Panama West Beaches – Punta Chame


The obvious landing point when entering the Republic of Panama, is the city as it is only 20 – 25 minutes away from Tocumen airport. It is as vibrant and active as any city, as well as being rich is cultural diversity and history. Panama City can be experienced in five star hotels with sumptuous meals and world class shopping, something loved by many of us. But, you are now near the equator, it is the tropics, and the lure of beaches, waves and currents of stillness begin to beckon you.


There are of miles of coastline in this narrow leg of land that stretches itself to connect the Northern Hemisphere with the Southern. The Caribbean side to the north could easily call to you, ‘come rest here, swim in my aqua waters’. There are certainly many, many areas to explore from San Blas to Bocas del Toro.

For something a bit closer, take a ride across the Bridge of the Americas and travel along the Pan American Highway. In less than an hour, you will be at a bit of a high elevation as you round a bend in the road. Then, bam, it hits you, the first big view of the Pacific since you left the city. Punta Chame hills are dramatically reaching into the water looking very much like a dragon in repose, wearing a skirt of water in its bay. As you get closer, look carefully for the small sign that says turn here. The road is greatly improved, but still has some bump-a-longs, and will take you to the end of the point in about 25 minutes. It is beautiful and lush, healthy looking fincas (farms) as you drive. The mangroves appear, as do the questions: ‘are we there yet?’ No, not yet. When you finally do get there, the wide, unusually white beaches are thick with birds and wind. Getting yourself to the bayside affords you a completely different view, as there are huge hills all around it. Within the bay, there is even more wind and those who love the kites on their boards to speed them around in what looks like sheer joy. This is Panama’s finest wind surfing opportunity. Even if you can’t hold on and do this yourself, sitting and watching the spectacle is wonderful as well.

There are some beautiful homes here, and lots of very basic ones. Rumors and proclamations about the future of this area are abundant. My guess is, it is just a matter of time before there is more development on the horizons.

punta chame villas

If you don’t take that trek, you could stop at Gorgona, or better yet Coronado just down the highway a bit further. Coronado was established by the Eisenmann family back in the 1940’s and has slowly grown into a real community. You will know you are there when you see ‘The Rey’, as the locals call it, Rey’s Supermarket. This in many ways has been the hub of activity and shopping for much of the West Beach area. Currently, there are two pretty big shopping centers under construction, offering everything from hardware, to shipping, to restaurants to attorneys. Having lived here, I know how important it is for Westerners to have access to all that we think we cannot live without. Before these shops were here, you basically had to return to the city for just about everything. Now, you can even get first class medical attention at the San Fernando Clinic.

Coronado and
The West Beaches

Punta Chame
Playa Gorgona
[Nueva Gorgona]
Playa Coronado
Punta Barco
El Palmar
San Carlos
Rio Mar
Santa Clara
Rio Hato

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Copyright© 2011, Pan Am Publishing S.A., Republic of Panama