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Contadora, Panama

Panama's Friendly Pacific Island: Isla Contadora

Contadora Island or as it’s called in Panama, Isla Contadora, is part of the Pearl Island chain. There are over 200 islands forming the archipelago. Many are uninhabited and noted for their natural beauty and marine resources. Others, like Contadora, have become places for Panamanians and expats to escape to for a long weekend. For those lucky enough to call the island home, you will find the best beaches closest to Panama City, along with some of the best fishing in the country’s Pacific.

For decades the now-defunct Contadora Resort and Casino was an icon of tropical luxury. It had peacocks, deer, 350 rooms, attracted Hollywood celebrities, and was regarded as the most famous five-star island resort in Latin America. Today, Contadora is the island where the production crews of many countries stay for extended periods as they continue to film the Survivor TV series and documentaries on several of the nearby remote islands.

Contadora has an international flavor. It’s the kind of place you can run into and rub shoulders with people from all over the world in a nice recreational format where people like to have conversations.

Crime is very low on the islands, you’ll certainly feel safe walking around alone all hours of the day and night. You can generally speak English at the front desks of business establishments on Contadora and in the beach clubs on islands throughout Las Perlas.

Where Is Contadora Located?

Contadora is approximately 90 minute boat ride from Panama City, via an express ferry leaving the city’s landmark Amador Causeway. The island is accessible via ferries, by Air Panama to the regional airport on Contadora, or by private boat.

[Check Out Nearby Island: Isla Taboga]

Cost Of Living On Contadora

The cost of living on Contadora is driven up by the logistics and expense of getting the products and services to the island. The cost of manpower to unload groceries off barges, transport goods, and stock shelves adds to the cost of the items sold.

In general, if something costs US$1 in Panama City, it will cost US$1.50 on the islands. Fresh fruit and vegetables are found on the days the barge lands. Of course, you can get a whopping deal on fresh fish and shrimp if you buy from the local fishermen; approximately US$5 to US$6 per pound. Or better yet, catch dinner yourself.

Contadora has two very small grocery stores with limited and mostly small quantities of goods.

Penny-Pincher’s Budget for Contadora, Panama

ExpenseCostNotes
RentUS$800Most basic kind of rental. Starting range.
Transportation
GasUS$50Cooking and heating
ElectricityUS$180
WaterUS$40
TelephoneUS$20
Garbage Collection
InternetUS$25
EntertainmentUS$60
GroceriesUS$200
Total Monthly Expenses US$1,400.00

 

Apartment or House Rental Budget for Contadora, Panama

ExpenseCostNotes
RentUS$2,000Unfurnished, two-bedroom, comfortable apartment or house.
Property Taxes
Transportation
GasUS$50Cooking and heating
ElectricityUS$180
WaterUS$60
TelephoneUS$20
Household HelpUS$200Twice a week visits (six hours each).
EntertainmentUS$250This includes the couples’ cost for eating out twice a week, drinks twice a week, social outing twice a month.
GroceriesUS$200 Basic items for a couple
Gym Membership
Medical Appointment
Total Monthly ExpensesUS$3,010.00

 

Apartment or House Ownership Budget for Contadora, Panama

ExpenseCostNotes
MortgageNot included (Large variation in price).
HOA FeesUS$800Not on the water; US$1,200 if waterfront property.
Property Taxes (Est.)US$1,20018 cents x US$1,000 of the registered value of the property.
Transportation
GasUS$50Cooking and heating
ElectricityUS$180
WaterUS$60
TelephoneUS$20
Garbage CollectionUS$100
InternetUS$25
Cable TVUS$25
Household HelpUS$200Twice a week visits (six hours each).
EntertainmentUS$250This includes the couples’ cost for eating out twice a week, drinks twice a week, movie theater trip twice a month.
GroceriesUS$200 Basic items for a couple
Gym Membership
Medical Appointment
Total Monthly Expenses US$3,110.00

Map Of Isla Contadora

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