Time to check out Santa Catalina on the Pacific Coast of Panama. Find out how to get there, where to stay and what there is to do.
From Boquete, I travelled five hours by bus to Santa Catalina – a tiny beach town on the pacific coast of Panama. The town is home to around 300 residents, but is frequented by surfers and watersports lovers! The day I arrived was beautifully sunny, so we headed straight down to the beach. It was nothing like the beaches I had been to on the Caribbean coast. If anything, it reminded me of the huge stretches of beach in Cornwall or Devon. It was rough, a bit desolate and there was a lot of dark sand to cross to get anywhere near the water. Thankfully the water was warm and worth the effort!
The next day, it rained… and rained and rained. What do you do in Santa Catalina in the rain? Find a hammock under cover, pour a strong cup of coffee and get stuck into a good book. There really isn’t much else in this town to occupy your time. We had breakfast at the bakery in the centre which was delicious and the service was very friendly. We were split between two accommodations, but spent most of our time at Sherlley Cabanas – a complex of colour-themed rooms with kitchenettes and hammocks. I loved the atmosphere here, and owner Shelley and her sidekick Ollie (who runs paddle-boarding lessons) made for great hosts. During a rare break from the rain, I managed a walk all the way along the beach, clambering over rocks and watching the waves crashing down. Crabs darted in front of me, frantically trying to get back to their holes in the sand before I got closer!
Once night falls in Santa Catalina, it gets really really dark! The stars and moon are extra bright, but even brighter are the hundreds of fireflies that lined my walk through the town. The soundtrack of crickets and birds was heightened every now and then by a ‘bloo bloo’ sound made by the resident toads living in the grass. At least they seemed to be enjoying the wet weather!
Next stop – somewhere I’ve been excited about visiting for a long time… Panama City!