The Las Perlas archipelago is reached by plane or water taxi from the mainland.
One of the most northerly, Isla Contadora, has 13 sandy beaches and some of the prettiest scenery.
Despite its small size (you can walk across it in 2 hours) it was once the headquarters of the pearling industry.
Today you can walk forest trails, snorkel or take a glass-bottomed boat to see marine life in its coral gardens with puffer fish, turtles, moray eels and reef sharks.
Beaches on the southern part of the island are secluded and natural.