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Discovering Pearl Islands, Panama

Updated: Sep 4, 2023

Today I am going to start this Blog, telling you about this beautiful place, where I live, which is a Pearl in Central America, in Panama, on the Pacific Ocean.

I am going to tell you about these beautiful islands just 2 hours by ferry from a modern city or 25 minutes traveling in a private plane.

The most famous island within the Pearl Islands is Contadora Island, due to its history, there you can take a boat trip with Diving Contadora, with the captain and guide Mr. Guillermo who has been offering his tours for more than 20 years of Professionally and with all the security elements on board, with great passion, in love with the place, he will tell you the stories of the islands and take you to incredible beaches of white sands and crystal clear waters.

The Pearl Islands has 90 named islands and more than 130 islets

We start our trip leaving from Contadora Island, which we will take as a reference to give the location of the other islands.

Contadora Island, its name has a historical meaning that originates with the fishermen of the area who were dedicated to diving pearls and this was the place where they came to count and sell them "La Contadora". Its tourism development began at the end of the 60's, when a man who loved nature and with a lot of vision, Mr. Gabriel Lewis Galindo, acquired the island and began with its development, at the beginning of the 70's he was already operating a small hotel, then in the mid-70s, in 1975 the luxurious Gran Hotel Contadora was inaugurated, which unfortunately no longer works. Over many years Contadora hosted many historical events, the formation of the Contadora group in 1974, the negotiations of the Torrijos-Carter treaties in 1977, the meetings of ministers of the Contadora 78 'Group and the Shah of Iran in 1981, also the place of political events, writers and artists.

The Isla del Rey, with an area of ​​240 km2, is the largest, San Miguel being the head of the Balboa District, founded by the Spanish in 1607 for its pearl wealth.

On the southeast coast we find Ensenada, a picturesque village, to the south-west, within the bay of San Telmo, is Esmeralda, to the east Isla San Telmo, a pre-Columbian archaeological site. To the west is La Guinea, a small farming village.

Isla San José, this is the second largest island in the Archipelago with about 45 km2 of surface.

San José is a well-kept private island with 35 beautiful beaches and a tropical humid forest of great ecological diversity, numerous rivers and a dense tropical flora on this island you will find a beautiful hotel.

Pedro González Island, has a surface of 15 km2 a town called El Cocal, at one time this island was famous for the cultivation of pita fiber, for the manufacture of the renowned Panama hat.

Bartolomé Island, is an islet half a mile from Contadora Island, it has beautiful white sand beaches and crystal clear waters with a very beautiful reef for snorkeling.

Isla Pacheca, located a mile and a half north of Contadora Island, is a sanctuary for seabirds, also known as "the island of birds", visited by bird-loving tourists. There are several species of pelicans, earwigs, cormorants, blue-footed and yellow-footed boobies. There are also archaeological sites. It is a private island and you have to ask for permission to enter.

Saboga Island, which until 1746 was called Salbaga, is located half a mile west of Contadora and its population is located within a beautiful cove of palm trees and crystal clear waters, its main source of employment is Contadora. Saboga has a church that was built in the 18th century, in the highest part of the town, we also find the Corral de Piedras, built in pre-Columbian times.

Chapera Island, just over a mile south of Contadora Island, has beautiful white sand beaches and crystal clear waters, where many boats and sailboats arrive to enjoy the weekends. Also inside there is a seventeenth century fresh water well, built by the Spanish.

Mogo Mogo Island, this island for its strange topography, the pre-Columbian Indians called it Mogo-Mogo, which means "bird", is located 3 miles south of Contadora, it has two beautiful inlets joined by a strait of land of about 50 meters wide where one side has a sandy bottom, while the other has corals.

Boyarena Island, is a shallow sand, where when the tide is high it covers the area almost completely, there due to the effects of the tide many shells and beautiful colored stones are deposited.

Casaya Island, about 5 miles from Contadora Island we find a small pearl fishing village, this tradition has been maintained from generation to generation, where it is visited by tourists in search of buying beautiful pearls.

Bolaños, Gibraleón, Bayoneta and Viveros Islands, are located between 8 and 12 miles south of Contadora these islands have a lot of vegetation and mangroves, which makes the locals dedicate themselves to the collection of oysters, clams and mollusks and where is the place of reproduction of many marine species due to its mangroves.

We have many islands and islets to mention, but I will be telling you about them on my next trip with Guillermo who gave us the best ride in the place. This place is fantastic and I highly recommend it for your next trip.

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