Easy, breezy beverages and eats at The Landing

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A new beach café and bar on Contadora is appropriately called The Landing. Whether visitors arrive by plane or ferry, The Landing is just steps away, ideally situated at the stairs coming up from Punta Galeon Beach. Just around the tarmac from The Welcome Center and surrounded by coconut palms, The Landing is a cool and inviting spot.

The inviting deck at The Landing on Contadora Island.

The inviting deck at The Landing on Contadora Island.

With only a couple of viable restaurants on the island, The Landing, which opened late last year, has become a welcome casual hangout right on the beach with Wi-Fi access. The hours are normally from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m, and they offer croissants, empanadas, fresh-baked bread and baguettes with coffee for breakfast. Lunch options include mini pizzas, sandwiches and surprisingly good hot dog. Italian ice cream, finger foods and snacks are for sale throughout the day, complemented by a full bar with cold beer and sunset. Sometimes, especially during holidays or the weekend, opening hours are extended.

From the terrace with its stunning ocean and island views, lucky and observant viewers can spot fish, manta rays and even whales jumping in the water, while pelicans, boobies, sea gulls, hawks and buzzards glide overhead. At times, the blue sky seems speckled by dozens of frigate birds.

The Landing is being operated in conjunction with The Welcome Center, which means that John Musson, Piero Pretolani (also an excellent chef) and Kim Carter will be responsible for assisting with lodging, tour bookings, rentals of golf carts and kayaks. The Welcome Center crew is cooperating in partnership with The Point, the hotel right on the beach that used to be known as Punta Galleon. Under new management by André Niederhauser, who used to run the Coral Lodge in Guna Yala, there is a renewed sense of service at the hotel. The building that houses The Landing was owned but not utilized by the previous hotel.

According to Musson, “We’re promoting The Landing and The Point as not only central locations for arrivals and departures but as essential elements in our island paradise.”

Contadora resident, Betty Brannan Berger, appreciates their efforts: “The Landing has been a most welcome addition to Contadora where before there was no beachside place to have a cold drink and a snack.”