The Pearl Islands of Panama is an archipelago which the locals call the islands Islas de las Perlas, a name that dates back from Spanish colonial times. The Spanish Conquistadors discovered the islands in 1503 and gave the Islands its name due to the great amounts of pearls found on them. The biggest island by far is Isla Del Ray but Contadora Island is the most notable for tourist, it offers great resorts, hotels and an Airport. In 1979, the Shah of Iran briefly took exile on Isla Contadora.
Air Panama and Aero Perlas run frequent flights between Panama City and Contadora, Isla San José and Isla del Rey. Another noteworthy island is Isla Saboga, you can find traditional Island culture here.
During the fifteen hundreds pirates regularly raided Spanish merchant ships of their gold and silver that were in route from South America to Spain. The pirates would use the Pearl Island to hide from Spanish war ships and to ambush Spanish merchants to steal their gold and silver. It’s estimated that the Pearl Islands and its surrounding waters still hides a billion dollars worth of gold and silver and periodically sport divers find coins while recreationally diving. It’s also rumored that the pirates hid their gold and silver booty on several of the islands that has yet to be discovered.
The Pearl Islands are most famous today for their spectacular white sand beaches, scuba diving, marine life (whale watching) and delicate ecosystems. Panamanian law to preserve the life on the islands protects the islands flora and fauna. Over 70% of the Pearl Islands is owned and protected by the Panamanian Government.
The Pearl Islands are located in the North Pacific Ocean in the Gulf of Panama. A trip to the Islands is not that far from mainland Panama.
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