We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Pearl islands

Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
549 posts
18 reviews
6 helpful votes
Pearl islands

Hi! A friend mentioned the islands to me but to be honest I've never read much about them and it seems like other beach destinations in Panama get far more attention? Is it worth the trip over to San Jose or Contadora? My travel book said to give an extra day between return to PC and any international flights due to frequent weather delays and only having one or two flights back per day. For this reason it's causing kind of a snag in traveling onward to Medellin. Is it worth it?

Panama City, Panama
Level Contributor
2,018 posts
27 reviews
35 helpful votes
1. Re: Pearl islands

I'd prefer going to San Blas, to be honest, but it's difficult for me to determine whether going to the Pearl Islands would be worth for you without knowing what your interests are and why you have determined that going to other beach areas in Panama isn't worth it.

Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
549 posts
18 reviews
6 helpful votes
2. Re: Pearl islands

Hi!

I thought about that point after I posted the question. To be honest, I initially planned on going to El Valle for a few days but read about the bus drivers and windy road at warp speed and psyched myself out. I do get motion sick easily. So then I planned to maybe cut the Panama part of my trip a little shorter and just move on to Colombia (Medellin, coffee region, Bogota) earlier. However, a friend of mine may be joining me now and she suggested the Pearl Islands. I said I really didn't care what we ended up doing in Panama so it was up to her. However, one other reason I was hesitant about El Valle and now Pearl Islands, is that if I spent 2 nights in either location, I have to get back to Panama City and then catch a flight to Colombia (as I would prefer to not stay again in Panama City for just one night before heading out). Seems like there would be frequent bus trips back to Panama City from El Valle, but I read that for the Pearl Islands you better at least give yourself an extra day in case the weather is bad and you can't fly back or take the ferry back in during the morning hours). I guess I COULD do another night in Panama City but I just don't know much about the weather and how often it would cause delays (going early May). I'm not actually much of a beach person anyway because 1) I'm fair skinned and 2) I'm not a great swimmer and 3) I get antsy easily. But since my friend is coming I figure I'll go if she wants. San Blas looked a too TOO remote for me in terms of accommodations. It looked REAL basic. Beaches in Hawaii? Love them but more choices to pick from for lodging, more land activities, etc. Maybe I'm just trying to come up with excuses to skip a beach altogether and stick to highlands like my original plan. In any event, its a whirlwind trip and if the islands aren't that amazing, I'm hesitant to lose a day in Medellin to them.... not sure if that helps at all!

Panama City, Panama
Level Contributor
2,018 posts
27 reviews
35 helpful votes
3. Re: Pearl islands

OK, I can provide more advice with this info in mind. =)

The Pearl Islands are really nice. The beaches are gorgeous, with white or golden sand and clear water. I prefer San Blas because there isn't a lot of infrastructure there, as the Gunas haven't allowed mass tourism to arrive, and I love being in a small island with just palm trees, a gorgeous beach and coral reefs nearby. You'll see houses and buildings near most of the beaches in Contadora, but it doesn't look like you want the empty island experience as much as I do. ;-)

The weather isn't usually a problem, but it could be a problem, and since you don't want to miss your flight out, I think it's always a good piece of advice to try to come back to Panama City the day before your flight out.

El Valle is also a good choice, especially if you like hiking and forests. Don't worry too much about the buses, most people get around Panama in buses without issues. If you get motionsick easily, is there any medication you can take to prevent it?

4. Re: Pearl islands

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 1:17 am, April 01, 2018