One of the islands which is part of the Pearl Archipelago – aka Pearl Islands, Contadora is in the Pacific Ocean quite close to Panama City. It’s actually 48 km, about 40 miles from, Panama City. This quiet little island has three mini supers (convenience plus stores), a tiny clinic, an equally tiny police station, and one gas station. There are a hand full of hotels, Inns and B&Bs scattered about the island and some small restaurants which offer fresh seafood daily and due to some original Dutch settlers some even offer European cuisine – we’re talking about the Romantica properties.
People living on Contadora find themselves travelling to Panama City regularly so they can stock up at the larger grocery stores, PriceSmart and other major retailers. Of course the quiet island life dictates a refill of culture and activity by catching a movie at the theatre, visiting the malls and on occasion taking care of a doctor or dentist office visit. Although there is phone service and credit cards are accepted there are no banks or ATMs on Contadora. It’s important to bring cash when you visit. Yes, it’s a pretty quiet, laid back scene here but there is still a small but thriving expat population. Many of them fell in love when they discovered Isla Contadora’s clear blue-green waters rival those of the Caribbean.
So, yes, it’s very quiet but one can still find things to do – read more about our adventures in the Pearl Islands. Golf carts are the common form of transportation on this small island and it’s pretty easy to find one to rent. Of course Contadora isn’t very big so it’s quite pleasant
to just walk to one of the islands 11 beaches. By the way many people don’t know this but Contdora also has the honour of having Panama’s only nude beach. Contrary to some old website info there is no Golf Course on Contadoar. There was a small 9 hole course at Hotel Contadora but the hotel was closed back in December 2008 and has since been stripped. The best way to stay busy and really enjoy the Pearls of Panama is to hire a local fishing boat for a tour or to even catch your dinner. If you go out early enough the fishing is pretty good and when you return most of the restaurants, like Villa Romantica or the Punta Galeon will cook it for you and create a meal for just a few bucks. The surrounding islands offer plenty of adventure. The Survivor series filmed here a few times and all the fishermen know exactly where so you can have them show you the spots were the Survivor Pearl Islands filmed and played their ‘Realty” games. Note though that Survivor was pretty good at cleaning up after itself, so you may recognize the scenery but don’t expect to find any remnants of their set-up. It’s all since been cleaned up and grown over. You can also spend the morning fishing, snorkeling or diving in the afternoon or for perhaps even rent a jet ski.