The Azuero is a large peninsula located in the south of Panama. Cultivated over 10,000 years ago, it was one of the first parts of the country to be settled, before the arrival of the Spaniards. The peninsula is often referred to as the “heartland” of the country, upholding traditions of farming, culture, and celebration. It is also home to one of Panama’s most secluded national Parks, Cerro Hoya.
The Azuero peninsula is divided into three provinces: Herrera, Los Santos (both of which are entirely on the peninsula) and Veraguas, which extends into the west of the peninsula. It is surrounded by the Pacific Ocean on the south, the Pacific and Gulf of Montijo to the west, and the Gulf of Panama on the east.
The peninsula is essentially divided into two regions: east and west.
The eastern Azuero is best known for their Carnival celebrations that take place annually in Las Tablas. Other highlights in the region include Pedasi, a small but culturally rich fishing town, and the growing surf towns of Playa Venao and Cambutal.
The western Azuero, known for farming, beaches and beautiful sunsets, is also developing quickly. The western coastline stretches along 70 km of pristine beach and is home to several towns including Mariato, Torio and Morrillio. These areas have also become popular pacific surf destinations. Further down the coast is Punta Duarte, offering some truly breathtaking ocean views.
Cerro Hoya National Park
Named after the peninsula’s highest peak, Cerro Hoya national park protects a wide range of plants and animals. More than 95 species of birds have been identified in the park, among them are the great green macaw and Azuero parakeet, a bird endemic to the area.
The mountains are believed to have the same geological origin as Coiba, forming with the Galapagos about 80 million years ago, and then slowly drifting towards Panama. Today the park is accessible from both the east and west of the Azuero. Walking paths are not well maintained or marked. For this reason, it is highly recommended to use a knowledgeable guide when embarking on a novice stroll or advanced hike.
For Cerro Hoya guided tours leaving from the Eastern Azuero contact:
Sansara Surf & Yoga resort (Cambutal)
For Cerro Hoya guided tours leaving from the Western Azuero contact:
Heliconia B&B (Palmilla, just past Mariato)
Eastern Azuero Accommodations
A small boutique hotel in the heart of town with rooms ranging from $60 - $120/night
A 14 room hotel right on the surf break with rooms ranging from $90 - $170/night
Sansara Surf & Yoga Resort
A new surf & yoga resort on the beach, with 11 private cabins. Contact for rates.
+ 507 6309-1697
The Eastern Azuero peninsula connects to the Pan-American Highway in Divisa and runs south along the eastern side of the peninsula. In Divisa (approximately 3 hours from Coronado) head south, keeping left on to the over pass heading towards Chitre & Las Tablas. This road continues into the town of Las Tablas.
To get to Pedasi, drive through Las Tablas until you reach a park on the right, just after the police station. Make a left at the park and continue on this road following the coast for approximately 40km. After passing through the small towns of Santo Domingo, Guarare and Pocri you will reach Pedasi.
To get to Playa Venao, drive through Pedasi continuing on the main road for about 30 minutes until you reach Venao. If you continue past Playa Venao in approximately 1 hour you will reach Cambutal. However, if you do not wish to stop in Pedasi or Venao there is a more direct route to Cambutal from Las Tablas driving through the mountain town of Tonosi.
Western Azuero Accommodations
Palmilla (8 km past Mariato)
Heliconia Bed & Breakfast
This eco-lodge is located on 8 hectares of botanical gardens. Rooms range from $50 - $80 /night.
Melana (10 km past Mariato)
Hostel Familiar Iguana Verde
rooms ranging from $10 - $40 /night
Villa Vento Surf Hostel
Dorm rooms available for $15/night, and private rooms starting at $45/night.
Camino Del Sol Eco Lodge
A modern resort overlooking the ocean with 4 rooms & 2 bungalows. Rooms range from $130 - $190/night
Punta Duarte Gardens
The hotel offers 5 spacious rooms ranging from $85 - $148/night.
The Western Azuero connects to the Pan-American just east of Santiago. Approximately 5km before Santiago there is a green sign for Atalaya, at this sign head south by making a left (coming from Coronado) there is a fruit stand & fonda on the corner. Continuing on this road for about 1 hour you will pass through the small towns of Ponuga, Tebario, and Mariato. In Mariato there are two mini supers a gas station and ATM. Continue on this road to reach Torio (7km), Morrillo (15km) and Punta Duerte (20km).