The town of Guarumal, a short bike ride from Playa La Barqueta, has an excellent local restaurant called El Tablado that serves a varied menu del dia for $2.50…and the best homemade limeade I have ever tasted.
Other restaurants on the beach include Miramar and Rancho La Costena—where you can have fresh caught fish large enough to feed two people for $10 (drinks included). The Las Olas resort is right on the beach and has a very good restaurant, bar, and the usual resort amenities.
David is a 45-minute drive away and has all the shopping and medical facilities you would expect in any large U.S. city.
Daytime temperatures in the dry season (January to March) reach 85 degrees; the rest of the year is about five degrees cooler and more humid but the constant sea breeze keeps it pleasant year-round. We typically only run the air conditioning to reduce the inside humidity two hours a day. The rest of the time, open doors and a sea breeze provides all the cooling you need.
We often bicycle through the inland farm communities—you get to enjoy the sights and a chance to practice Spanish with the locals, who are very friendly.
Most people think this area is difficult to reach. From Miami it’s a three-hour flight to Panama City, followed by an airport-change to Albrook Airport (a taxi ride across the city), wait for a one-hour flight to David…followed by a 45-minute drive to the beach.
We don’t mind the trip, or that La Barqueta hasn’t been extensively developed. In fact, the remoteness is part of what drew us here.
The beach is 16 miles long with dark gray volcanic sand. Half of this stretch of beach is a marine refuge where sea turtles nest (mostly loggerhead, olive ridley, hawksbill and green sea turtles). This creates a tremendous opportunity for anyone who lives along this stretch of Pacific Ocean to watch the turtles hatch.
Editor’s note: A few weeks ago we launched IL Radio, courtesy of DJ Dan Prescher. All the programs so far have focused on finding your overseas paradise—and the one about to air covers Panama. If you want to listen, tune into Radio IL here.