Las Perlas, or Pearl islands are an archipel situated at 30 km from Panama Coast, lost in the middle of the Pacific. When I lived in Panama I passed a week-end there with friends to see whales!
We left for Contadora (one of the first island of Las Perlas and one of the more touristic place with Saboga island) from Balboa Yacht Club Causeway in Panama City (check in at 7am, departure 7:30 on Saturday morning). After 1h30 journey we finally arrived in the archipelago of Las Perlas!
200 lost islands in the Pacific, which were the pirates hiding place before becoming those of the Germans and Americans who decided to charge a price for any service… (expensive for Panama, not really from our European eyes). It’s also where they grabbed several episodes of The Survivor (and the 2004 edition of Koh Lanta!) and where Christian Dior bought a vacation house…
Contadora is quite big but not too much, you have electric golf cars as main transportation, or bicycles, or you can just walk (one hour to do the round trip). On the roads you’ll find beautiful houses, nice beaches and magnificent hotels restaurants!
It’s not easy to find a place to stay for less than 40$ per persons… We were hosted in Casa del Sol, a Bed and Breakfast. The managers came to get us to the ferry, showed us the rooms (the extra “beds” provided were a joke), and left us. The studio cost $143 for 4 people ($36 per person). The breakfast was poor and the promised bikes missing…
Big “Like” for Playa Larga hosting a boat and several abandoned hotels (I wonder how / why)!
– To go there: $90 roundtrip Sea Las Perlas Ferry (another Ferry offers to leave from the Trump Tower but it wasn’t available)
– To sleep: $36 hostel Casa Del Sol, not the best but the less expensive I found… (I recommand Villa Romantica or The Point)
– To eat: Between $15 and $20 each meal (we’ve been to Villa Romantica in front of the sea, Las Tortugas an Italian restaurant and Gerald’s specialized in fishes)
Whales watching Tour
The owners of the BnB recommended us their friend Nino, who would take us to a boat ride for $35 a half day (the entire boat…). It would have been the best option if we didn’t have yet a tour booked in advance with an agency (50$ per person for 3h). A friend saw an other publicity on the beach offering 6$ per person. Conclusion: NEGOCIATE THE PRICE!
So we started the tour at 10am, leaded by… Nino! This tour was just perfect, we were all alone and we had an english speaking guide.
Whales Watching Tour – 10h a 13h – 50$
Nino’s phone if you don’t want to pay the agency: (+507) 6652 5323