By Elsie Forbes

Ah, Isla Contadora, this is one lovely, laid-back piece of paradise. My first experience there was about four years ago, one of those ‘hey, why not?’ spur of the moment decisions. Not really knowing what to expect, we just basically guessed at where to stay, and Villa Romantica won the flip of the coin. 


First, book yourself a fight leaving Albrook airport, on Aeroperlas  Regional, for a quick 20-minute ride to the airstrip on Contadora. Getting there by boat is another option, but not normally one’s choice. The aerial view of the Pearl Islands is absolutely gorgeous, a vantage point is not to be missed. Once we hit the ground, de-planed, and began looking about for our hotel service free ride from the ‘airport’, we don’t see a bus or a shuttle, instead we get a huge hug from Charly Pree, the owner of the hotel, and a welcoming that felt more like a reunion. How did he know it was us? You might say, it was instant friendship and the laughing commenced. The road to the hotel is bit bumpy, which slows you down immediately and allows a longer look at the exquisite homes overlooking the Pacific.


Checking in is really just sitting down on the beautiful veranda having your welcome drink a gazing at the serene aqua waters, white sandy beach, Playa Cocique, and the neighboring islands. This is a small, intimate hotel, so you can expect a quiet and relaxing ambiance. The fact that it is also the best restaurant on the island, you can just stay put just enjoy what is there. Sometimes you just want to read, sleep, swim, eat, linger and love being alive, which is so easy to do here in this special place.


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