Punta Chame is an ideal day trip from Panama City and if you go during the week like we did you may discover that you have the sun, sand and ocean to yourself. Few people come to visit its beaches, even on weekends, and is therefore an ideal place for anyone looking for a bit of solitude. An endless quiet, peaceful, and stunning white sand beach wraps around the point and beckons you to walk in peace and quiet, or to throw down the towel and jump into the waves. If you have a good 4×4, you can even drive out to it!
Punta Chame is a long narrow peninsula that juts into the Pacific Ocean about 90 minutes west of Panama City … just head across Panama’s iconic bridge, Puente de las Americas, and drive up the Pan-American Highway until you see the big green and white sign for Punta Chame on your left. Then the adventure will begin.
We navigated over hills on a small, winding road past beautiful lakes and farmland, and soon the trees disappeared and we began to view small mountains to the west. Then man-made lakes appeared that reminded us so much of the fish farms in Timor, Indonesia that when we found an open gate along the way we just had to drive in to explore a bit. Sure enough, it was laid out just the same, so that’s probably what it was.
As we drove further, small tidal lakes appeared with sun-bleached tree stumps sticking out of calm waters to reflect the mountains in the distance. We knew that the surf was near and the drive was almost over.
Arriving at Punta Chame Beach
A collection of buildings brought the paved road to an end and tire tracks in the dirt wound down to the beach. When we first saw it we thought it was spectacular and even better, empty! We had the beach to ourselves. After spreading our towels on the warm sand, slathering on sunscreen and shooting a few photos, we hit the waves. The water was pleasantly warm and the views from the water wonderful. The fluffy white clouds piling up over the land in the distance practically blended in with the white sand.
After a swim and catching some rays, we headed out along the beach to walk towards the point. We could see the high tide line that cut small cliffs into the sand and off in a distance past several islands we could see the city through the afternoon haze. Around the point, back up the coastline, we also glimpsed a nearby resort, Nitro City.
Two of our kids had accompanied us and we teased our son Chris that he was as white as the sand. As in any other tropical country Panama’s sun can be brutal so when he started looking a bit like a cooked lobster, we packed up to go to Nitro City for lunch. This hotel is full of action-packed possibilities: dirt biking, sail boarding, a machine that pulls you across the water and over ski jumps, and for those seeking a little relaxation they have a pool and pool bar. It was tempting to just slide into the water and relax on those lounge chairs, but we were just too hungry. We ordered local beers and grilled corvina and when our meals arrived on our table, we were shocked to see how large they were; each platter held a whole and very tasty fish!
The town of Punta Chame itself is small: only about 400 inhabitants. There is another hotel there, and after we got back I found out that there’s a less expensive local bar-restaurant that serves typical meals, several seafood dishes, and highly recommended ceviches. It’s located near the sign saying Taborcillo Island. Must try the next time we go.
Punta Chame’s now on our list of fun day trips from Panama City. Go during the week and you’ll have the beach to yourself … unless we are there first!
Do you have any favorite day trips?