The pearl among pearls: Hacienda del Mar

If you are seeking the perfect secluded break, you could do no better than to follow the route of famous pirates of old to the spectacular Pearl Islands, today an easy 90km reach from Panama City in the Gulf of Panama. Nestled within 14,400 acres of virgin rainforest on the second largest island of San Jose, the Hacienda del Mar, a small, luxury eco-resort is the only hotel on the island.

For us, the organic home-grown cuisine and the 12 comfortable cabanas made from the finest Panamanian ‘caña blanca’ and pinewood, each with magnificent views of the Pacific Ocean, are reason enough to travel here. But for nature lovers and amateur fishermen this place is paradise. Wildlife is abundant in this remote location, and you can expect to see wild pigs, deer, iguanas, agoutis and parrots among the 100 species of birds recorded on San Jose. While these are considered some of the best deep sea fishing grounds in the world, as 16 black marlin world records testify.

With your own golf buggy, you can explore the island stopping at some of the 57 coral white, ebony black and gold beaches and coves found along the irregular coast, or you can simply relax by the pool enjoying the peace and tranquillity. Just a short flight from Panama City, this as J Morris from Boston says is “Truly a hidden gem. It was just so peaceful and serene.”

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