More than simply an unspoiled natural paradise seemingly created for world-class fishing, sailing, snorkeling, and diving expeditions or forest hikes and equestrian adventures, Pearl Island offers an extraordinary treasure trove of information for biologists and archaeologists seeking to better understand the nature and history of the area.
The story of the Las Perlas Archipelago begins in pre-historic times. Remnants of ancient tribes have been unearthed on Pearl Island and include bones of extinct animals, jewelry, pottery, and primitive tools made from sharks’ teeth. As part of recent archaeological excavations taking place on Pearl Island, a gold necklace was discovered in a 1,700 year old tomb which represents the second oldest piece of goldsmith work in Panama offering testimony that Panama itself was rich in gold reserves.
A team of archaeologists, commissioned and sponsored by the Smithsonian Institute in conjunction with the project, conducted excavations on the island in 2008 and 2009, uncovering priceless artifacts from Pearl Island’s 6,000-year history of civilization: findings include jewelry, pottery, fishing traps, and petro glyphs from early indigenous cultures. These findings are being restored with the intention of temporarily exhibiting them in the Museo Patronato of Panama Viejo until permanent exhibition facilities to house the exhibits are completed on the island. Pearl Island’s partnership with the Smithsonian Institute ensures that these valuable excavations continue, and that the discoveries are recorded and safeguarded for the island’s future generations.
Pearl Island’s virgin tropical forest, its lagoons, rivers, and tiny offshore islets are home to 16 species of mammals, and 20 species of lizards and amphibians. Here, one of the world’s greatest bird sanctuaries nurtures 150 species, including a vast population of migrating pelicans.
The deep, clear waters that surround the island are filled with over 700 species of fish and adorned by the spectacular natural sculpture of 15 species of coral. Five species of sea turtles nest in the soft sand of the island’s 14 beaches, and five species of whale – including humpbacks – visit the island for a great part of the year. To preserve and protect this boundless natural biodiversity, over 75% of Pearl Island will remain undeveloped and a percentage of all property sales are dedicated to the establishment of The Island Foundation, a not-for-profit organization that will be stewarded by the island’s property owners.