Pacific Ocean

Las Perlas - No more pearls, but there are sharks and caimans!

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Nowadays, there are many different atmospheres, including a few boltholes for some big shots whose fortunes are much better off out of sight... Here, sumptuous beaches and lush forests blend harmoniously. Many animal species share the islands. On land, in the wildest islands, it is not uncommon to come across lizards, white ibis, or deer. In the sometimes, brownish water that surrounds the archipelago, there are other surprises: bull sharks, stingrays and, even more unexpectedly, caimans - we saw one, that was «fortunately» dead on the beach...


Here are three particularly wild anchorages - among many others - that are worth exploring on the largest of the islands, Isla del Rey. All of them have excellent holding on a mud or sand bottom and benefit from total protection whatever the wind direction. Winds are generally light in this area.

Rio Cacique 8º18.212’N - 78º54.085’W. This spot faces a beautiful beach and a river mouth revealing its sandbanks at low tide.

Enseñada 8º23.327’N - 78º49.850’W. This is where we discovered the caiman. A perfectly calm and magnificent anchorage, punctuated only by the activity of the local fauna.

Punta Gordo 8º20.343’N - 78º50.294’W.Beware of ticks when you go to play at Robinson Crusoe in the high grass... but this anchorage is worth it, if only to discover the lizards in the ponds behind the beach.


Hiking, meeting the locals, exploring the mangroves: there are many possibilities on the Perlas. Isla del Rey, despite its name and its large size, is probably one of the most secluded in the world: prepare to live a real-life adventure! These areas are shrouded in mystery and secrets - at least that’s the impression they gave me. I would advise against swimming: there are many rather aggressive rays, many venomous jellyfish - not to mention bull sharks: they just love the mouths of rivers! The atmosphere is more «civilized» on the islands further north, where there are more tourists. Many activities and walks are also possible. It is there - I am thinking in particular of Isla Contadora - that you will find restaurants, bars, cafes and an atmosphere... another world!


These islands are well protected in the Gulf of Panama. There are two seasons: a very dry one, which lasts four months, between December and April, and the rest of the year which is quite rainy. The winds are generally not very strong. Beware of strong thundery squalls, which can become quite frequent during the rainy season.

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