History of The Pearl Islands Panama

The history of the Pearl Islands dates back into the 15th & 16th century when the Cocle and Cueva indigenous tribes lived amongst the Islands. Most of these local inhabitants were enslaved and or killed during the discovery of the islands  by the Spanish Conquistador Vasco Nuñez de Balboa in 1513. They were forced to collect the Pearls of which The Pearl Island Archipelago was later named. In 1516, another Spaniard had heard word of the hidden treasures within the Islands, and not only enslaved remaining  free indigenous people, but also imported slaves from Africa to assist in the recovery of these white round gemstones. The descendants of the African marooned slaves make up a majority of the permanent residents within the islands today.

During the 17th & 18th century, Pirates found the islands to be a strategic location for ambushing incoming trade vessels into Panama. There were numerous locations for them to hide within the over 250 islands that encompass the Archipelago. There have even been Spanish Galleons recovered between the Islands with gold coins and treasures in their holds.

​In the early 60’s, the islands just 40 miles off of the mainland of Panama became once again popular, especially to the rich and famous around the world. The first island resort was opened in 1972 on the popular island of Contadora. This island is one of the most recognized within the Archipelago, due to the fact that it was the location where the pearls were brought to count and trade. In the late 70’s, the Shah of Iran resided on Contadora for a while, creating a worldwide interest amongst those looking for a unique experience.

The Pearl Islands became well-known for luxury and complete tranquility amongst the rich and famous around the world. Today budget hostels and cheap ferries are available for everyone to enjoy the vast attractions these islands have to offer. Besides, these islands have become a top destination for visitors of Panama enjoying wildlife such as the migration of the Humpback whales, dolphins, deep Sea Fishing, and of course simply relaxing on the gorgeous deserted beaches.

San Blas Dreams provides for its customers tours to the Bolaños Islanddaytour and overnight tours available with some beautiful wooden cabins or houses built in wood respecting nature properly.
​If you have already booked a tour of the San Blas Islands with us, we will give you a $ 10 discount per person, valid to book a tour (Daytour or Overnight) in Bolaños Island.

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