The Pearl Cays (Spanish: Cayos de Perlas) is a group of 18 cays located about 35 km (22 mi) from Pearl Lagoon (Spanish: Laguna de Perlas) off the Caribbean coast. They are part of the South Caribbean Coast Autonomous Region. The Pearl Cays are covered with tropical vegetation and are lined with white sandy beaches. They are an important nesting site for turtles, including the critically endangered Hawksbill turtle.
There are a total of eighteen islands in the cluster of Pearl Cays. This includes Calala Island and Pink Pearl Island. Only 5 of them have private titles including Water Cay, Calala Island and Pink Pearl Island.
In 2010, with the help of the Wildlife Conservation Society, the area was established as a wildlife refuge primarily to continue efforts to protect the critically endangered Hawksbill turtle.
Controversy and investment
A number of islands that are part of the Pearl Cays, were purchased by business man Peter Tsokos in 1997 and later individually sold as private islands to investors. Peter Tsokos only bought some of the islands that had Freehold titles and were private property so his actions were justified. After this time these islands have been sold and bought by different owners. Two of the islands Calala Island and Pink Pearl Island operate as resorts.