Once a popular tourist destination for the rich and famous, the Pearl Islands have become more accessible for others who want to experience the tremendous natural beauty of the area. The Pearl Islands archipelago consists of over 200 islands and islets—mostly uninhabited—off the Pacific coast in the Gulf of Panama. The largest of the islands is Isla Del Rey, but tourist favorites include Contadora Island, with over 13 beaches, and Isla Saboga. On a trip to the Pearl Islands, you can expect to find beautiful white sand beaches, opportunities for scuba diving and whale watching,
as well as well-preserved nature and marine life.
There are many ways to enjoy the picturesque beaches of the Pearl Islands. Whale watching tours during whale mating season between July and October are popular in the area, as well as windsurfing and paddle boarding. For those who enjoy snorkeling, expect to see massive schools of fish in the crystal clear waters—like, up to 50,000! For a traditional beach day of swimming, restaurant-hopping and lounging, check out the resort area of Cantadora Island with more than 13 beaches and a wide array of hotels, resorts, condos and villas. While there, you can also visit one of the sailing schools to go for a sail, or enjoy premium fishing all year around. Next, head to one of the more remote islands for a different experience. In less-developed Saboga, for example, you can hike jungle trails and interact with the local people that live in the Saboga village.
There are several ways to get to the Pearl Islands from Panama City. A flight from the capital to Contadora Island takes just 15 minutes, while the ferries connecting the archipelago to the mainland take about an hour and a half, departing from Punta Pacífica or the Amador Causeway.