Puerto Armuelles Panama is the only true beach town in Panama
It is right on the beach.
You’d think in a country with so much coastline that there would be many towns on the beach.
That is not the case.
Many towns in Panama are near, but not on, the beach.
Pedesi and Tonosi on the Azuero Pennisula come to mind. Nice towns. We particularly like Pedesi. But the beach is quite the hike from those towns.
Well I guess, San Carlos qualifies as a town on the beach. But San Carlos lacks a downtown center and is a much smaller than Puerto Armuelles.
Panama does have cities on the beach, like Panama City and Colon. It also has resort and vacation home areas on the beach, like Coronado. As well as a number of smaller fishing and surfing-orientated villages.
Puerto Armuelles is Panama’s only true beach town.
Puerto Armuelles is also a charming town that values its beach location.
It has a park right on the beach (photo above was taken from that park). As well as another park and playground across the street. (You can see more photos of Puerto here.)
Its pier, although badly in need of repair, is very popular with those who love to fish.
Puerto Armulless has a over 20 thousand residents, including a growing population of expats.
Puerto has has just the right population to make the town vibrant, even bustling at times.
Puerto Armuelles is A Unique Town
For eighty years Puerto Armuelles was a Chiquita Banana company town.
Chiquita’s engineers and designers put their stamp on everything from the city’s street grid to wooden houses on stilts, of which Chiquita built by the thousands.
The Chiquita look is the classic tropical colonial look that one would expect to see in an old movie such as the African Queen.
With its broad overhangs and hardwood ventilated window openings, the Chiquita houses provide good shade, and are raised above the damp and the bugs of the tropics.
The spaces in some of the executive houses are absolutely huge, with ten foot ceilings, and open floor plans of as much as 3000 square feet per floor.
These houses, painted every color of the rainbow, give a very charming and unique look to Puerto.
Chiquita built whole neighborhoods to house its different classes of workers. All of these houses have the Chiquita look.
Of course, the town also has the typical cement house you find throughout Central and South America.
The “Chiquita Factor” has made Puerto Armuelles far different from any other Panamanian town.
Puerto has been compared to Golfito, just across the border in Costa Rica, which was another Chiquita Built town.
Since Chiquita left Puerto the town has not been well-maintained, on the other hand Golfito has been well-maintained.
Another big difference is that Golfito has become quite “precious”, and as with the rest of Costa Rica, Golfito is generally more expensive than Panama.
To learn more about the various areas of Puerto Armuelles, visit its neighborhoods: Click here for downtown area tour.
You can even get an aerial tour of Puerto on a flying trike, Click here for Aerial Tour.
You can get pretty much everything you need in Puerto Armuelles.
You can purchase everything from building supplies and cell phones, to pesto, and broccoli.
For most of the time Chiquita was here, Puerto Armuelles was only accessible only by train or boat.
Puerto now has a well-maintained paved road connecting it to the rest of Chiriqui and beyond.
(In fact, that road will soon be expanded from its 2 lanes to 4 lanes)
Puerto is about 40 minutes away from the Costa Rica border crossing at Paso Canoas. Pasa Canoas has a number of good shopping malls, as well as a Burger King and Subway.
It is about an hour or so drive from David. David is the largest city in the Chiriqui Province.
David is significantly larger than Puerto. Although, Puerto Armuelles is the 2nd largest city in Chiriqui.
You can buy pretty much everything you need in Puerto Armuelles. However, there is definately more selection in David.
David is the big shopping mecca in the area. They even have something like a Costco there. It is called PriceSmart.
We go to David every two or three months, mostly to get some specialty items and to do some bulk shopping at PriceSmart.
We enjoy going to David. It seems there is something new there every time we visit. Our favorite dentist is there as well.
We like to go shopping in David. But we are always happy to get back home to Puerto.