The Pearl of Panama

Contadora

Contadora

This is Contadora Island. It’s small so it gets a small post. Being one of the Pearl Islands (located about an hour and 45 minutes off the Pacific coast of Panama), it is difficult to get to and, therefore, too expensive for most backpackers. So in order for us to visit, a fortunate sequence of events needed to occur.

How we got there

Back in November, when Julia and I were just getting ready to leave, my Mom went to a conference in New York. During an awards dinner, she sat next to a wonderful woman named Amy. Amy and my Mom hit it off and at some point during their conversation, Julia’s and my trip came up. Amy mentioned that she had a home in Panama and graciously offered to let Julia and I use it during our trip. My Mom passed along the information to us the next day and, after contacting Amy to make sure she was serious, we began figuring out how to include Contadora in our trip. Sometimes things don’t go your way when traveling, but every once in a while something like this (or this) happens and evens out your travel karma. Here are a couple photos from Amy’s beautiful villa in Contadora:

Amy's villa up above the beach

Amy’s villa up above the beach

View from the balcony

View from the balcony

The Beaches

Far and away the best part of Contadora are the beaches. There isn’t much writing to be done when it comes to lounging on the beach, so here are a few pictures:

Playa Larga

Playa Larga

Playa Larga

Playa Larga

Playa Sueca

Playa Sueca

Playa Ejecutiva

Playa Ejecutiva

Playa Sueca

Playa Sueca

Abandoned hotel on Playa Larga

Abandoned hotel on Playa Larga

Island Cuisine

As I mentioned earlier, goods on the island are not cheap. As a result, Julia and I survived on an almost all pasta diet. We had breakfast pasta, lunch pasta, and dinner pasta. Needless to say, we got a little tired of pasta. To remedy this issue, we decided to go out to dinner one night. Piero (the man behind the scenes at our villa) told us about his restaurant on the island that served pizza. It wasn’t pasta, so we went for it. Both Julia and I agreed that Piero’s pizza was far and away the best pizza we have had on the trip. The vegetables were fresh and the pizza was cooked perfectly.

Our night out

Our night out

Best pizza so far!

Best pizza so far!

Our friend Suzy (who had a prominent role in our last 4 posts), even came to dinner once with her family. We attempted to make kabobs, but due to some issues with the grill, the kabobs turned out less than stellar. That’s actually a bit of an understatement, the kabobs were terrible flavorless blobs of food that were probably more fit for pet food. Luckily, the Stanley clan was understanding and labored through their meal without so much as a single complaint.

The Stanley clan

The Stanley clan

Contadora is a place for relaxing. Julia and I had a blast laying on beaches, eating pasta, watching movies, eating more pasta, and playing games. We can’t thank Amy enough for her generosity.

Up next: Boat to San Blas and Cartagena!

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