Getting to paradise

Sea Las Perlas’ “Island Express III”

This post is also available in: Spanish

On-the-Water by Ilene Little

The exotic and remote beaches of Panama’s Las Perlas Islands are largely undiscovered. Every island in the Archipelago of Las Perlas has secret coves with brilliant white, soft-as-velvet sand, but only a handful of the islands are accessible by reliable public transportation via plane or ferry. But now the dynamics in transportation to the Pearl Islands is changing, allowing more people to experience this water wonderland.

Ticket to ride

Sea Las Perlas’ “Island Express III”

Passengers on Sea Las Perlas’ “Island Express III” enjoy the added attraction of viewing ships entering and leaving the Panama Canal.

In the not-too-distant past, the reliability of public transportation to and from the islands was sketchy. Even today, you hear the occasional complaint that an airplane flight either did not arrive or depart on schedule, or that a ferry run was canceled.

Since 2011, Sea Las Perlas has run a tight ship, ferrying passengers to the islands. They operate seven days a week. According to Sea Las Perlas owner Sonny Eymann, “Since we started our ferry service, we have never missed a run, and we have often filled the void in service where other public transportation failed.”

“We keep building, providing a track record of reliability,” he said, referring to the three ferries in the fleet making scheduled runs to Las Perlas. Another ferry is currently being built. That is good news for Pearl Island tourism and residents. More boats mean a more reliable and flexible service.

Currently, the Sea Las Perlas Ferry makes daily runs to Saboga and Contadora. Air Panama provides daily flights to Contadora. Check their website for scheduled trips to Viveros and other islands. Passengers looking for a tourism resort experience often choose Contadora for their destination.

Contadora offers many services for visitors on day trips as well as a wide variety of overnight and extended stay accommodations. Viveros Island offers more of an elite and private experience. Both Contadora and Viveros are reminiscent of Hawaii in terms of curb appeal.

Isla Saboga is a fast-growing eco-tourism destination and is known for its jungle-to-beach landscape and cultural and archaeological appeal. Saboga is the choice for a family-friendly, off-the-beaten-path experience. A recent expansion of stunningly beautiful vacation rentals accommodates weekend and extended stays.

For more information on Sea Las Perlas, refer to their website,


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