The western Azuero coastline know as the Azuero Sunset Coast in Panama’s Veraguas province is one of Panama’s most beautiful coastal areas, locvated one hour south of the city of Santiago. The landscape is far more dramatic, than the better known and more developed eastern side of the Azuero. Lush mountains descent to scenic beaches, most of them deserted. Plenty of wildlife inhabits the area. The land is sparsely populated, and locals are involved with cattle ranching or agriculture. An asphalt road was completed 10 years ago, and slowly travelers are discovering the hidden treasures of the Azuero Sunset Coast. Pristine beaches, rivers, waterfalls & mountains greet the visitor.
Fishing off the western Azuero is fantastic! Tuna, dorado [mahi-mahi], wahoo, sailfish, marlin, yellow tail and many other game fish are plentiful. Dolphins and whales regularly visit the waters. Sea turtles come to shore to lay their eggs. The residents of the fishing village of Malena are devoted to their protection and conservation.
A growing number of European and American expats have made the coastal area around Torio and further south their home. Several residential developments are sprouting up along the coast. From Torio the road leads up to the highest point above Pt. Duarte allowing fantastic views of the coastline in all directions. Cebaco Island, Pt. Duarte, Playa Morrillo, Monkey Island, Las Isolotes and the mountain range of Cerro Hoya National Park can be seen here. On clear days the Coiba Island group comes into view.
Heliconia Bed & Breakfast is located just north of the small fishing village Malena. Heliconia B&B is run by a dutch biologist couple, devoted to nature preservation and reforestation and they provide guided tours to both Coiba Island Tours & Cerro Hoya National Park Guided Hikes. The lodge provides much needed accommodations in yet a remote location.
A few places to stay & restaurants are available in Torio, which is within walking distance of a wide and shallow beach favored by locals from Santiago on weekends and during summer vacations. Panama’s summer lasts from December to April during the dry season. This is the hottest time of the year with daytime temps in the low 90s, tempered by trade winds by the coast and cooling down to the 70s at night.
Morrillo Beach, 5 miles south of Torio has been ‘discovered’ by the surfing crowd a couple of years ago and is fast becoming a popular surf spot with one of the best and most consistent waves in Panama. An annual surf tournament is held here in February.
Cerro Hoya National Park is located at the south western end of the Azuero peninsula. Covered with virgin rain forest it is home to many endangered species and wildlife. Loes & Kees at Tanager Ecotours can arrange hiking tours into Cerro Hoya, guide by a multilingual biologist who knows the park intimately.
Just a few miles offshore is Cebaco island and further out 50 miles away is Coiba Island National Park, which used to be a penal colony under Noriega, but now is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Heliconia B&B offers guided overnight tours to Coiba Island.