If you’ve visited or relocated to Panama, chances are you know about the Chiriqui province. Chiriqui is one of the country’s most popular locations for retirees, relocated expats, and wealthy Panamanians who have a second home. Most of these locations, however, are in and around Boquete. People are often drawn to the cool climate of Chiriqui’s mountains and high-altitude villages like Boquete and Volcan. But, did you know that Chiriqui is also home to some of Panama’s best beaches? They may not be at the top of mind for most visitors, but if you like beaches (especially unspoiled ones) then you’ll need to check out these ones in the Chiriqui province.
The town and beaches of Boca Chica are a great coastal escape for anyone in Chiriqui, or anyone planning on traveling to Chiriqui. Boca Chica is fairly remote, which gives it a very intimate atmosphere. The town has a few restaurants and hotels, but outside of that is very undeveloped. This means that you can relax without any of the hustle and bustle of a more touristy beach town, but still have very nice accommodations and food.
Boca Chica is a short drive from David, the province’s capital city. We recommend flying into David and driving from there if you’re coming from Panama City, as the drive straight from Panama City can take up to 7 hours. There are also many smaller beaches and natural sites to see while there, so if you’re adventurous, it’s worth exploring the area on a tour!
The island of Boca Brava is one of the true hidden gems of Panama’s Pacific coast. Boca Brava is right across the water by ferry from Boca Chica, and is a popular day-trip destination for people staying in David, or even Boca Chica. There is very little development and infrastructure on Boca Chica, aside from two hotels and a few private residences. This makes the appeal even greater for those who truly want a remote, quiet beach escape in Panama.
The island has a number of pristine beaches, all very remote, and accessible via foot, 4×4, or ATV. Make sure to check out Isla Palenque on the southern tip of the island for some of the most beautiful flora/fauna and Lodging space is limited, so check for hotel availability and book long in advance. If there’s no availability, no worries! You can still stay in Boca Chica or any of the nearby towns and visit Boca Brava as a day trip.
Playa La Barqueta:
This is probably the most remote of all the beaches accessible to tourists in Chiriqui. There are no hotels on this strip of beach, and that’s part of what makes it attractive to beachgoers. The beach itself is fairly large, and facing right into the Pacific, which gives it beautiful waves and light brown sand (often uncommon on Panama’s Pacific coast). There is a small restaurant to get typical Panamanian beach fare, and you can be ensured that there will be few, if any people on the beach with you, depending on the time of year.
To get the most out of Chiriqui, whether you’re heading to the beach, city, or mountains, always remember to plan ahead. There are times during off-season when flights may be delayed due to weather, and other times during peak-season where lodging and tours may be fully booked. Planning ahead will help you avoid delays, and give you the best chance at the experience you truly want.