Azuero Peninsula Map • West Coast Driving Directions

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Inter American Highway @ Atalaya turnoff to Azuero west coast:

Driving west: After passing La Devisa stay alert. After ~ 1o km you will pass the Black Lion restaurant to your left. 2 km further you will see a green sign ATALAYA. Turn south here.

Driving from Santiago east: You will pass the airstrip and shortly after the hospital to your right. Watch out for police with radar guns around the hospital and observe speed limit! Turn south at green ATALAYA sign.

Turnoff GPS coordinates: lat 8.073870º lon 80.930765º
directions to Azuero west coast, Atalaya turnoff 

Atalaya, turnoff to Azuero west coastDriving west on Inter American Highway

Azuero west coast turnoff at gas station, AtalayaTurn right after the gas station, follow the PLAYAS sign. Fill up here, the next gas is 75 km and sometimes out of fuel.

The drive from here to the west coast of the Azuero will take roughly one hour to Torio or more if you are driving all the way to the end of the road in Flores. Keep going south, watch out for pot holes, people, cows & horses on the road. After the small town of Panuga take the right fork of the road. Approaching the village of Tebario slow down to pass the police station with speed bumps. Located 15 km further south is the district town of Mariato, which has 2 Chinese grocery/hardware stores, a government health care center, and a gas station just north of town. This is the last place to buy supplies, drinks etc. If you are hungry, – [just north of town], south of the gas station, try out Maria’s, a small outdoor plapa shaded restaurant – highly recommended! Simple, clean & delicious food at very reasonable prices. From Mariato it is an other ~ 8 km drive to Heliconia Bed & Breakfast. Watch out for the green sign. They are located to the right side of the road. GPS coordinates: lat 7.35527º lon 80.57627º

Besides some cabañas and rooms down the road in Torio, these are the only accommodations on the Azuero west coast at this time. One mile further south is the fishing village of Malena, who’s  inhabitants are devoted to the conservation of sea turtles, which come here to lay their eggs on the beach. South of Malena the road will climb a steep hill. Once you reach the summit there is a great view of the coastline stretching further south. Cebaco island and several small islands hugging the coast can be seen.  Torio, at the bottom of the hill has a shallow, wide beach good for swimming. Watch out for submerged rocks at high tide. Locals pan the Torio river for gold. As mentioned there are a couple of accommodations on the side of the road, including two small restaurants run by Robbie, an American and Ludvig, a Norweigan. These are the last facilities catering to visitors.Torio beach, western Azuero, Veraguas, PanamaTorio beach
The scenic road south of Torio curves along the coast through cattle pastures, and steep hills providing stunning vistas of the coastline, passing deserted beaches, some of them only accessible by dirt roads. High clearance 4×4 vehicles are required for off-road explorations.

Morillo Beach
5 miles south of Torio has been discovered by the surfing crowd a couple of years ago and is becoming a popular surf spot in Panama with a consistant break. An annual surf tournament is held here in February. Cabañas & a hotel are under development. 
Morillo Beach world class surfing in an uncrowded environment

Directions to Morillo Beach: From Heliconia B&B drive south through Malena and Torio. 5 km south of Torio the road ascends to Alto Duarte. After descending from the hilltop crest of the road watch out for Three Star Gate, a metal gate marked with 3 stars to the right of the road which leads to Morillo Beach. Make sure to lock the gate behind you. The road behind the Three Star gate has been improved. Park before the little bridge across the mangroves. Morillo Beach is becoming increasingly popular, but there is still plenty of space to catch a wave. During the week you might be the only one surfing Morillo

Santiago towards Torio Veraguas Panama
Driving from Atalaya down the West Coast of the Azuero
YouTube © by lzeltzer on Jul 18, 2011
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Driving between Torio and Arenas bring back memories of California’s Highway 1 around Big Sur – minus the fog, and no pine trees here. The area is sparsely settled, but you will see plenty of cows, – some of them love to hang out on the road. So drive carefully, especially around curves. If you see oncoming cars flash their lights it means slow down – livestock ahead! The village of Arenas hosts occasional rodeos on weekends, which draws tons of locals and can be a lot of fun to watch. The road ends at the village of Flores, gateway for hiking and birdwatching tours into Cerro Hoya National Park. Kees & Loes at Heliconia B&B, phone # 6676.0220 will be happy to arrange guided hikes into the park.
Azuero west coast near Mata Obscuro, Veraguas, Panama
Santiago towards Torio Veraguas Panama
Driving from Atalaya down the West Coast of the Azuero
YouTube © by lzeltzer on Jul 18, 2011
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