In the News from Panama

Construction Begins on Ritz Carlton on Las Perlas

Construction has officially begun on a 50-hectare Ritz Carlton project on Las Perlas (Pearl Island), a private island 40 nautical miles from Panama City.

The announcement was made by President Juan Carlos Varela, who stressed the importance of the investment represented by the project, as well as the potential for hundreds of new jobs.

“With the help of the private sector we will continue investing to attract investment and develop the full tourism potential of Panama,” Varela said in a statement.

The Ritz project is part of Pearl Island, which is billed as the “largest private island development in the Pacific.” The master plan for the 1,440-hectare project on the pristine island includes a wide array of residential and tourist amenities, while leaving 70 percent of the island as a nature reserve. The development includes 30 kilometers of coastline and 14 private beaches.

The Ritz is expected to include more than 80 hotel rooms, as well as a limited selection of villas. According to the original press release, the “reserve” will include “a lavish spa, private beach club, three swimming pools and three restaurants, as well as access to a world-class marina, dive and fishing village and equestrian center.”

The Ritz project was first announced in 2013, but progress on the island has been slow. Earlier this year a Greek investment firm, Grivalia Properties, bought a 60 percent stake in the Pear development. The company reportedly paid €27 million to buy out the stake owned by Dolphin Capital Investors, the original company developing the island. The remainder of the project is reportedly owned by Panama-based Grupo Eleta.

Pearl is definitely one of the most exciting projects in Panama, offering the lure of an uber-luxury island resort to rival the Caribbean. Pearl is part of the Los Perlas Archipelago, a collection of more than 200 islands, which is already developing as a popular tourist destination. A regular ferry to the islands leaves from Punta Pacifica.