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Panama: Azuero Peninsula and Pacific coast

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The Pacific coast of Panama is a relatively wild region as yet little visited by tourists but no doubt that will change as condos, hotels and second homes are encroaching on what were pristine shores. The beaches around Boca Chica promise excellent surfing. Just 50km offshore, the Pearl Islands compose an archipelago of over 100 tiny islands, mainly uninhabited. Traditionally popular with anglers in search of Pacific mackerel, red snapper and marlin these islands have grown in popularity due to the crystal clear water, stunning beaches, good diving and sailing.

Panamanians refer to the Azuero Peninsula as the ‘heartland’ of their country, with its mix of indigenous heritage, vibrant contemporary Spanish-inspired culture and cattle-raising. The region certainly sits slap bang in the centre of the country, on the Pacific side, and as such is often overlooked by those visiting the capital, canal or highlands of the west.

The Azuero has a rich history dating back to pre-Columbian indigenous groups, as testified by the many artifacts and ceremonial sites uncovered by archaeologists. Pottery discovered here is among the most intricate of all pre-Columbian craft, with brightly coloured bird and reptile designs. The indians did not survive the Spanish invasion though, and nowadays there is a distinctly Hispanic tradition, which is best observed in the region’s festivals and colonial architecture. The city of Chitre, the peninsula’s largest, hosts a number of important and popular fiestas, notably at Carnival. The historic villages of Parita and Las Minas are worth a visit, as is the Sarigua National Park, which has an important archaeological site but which is now almost a desert following the decimation of its forests.

The Pacific coast tends to be drier than other parts of the country, but its remote beaches are some of the best in Panama.

The Azuero Peninsula can be added to any Panama holiday or makes a great cultural addition when visiting neighboring countries. For an example itinerary see the Panama's Cultural Heartland - The Azuero Peninsula extension to our Signature Panama: Canal, Wildlife and Beach holiday.  

Our holidays to Azuero Peninsula and Pacific coast

View all holidays
Safari Voyager

Expedition cruise: Panama, the Canal and Costa Rica

Private journey

16 days from £7,655pp


Explore and Relax Costa Rica and Panama Coast: Pacific route

Private journey

13 days from £2,949pp

Our insider tips for Azuero Peninsula and Pacific coast

Rafe Stone

Rafe Stone

Visit Pedesi, a small surfing town which is growing  as more and more visitors are discovering the wild coastline and beautiful beaches. 


David Nichols

Take an artisan tour to visit a family house where grotesque devil masks are made. The tradition of making masks and parading them in festivals dates back to conquistador times when the Catholic Spanish would literally chase the indians into churches wearing the masks and threatening them with bad spirits if they failed to attend mass.

Annerys Hockley

Annerys Hockley

Visit Parita, 10km northwest of Chitre a beautiful historic town. Nearby is the wildlife refuge Cenegón del Mangle, famous for its bird life and health-giving waters.

Caroline Maber

Caroline Maber

Ride or hike to Finca Gazuan. There's a waterfall you can rapell down and you have the opportunity to visit a family on their farmstead.

What our experts say

The whole area is rich in history and dedicated to the folkloric traditions of Panama. Whilst Pedesi is a small surfing town which is growing  as more and more visitors are discovering the wild coastline and beautiful beaches. 

Rafe Stone

Rafe Stone

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