Contadora is located in the Islas Perlas, or Pearl Islands, roughly 40 miles south of Panama City. Legend has it this was the place where Spanish conquistadors would come and count their pearls, hence, the name Contadora.
Contadora is a short 20-minute flight away from Albrook airport in Panama, with multiple flights daily by Air Panama and Aeroperlas, but if you are lucky enough to have your own boat (or know someone with one) the way to go is by sea! There are loads of beaches and islands around to explore. Most of the beaches have rich reefs that are great for diving and snorkeling. This is the time of the year that whales migrate, and we were even lucky enough to see a few from the boat.
|leaving Flamenco, and the ever expanding Panama skyline in the background|
|ships awaiting their turn to cross the canal|
|Thank you Christine and Tito for having us on board!|
|One of the islands off Contadora. Looks like something out of Jurassic Park.|
Matthew and I later explored the island on a golf cart, checking out hotels and finding secret beaches. One of my favorite discoveries was the old abandoned Hotel Contadora, which, in its heyday, was the place to go on the island. All that remains are the giant skeletons of buildings, which have been stripped of all walls, doors, and windows. Many of the shacks are still covered in mosaics of seashells, which I fell in love with. I got a bit carried away, dreaming of buying it and turning it into my own luxurious resort, until I later found out it has been sold already... womp womp.
Our first choice of hotels was the kitschy Villa Romantica (we heard they had water beds!) but they were totally booked. We wound up staying at Hotel Punta Galeon, one of the larger hotels on the island, right next to the airport. Really, within steps of the runway... It was a charming hotel with simple rooms, all overlooking the ocean with a private balcony. The staff was very sweet and accommodating (we showed up for breakfast at lunch time, and they still served us our eggs).
|can't help it... I'm a cancer|
|Hotel Punta Galeon|
|Plane arriving right over Hotel Punta Galeon|
|Yep! THAT close.|
|Fiesta Island... not a typical island of the Perlas archipelago.|
Hasta luego, Contadora!!