Reunion in Panama City and the Pearl Islands

Panama City and the Pearl Islands
Day 3-8 of our South America trip

How we arrived:
From Lisbon, we arrived via Madrid after 15 hrs a little worse for wear and jet lagged. Surprisingly we had no issues with onward journey proof at immigration and got through easily. I had read a few things about this being an issue in Panama. Our French chauffeur, Edouard picked us up and drove us through the city towards his apartment in the old town. I was really surprised by the skyline and sheer size of the city. After a small dinner with our fabulous hosts we hit the hay for a much needed sleep.

Pearl Islands Panama
Our hosts, Lillian and Edouard

Quick overview:
We didn’t spend too much time in Panama City but we spent a couple days wandering the streets of the old town where Ed and Lillian live called Cusco Antiguo which is part of an UNESCO site. It is a small town, full of really cool newly refurbished apartments and restaurants and bars. We only drove through Panama City itself, but we had great views of the skyline from the Old Town and the boat back from the Pearl Islands. We did do a day trip to the Panama Canal at the Miraflores lock which was really impressive and is where I saw the biggest ship I have ever seen…ever.

Early the next day after arriving in Panama we set sail for the Pearl Islands which are home to some of the islands used in the TV programme Survivor and Bear Grylls Island Survival. The ferry took about 2 hours and we were joined by Ed and Lillian’s friend’s Jose and Elisa. Before long we arrived in Paradise. The island is like nothing I had ever seen before. We spent the 3 days that we were there snorkeling, stand up paddle boarding and attempting to harpoon fish… oh and drinking lots of beer – the local brew Bilbao. It was a brilliant start to the trip and was all thanks to the great hospitality of Ed and Lillian.

Panama City and Pearl Islands accommodation:
In Panama we stayed in Ed and Lillian’s amazing 1 bed apartment in the old town. In the Pearl Islands we got a 3 bedroom house on air bnb (Ed did) which came to $100 each between 6 people. It had spacious rooms with a bathroom for each couple. The kitchen and living areas were great and we (Ed) brought all the food and booze so that we didn’t need to buy anything besides some ice and unhealthy snacks…who likes trail mix!?

Rory’s rant:
Panama has a serious rubbish problem which is making their Islands and shore pretty disgusting to look at. Something needs to be done or this beautiful place will be ruined along with any potential tourism in the future. Sort it out Mr. Panama!

Heather’s highlight:
Ed and Lillian were great hosts and organised a truly memorable visit. The Pearl Islands were like something out of a movie, so beautiful and remote. In Panama City I would recommend visiting the Panama Canal. It was a short activity to do and was low cost and interesting!

Read from day 1 of our South America trip

For more info about the accomodation and restaurants we visited, see TripAdvisor

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