2 Stays On Contadora Island

When in Panama, one of the places talked about about is the Pearl Islands. Panama has a rich history in the pearl trade, which is where the islands get their name. The best known island is Contadora Island. Contadora is said to have been used by Spanish Conquistadors to count their ill gotten gains before heading back to Spain. Contador means counter or bookkeeper in Spanish, hence the name.

The Pearl Islands...
The Pearl Islands…

And while there are several of the islands that are inhabited, only one or two have any real infrastructure set up for “tourists”.  We found an OfertaSimple offer, which is the Latin American equivalent to Groupon, for a discount on the ferry to Contadora Island that leaves from the Trump Ocean Club International Hotel. We got ahold of a friend who knows about all things Pearl Islands and he told us the discount was a good deal. So we purchased the deal and my wife got us a 2 night stay at the Trump. After all, we WERE saving money on the ferry, right??

Trump Ocean Club International Hotel...
Trump Ocean Club International Hotel…

We caught a ride into the city with some good friends, who dropped us off at the hotel. We were checked in to a room on the 19th floor. A nice room with a king size bed and a tub as an accent piece.

My Beautiful wife and our room at the Trump...
My beautiful wife and our room at the Trump…
Our view from the balcony...
Our view from the balcony…

The next morning, we made our way to the ferry dock behind the hotel.

Our ferry awaits
Our ferry awaits…

The ferry makes daily runs to the Pearl Islands. It takes about an hour by sea to get there. On the day we went, it was raining and the sea got rougher and rougher the closer we got to Contadora.

Watching videos on the ferry...
Watching videos on the ferry…

To quote a famous three hour tour, “The weather started getting rough, the tiny ship was tossed…”

Rainy seas...
Rainy seas…

We disembarked the ferry onto a fishing boat which delivered us to the beach at Contadora Island. In the rain…

Our ferry from the beach at Contadora Island...
Our ferry from the beach at Contadora Island…

And the rain continued to fall…

More rain...
More rain…

Even the cat was looking for cover…

Shelter from the rain...
Shelter from the rain…

Contadora is about a mile and a half long by a half mile wide and it does have an airstrip.

Contadora Island...
Contadora Island…

As the day wore on, a couple of planes flew in, passing right over our heads to land.

Coming in for a landing...
Coming in for a landing…
The airstrip...
The airstrip…

As the afternoon wore on, the rain kept falling. Just not a good day to go to the island.

And the rain continues...
And the rain continues…

So we boarded the ferry and headed back to the city. Sad, but not defeated…

Fast forward the clock a month, and we were ready to try another trip to Contadora Island. The rainy season is over and we are hoping for a much better time. We made our reservations at the Hibiscus House, a bed and breakfast on the island. And as a special treat, a friend arranged for us to FLY to the island with the owner of the Hibiscus House. We arrived at the Chame airstrip at 9am and found Allan, our pilot, gassing up his plane.

Allen and his plane...
Allan and his plane…

Once the plane was fueled, he loaded our luggage and his supplies.

Packing...
Packing…

Next, time to load the passengers.

Watch your step...
Watch your step…

Once inside the plane, Allan went through his check list, warned me to keep my knees and feet out of the controls, and we’re off.

DON'T TOUCH!!!
DON’T TOUCH ANYTHING!!!

Once up in the air, it’s a short 30 minutes to Contadora Island. Along the way, we saw Panama City off in the distance.

Panama City...
Panama City…

All too soon, the airstrip on Contadora Island came into view and we got ready to land.

Landing...
Landing…

Can you spot the Iguana on the runway? The pilot did…

Obstructions on the runway...
Obstructions on the runway…

Once we came to a stop, and I got my 6’4″ self OUT of the plane…

Unfolding from the plane...
Unfolding from the plane…

we headed up to the Hibiscus House, a very peaceful place on a quiet street on the island.

Our island "home"...
Our island “home”…

We settled into our room to unpack…

Home sweet home...
Home sweet home…

We then got our golf cart, the preferred mode of transportation on the island, and set out to discover what Contadora Island had to offer.

Beautiful beaches...
Beautiful beaches…
Quaint hotel...
Quaint hotel…
The Honeymoon suite...
The Honeymoon suite…
Regular rooms...
Several small villas…
Shells...
Shells…

Yes, those are shells in the walls…

Flowers everywhere...
Flowers everywhere…
Wildlife...
Wildlife…
More wildlife...
More wildlife…
An old hotel...
An old hotel…

With interesting tile work…

Tile work...
Tile work with some faux tiles made with rocks…
The moon...
The moon…
An old ferry on the beach...
An old ferry on the beach…
bare-throated Tiger Heron
bare-throated Tiger Heron
Ocean views...
Ocean views…
Did we mention flowers...
Did we mention flowers…
Low tide...
Low tide…

On our second day on the island, our host arranged for a local fisherman to take us out for some snorkeling. The fisherman took us around to several of the different islands in the area, including, the island that was used for theTV show Survivor, Panama. At one point, we were escorted by a couple of dolphins.

Dolphin off the port side...
Dolphin off the port side…
And he's brought a friend...
And he brought a friend…

The snorkeling was amazing…

Yours truly...
Yours truly…

Our last morning, we spent just riding around, enjoying the beauty of Contadora Island.

Birds on the beach...
Birds on the beach…
3D fence...
3D fence…
More fence...
More fence…
More tile...
Abandoned beach bar…
Iguanas were running around...
Iguanas were running around…
Watch for Tarzan...
Watch for Tarzan…
Another hotel on the island...
Another hotel on the island…
Somebody's paradise...
Somebody’s paradise…
Pelican over the water...
Pelican over the water…
More flowers...
More flowers…
Same flower, different color...
Same flower, different color…
Rock bells in concrete...
Rock bells in concrete…
Quiet streets of Contadora...
Quiet streets of Contadora…

Our time on the island came to an end and we loaded back up in the plane for the short flight home.

Packing us in...
Packing us in…
Ready for take-off...
Ready for take-off…
Goodbye Contadora Island...
Goodbye Contadora Island…
Our Gorgona home from the air...
Our Gorgona home from the air…
Chame airstrip...
Chame airstrip…
The welcoming committee...
The welcoming committee…

Our 2 days were over too soon. We will remember our trip to the Pearl Islands and the Hibiscus House and will count it as one of the many highlights of being senior nomads.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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5 thoughts on “2 Stays On Contadora Island”

  1. Love the tub in the hotel as the centerpiece. But hey, the Trump Hotel – so jealous! Your photos show that Contadora Island is a true pearl and an amazing place although getting rained out was no fun. Still, you demonstrated persistence which really paid off. I’d love to visit this jewel on a return trip to Panama. Here’s to adventure and a vagabond life – Anita

  2. Contadora was amazing. As nice as the Trump was, flying to the islands instead of taking the ferry was amazing. Just seeing the overall view of the islands from the air was breathtaking. Yes, life is good!!
    Suzi

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