Thursday, October 28, 2021

Ideal Destination for Ecological and Beach Tourism

National parks, nature trails, and activity-packed beaches. Since January 1, 2014, West Panama became the tenth province of the country, located west of the Panama Canal. It is made up of five districts: Arraijan, Capira, Chame,

National parks, nature trails, and activity-packed beaches.

Since January 1, 2014, West Panama became the tenth province of the country, located west of the Panama Canal. It is made up of five districts: Arraijan, Capira, Chame, La Chorrera and San Carlos. Its capital is La Chorrera, District.

How to get there?

From Albrook Terminal you can take buses that will take you to Arraijan or La Chorrera, the main urban centers of this province. There are also buses that go to destinations such as Veracruz, Chica, Campana and towns near the beaches, including tourist complexes. Most of the public or private transport fleet goes to Arraijan and La Chorrera. The estimated time to reach the head of the province is 30 minutes to two hours depending on traffic. You can also go by car, which would make it easier to visit multiple places.

Ecological and Beach Tourism

Due to its proximity to Panama City, this sector, being a transit destination to travel inland, managed to become nearby points of interest to enjoy two activities that are rarely done in the city: hiking in denser forests and walks to spas.

It is planned to improve the traffic flow in this region with the widening of the road and the Beach Corridor (Corredor de Playas), the construction of a fourth bridge over the canal and Line 3 of the Metro. 

Altos de Campana National Park

It is located 60 kilometers from Panama City, you can get there by taking the Inter-American Highway. It is the oldest park in the country (1966), and is 4,816 hectares in size. You must drive and go up Loma Campana, until the entrance of a farm whose name is “I’m not here” (No estoy) is the reference to find access to the trails. However, before these, you have to stop at Caja de Agua (Box of water) viewpoint, from there you will enjoy commanding views of the Pacific Ocean and surrounding beach populations.

La Cruz Trail

It is at 3 km from the park entrance. The section is short but has slippery sections and what stands out for most of the way are the roots. It is worth reaching the top at 900 meters above sea level, because you can see the Bay of Chame on the Pacific coast and the entrance of the Chame River. It is not well signposted, so you must be accompanied by a certified guide.

Panama, Zamora and Podocarpus trails

Following the road from the viewpoint, you will reach Finca “No Soy”, where the beginning of the Panama Trail is located, which is easy to walk. After a 200-meter climb with beautiful panoramic views of the area, you will reach the end, but it is also the beginning of the following two trails: the Podocarpus and Zamora. The first one is quite simple and not very long, ending in a “camping” area with restrooms and a ranger house. It is the only area in the park enabled for camping. The Zamora trail is the most challenging as it goes uphill and has a dense jungle experience.

Cerro Picacho Trail

This mountain is at La Laguna San Carlos, near the Campana National Park and about 107 km from Panama City, which will take you to make a trip of about two hours. You must go along the Panamerican highway, and enter the street that goes to Las Lajas through Coronado, continue straight until the road ends, where there is a sign that indicates how to get to the lagoon. Cars can be parked for a cost ranging from $3.00 for sedans to   $10.00 for buses. It is a somewhat difficult trail in the rainy season, however, at the top you reach a rock from where you have a 360° view of the San Carlos Lagoon and the surrounding mountains.

Punta Chame

It is a peninsula located in the Bay of Chame, and is an hour and a half from Panama City (101.3 km). Traveling there creates that feeling of driving a long and infinite road, but it is worth the time. It is an area where strong winds are generated, ideal to enjoy “windsurfing”, there is even a school to learn to master the “surf” boards with a sailboat. There are also several options where to stay and restaurants options to eat.

Gorgona

This dark sand beach is very popular between Panamanians. It is located an hour and 15 minutes from the Panama City (85 km) arriving through the Inter-American Highway. Nearby is the well-known Malibu Beach, which is also often called “Nueva Gorgona” (New Gorgona). Here activities such as jet-skiing, volleyball and sport fishing are carried out. It has several lodging options, including the traditional Hotel Gorgona, located on beach front.

Coronado 

This beach is 95 kilometers from Panama City, arriving by the Inter-American Highway. It was the first tourist community in the country and has become the central axis of real estate development on the Pacific coast, which has allowed the interest on this beach as a retirement destination and a place for weekend escapades.

They have their own equestrian community, beachfront condominiums, golf course condos, small residential buildings, and even international schools were opened for foreign families with a desire to grow away from the capital city.

Punta Barco

Just five minutes from Coronado is this very exclusive area with a golf course, riding horse club and beach club, with properties within a more private complex. Its location is close to a resort at 30 minutes, and the entrance to El Valle at 20 minutes.

Turiscentro San Carlos

More than an hour and 10 minutes from Panama City, and one kilometer from San Carlos main entrance on the Panamerican highway, this beach complex has a swimming pool, restaurant, sports fields, a playground for children, bathrooms and showers, parking lots and 24 hour security.

El Palmar

Recognized as a beach to “surf” for its consistent waves. It has surf schools, the best known is Panama Surf School, where beginners can learn or those who already practice the sport take classes to improve their technique.

 It is located outside the town of San Carlos, 10 km west of Coronado beach, 28 km east of Santa Clara beach and 30 km east of Farallon beach.

  • Things to Do
    • Go to El Palmar Beach and enjoy water activities for beginners and experts. They offer jet-ski, parasailing, scuba diving and snorkeling. 
    • Take a trip to Sendero de La Cruz. Experience the adrenaline rush offered by climbing this path at Cerro Campana. Hours: Monday to Sunday from 7:30 am – 3:00 pm. Admission prices range from $1.00 to $ 5.00, and the estimated round trip time is two hours. 
    • Learn all about Playa Gorgona. You can bring and pitch a tent at no cost or pay $3.00 to better camp under a ranch. Vehicle care is $5.00, and access to the shower costs an additional $1.00. 
    • Visit the San Carlos Tourist Center, the entrance to this place is $7.00 adults and $3.00 children from 4 to 12 years old. 
    • Relax while fishing at Punta Chame. You can rent a boat with your captain for $60.00 for up to eight hours for up to six people. In nearby hotels they can guide them.

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