created in the cliffside. We saw numerous crabs of all different colors grasping the rocks for dear life and the sea pummeled them.

View from Villa Romantica sunset cocktail tables.
Happy Hour view from Villa Romantica’s al fresco dining area.
Surfs up on the beach.
Surf’s up on the beach.
Hanging on as the surf pounds the rocks.
Hanging on as the surf pounds the rocks.
With the sun setting on the beach, locals secure the boats for the night.
With the sun setting on the beach, locals secure the boats for the night.

Touring Contadora

The next day we rented a modified golf cart and drove all over to check out the island. The island is not too big, but it took us all day because we wanted to see everything that Contadora had to show us.

Four wheelers are available for a decent price to take you all over the island.
Four-wheelers are available for a decent price to take you all over the island.
Rocks mingle with beach on Contadora
Rocks mingle with beach on Contadora
Lush greenery surrounds your view from the top of a bluff.
Lush greenery surrounds your view from the top of a bluff.
Another of the wonderful beaches available on Contadora.
Another of the wonderful beaches available on Contadora.

Pearl Islands to Panama by plane

After a restful morning, we were shuttled to the island’s small airport for our short 20 minute flight home. The small plane was loaded and off we went. The views from the plane were wonderful, both seeing other small islands of the Pearl Islands and finally the city of Panama.

Our ride back to the mainland has arrived.
Our ride back to the mainland has arrived.
Tight squeeze adds to the fun of a small plane ride.
Tight squeeze adds to the fun of a small plane ride.
Off we go looking under the wing. This will give a much better view to the ground below.
Off we go looking under the wing. This will give a much better view to the ground below.
View down to another island in the Pearl Islands.
View down to another Pearl Island.
Back to Panama City in only 20 minutes.
Back to Panama City in only 20 minutes.

We had a great time. Is that something you might enjoy sometime? What part would you enjoy the most?

We really miss you guys. Hope you are doing well in school.

Love,

Nana and Pap

P.S. – Here’s a great video of our hotel.

 

A boat sits anchored at Isla Contadora, Pearl Islands, Panama

Bananas grow wild on Contadora.

A plane loaded with visitors prepares to land at the beautiful island of Contadora.

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Written by Dan

Professional photographer specializing in street, food and travel shots at As We Saw It travel blog. “Photography is unique in that it captures light in all forms, and since the Bible says YHVH (God) is light, photography captures Him in many forms.”

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14 thoughts on “Postcard from the Pearl Islands”

    • Hi Karen, Fun? No way, it was heavy exhausting work taking photos of the beauty while enjoying the surf, sun and a few glasses of Sauvignon Blanc chilled to a nice 45 degrees. I mean things were very difficult at the restaurants because of all the fresh fish choices, I sweated making the wrong choice. Might need another workout like that very soon.

      Reply
  1. I had to laugh when I saw the title of this post. Then, I took a look and noticed how well you guys “survived” the situation. One of the things I regret of my visit to Panama was not visiting any of the islands. This one looks so beautiful.

    Reply
    • Haha – yeah, Ruth, we were really “roughing it!”

      I can sympathize about your regret. We lived there for 2 1/2 years and the San Blas Islands are still on our bucket list.

      Reply
    • Jennifer, what is really cool is when you are up in the plane, you can see all the small, dense tropical islands around where the contestants would have lived, but the luxury of the hotels where the camera crews and producers would have stayed. Nice place to work I’d say.

      Reply
    • I rather agree with you, Constance, because I dislike both crowds and heights. It helps that the flight is only 15-20 minutes long. Many people prefer to take a boat, though. Both ways, I always take medication because my tummy gets queasy easily.

      Reply
    • I love to fly, so a small plane was perfect to take closer photos. As for the island, I must go back. There are several others in the chain that you can visit by boats from Contadora. I sure did need more time in those islands and also a different date so I can whale watch as well. Thanks for your very kind words.

      Reply

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