Early one morning, I donned my bikini and a coverup, and packed up a beach bag before setting off through the cold, landlocked, mountainous town of Boquete Panama.
Was I insane? There were no beaches anywhere around Boquete!
True true, but surprises await just a van ride away in the Chiriqui Gulf.
My eyes were still bleary with sleep when I arrived at the Explora Ya HQ, and jumped into the comfy van with 10 or so other sea-seekers.
the route between the Chiriqui Gulf and Boquete Panama – can you see the rainbow?
The van stopped a few times for bathroom breaks but otherwise it was smooth sailing through some stunning scenery and nature until we reached the boat dock of Boca Chica on the Chiriqui Gulf. The ride only took about 2 hours, but stepping out of the van onto the dock was like stepping into an alternate universe.
From Boquete to Boca Chica, the weather and landscape had changed entirely. From drizzly, brisk, and with a strong “brisa” (breeze) in Boquete, to warm, sunny, and calm in Boca Chica. THIS is what I was looking for!
But we weren’t even to the main attraction yet.
From the van we piled into a boat, got vested up (safety first!), and headed off into the horizon. A short, sunny, relaxing ride later – paradise was in sight!
Paradise found in the Chiriqui Gulf of Panama
The boat pulled up to the sand, everyone jumped out, massive coolers were unloaded, and the beach day from Boquete began!
While my beach snobbery had hit an all time high after visiting Bastimentos Island while in Bocas del Toro, I have to admit that the island beach of this little spot in the Chiriqui Gulf was spectacular.
The Chiriqui Gulf beach was unique because it was so isolated, empty, and secluded – it truly felt like being a Castaway or a Survivor. The sandy strip also felt extra special because after leaving Bocas, I thought my beach days were over for a while and that I’d need to retire my bikini for the rest of my Panama trip. It was a lovely surprise to be able to bust it out again, especially after a few rainy, foggy days in Boquete!
The island we visited was wonderfully uninhabited, and adventurous beach goers could even explore a path going inland. Since I only had flip-flops (and no bug spray), and also lacked the motivation to do anything other than swim and work on my tan, I elected to stay planted on the beautiful beach. I caught up on some Kindle reading and took a LOT of photos.
For those that wanted some underwater adventure, snorkels were available for guests of the tour to use. I opted out as I’m not a great swimmer, and the waves got pretty high. I still jumped in the water and swam about, but I stayed close to shore.
The trip was perfect for a solo traveler like me, and I met others on the tour. It would also be an AWESOME outing for a group of friends, and especially for a wedding party, like the group that I was with. What a fun way and relaxing way to bond with guests before the wedding!!!
After spending the better part of the day relaxing and deeply enjoying what would be (really this time) my last beach day in months, we all piled back on the boat to head to Boca Chica, and from there into the van and back to Boquete in time for dinner.
Definitely a day well spent, and a lesson learned – you CAN still soak up the sun when studying Spanish in the mountains of Boquete!
What’s the most beautiful or surprising beach that you’ve visited?
You can book this trip through Explora Ya – contact for more details and pricing.
A cooler of soft drinks, waters, and light snacks are provided, though you can bring extra (adult) beverages and food if you want.
Be certain to wear sunscreen and bring extra! The sun is INTENSE, though there is ample shade from the palm trees.
Bring close-toed shoes (as always, I’d recommend Vibrams) and bug spray if you plan on hiking inland.
Interested in more Boquete adventures? Click here!
The most surprisingly beautifully beach I’ve seen was the first one I saw on Ko Samet in Thailand. Unfortunately, I forgot the name of the beach but was so lovely. It helps that I had no images of what the book would like prior to arriving on the island.
Unfortunately I never made it to Ko Samet myself but I heard nothing but wonderful things about it!
It’s wonderful that you had the Chiriqui Gulf beach to yourself (and your group). Traveling is so awesome when you find unexpected gems.
Agreed! It was so unexpected! 🙂