We spent a delightful week touring the beaches of the Azuero Peninsula of Panama.
It’s a bit of a haul from Panama City so we drove out to Las Tablas, the capital of the province of Los Santos on Sunday. A friend of mine from high school has a house that she let us borrow so that was fantastic and very comfortable. It’s located in a quiet little neighborhood just before you enter the town of Las Tablas.
Monday Playa Venao and Playa los Destiladeros
Venao and Los Destiladeros are often mentioned in the literature about the Azuero Peninsula. So we went to visit them first.
At Playa Venao we drove first into the most obvious parking area. The waves looked a bit rough and there were quite a few surfers so we went down the road a bit to another smaller parking area. There were some tables for us to picnic and a steep short drivewayish road down to the beach. We’re driving a 4×4 so we attempted it and made it ok. The tide was out and the beach was nice and flat and it was much calmer than the other beach spot since it was in a bit of a cove. We enjoyed it very much. The only drawback was the temp of the water. It was cooooooold. Really!
By the time we got to Playa los Destiladeros, the tide was headed back in, but we had plenty of time to explore the rocky tide pool areas. One of the neat things about this beach was the access. The paved road led us straight to the beach. We were driving along when suddenly, sand! Pretty neat.
Las Comadres and El Uverito
Tuesday we went north from Las Tablas to Las Comadres and Playa El Uverito. Tried a bunch of others, but struggled with beach access. A common refrain in our car as we’re exploring beaches is me, griping about people closing off beach access with fences and gates. Drives me bonkers. The beach is not private and you can have your backyard up to the sand, but the beach is open to everyone. Hence you need to have openings at reasonable interludes for people to get onto it. Gr.
This was a tricky day as one of the kiddos was feeling pretty sick. And at las Comadres, you have to park and then walk across some rocks to get the swimmable area. So, our poor guy tried to stay in the car for a while but it was pretty far from where we planted ourselves. He came and hung out on a towel instead after a while.
Uverito had legit parking which was nice. Of all the beaches we explored this one seemed like it was set up more with the actual intention of people coming, parking, and visiting the beach. There were even little structures that a person could rent for the day.
Playa El Toro and Playa Arenal (Bajadero)
On Wednesday, we tried to find El Rincón which is in a little town called Mariabé, but for some reason the road eluded us. We also drove into a little picturesque port in Concepción.
We finally landed at El Toro. El Toro also has decent parking while not as obvious as Uverito, but ample. There were some shelters that we weren’t sure were for public use or whether they were owned, so we spread out on the sand as we do. The water at Toro was delightful, the waves were a bit rough, but overall a decent beach.
After Toro we drove to Arenal, mostly to see what it was like since this is where the boats leave to Isla Iguana, an outing we were eyeing up. Great parking, not as great of a beach. To be fair, we were there at super low tide and we found some healthy jelly fish on the sand so we stayed out to of the water. The water beyond the waves looked fine, but around the break of the waves it was super cloudy and full of small driftwood material. That, combined with the fear of jellyfish, encouraged us to walk a bit and make sand art.
Thursday we went to Isla Iguana to finish off our week of beach exploration. I wrote a post about it so I won’t recap that here. Suffice to say, it was glorious.
Despite living in Panama for 10 years, I had never spent any time in the Azuero Peninsula. I am super glad we did, highly recommended!