3 Family Friendly Day Trips Right Near the Beach!
Beyond the beautiful salt and pepper beaches and 5 star resorts, the Pacific coast offers a variety of inland adventures. From large lakes to rushing waterfalls and spectacular mountain views, our coast really has it all. Here are a few day trips perfect for the whole family. Arenosa Fishing Arenosa is a small fishing community located on the west end of Lake Gatun. This fresh water lake, created by a series of dams built during the construction of the Panama Canal, is only 70km away from Coronado. Stocked with Peacock Bass, the lake offers a great experience for children, as everyone with a rod in the water is sure to pull something out!
Arenosa is approximately a one-hour drive from Coronado, towards Panama City. The turn to Arenosa is about 5 minutes after Capira. You will pass the Estrella Azul factory on your left hand side (coming from Coronado) where there will be a sign indicating Arenosa is the next left. Make a left at the top of the hill, just before overhead walking bridge and the delta gas station. After making the left, the road will continue for 25km. This road will take you through rolling hills and pineapple farms. Just before the 25k marker there is a sign indicating a left hand turn to Arenosa. There is a small restaurant and bus stop on the corner.
It is best to book a fishing trip in advance. There are a couple of different companies and people who run fishing charters. If you are looking to accommodate a large group Dennis Melton runs charters on two 24 foot pontoon boat that can accommodate up to 12 people. Contact Dennis for rates at (507) 6792-8027. Note that his costs do not include the cost of bait, having the fish cleaned, or tips for the guides.
For smaller groups of 2 – 4 people Dennis will recommend a local guide who can take you out in a panga (smaller fishing boat) for around $80.00.
It’s a good idea to bring a cooler, cold beverages and snacks. Although it is the dry season its best to prepare for sun or rain. Bring sun block, hats and a rain jacket.
On shore there is a restaurant called La Escondida, open Wednesday through Sunday they will prepare the fish you caught for lunch. You can also have your fish cleaned and filleted to take home with you.
El Valle de Anton
El Valle is a short distance from Coronado. Approximately 10 minutes past Coronado driving towards David at the 95km marker you will see a sign indicating a right hand turn to El Valle. On the corner you will notice the construction of a new gas station, and the Las Uvas hardware store, Fretarria Las Uvas.
El Valle (The Valley), is located 26 km through the windy mountain. The trip from Coronado will take approximately one hour; passing through small local towns such as Las Uvas, El Espino, Copecito and Las Margaritas.
If you are looking to take in some of the spectacular views while heading up the mountain, a great place to stop is the Las Margarita’s bar. The bar is positioned on the edge of mountain overlooking the valley and Pacific Ocean.
Once you are up the mountain visit the famous local market where handcrafts, fruits and vegetables, art and souvenirs are for sale daily.
It gets cool in the mountains, (20 -26 degrees Celsius) so it is a good idea to bring a sweater. Warm up with a cup of hot chocolate at the Gourmet coffee shop near the entrance to town. If you’re still feeling chilly warm up in natural hot springs.
A great outing for the kids in El Valle is a trip to the El Chorro Macho waterfall. With Canopy Adventures, the whole family can zip line through the lush jungle amidst thee toed sloths, chirping birds and royal blue butterflies. The course is not too treacherous, and only takes about an hour. Its best to wear long pants, close-toed shoes and a swimsuit (to swim in the waterfall).
El Valle is a nature lovers paradise. A walking tour with a hired guide is a great way to experience the mountain town. On a tour you will catch a glimpse of petroglyphs (ancient painted stones), square trees, waterfalls and natural hot springs. If you are lucky you will even get to see some of the native wildlife.
To see the local animals you may have missed on the tour head to the El Nispero Zoo. The animal refugee has over 100 animals including the golden frog, howler monkeys, parrots and jaguars. Entrance fees are low, ranging from $1.00 for kids - $4.00 for adults.
La Laguna is the prefect escape for families looking to explore the outdoors. Located 800 meters above sea level, and about an hour from Coronado this man-made lagoon sits on the foothills of Picacho Hill that stand 1,182 meters high.
There are several paths up the mountain and around the lagoon. Hikes ranges in length and difficulty. The lagoon can be walked in around 15 minutes whereas a hike to the summit of Picacho will take about an hour. The summit offers a spectacular view of the Pacific Coast.
La Laguna also offers camping sites to those interested in a rustic night in the wilderness. If you plan to spend the night it is a good idea to pack warm clothes and mosquito repellent as in the mountains temperatures are cooler and the bugs can get bad.
The entrance to La Las Lajas is approx. 300m away from Coronado towards Panama City. Make a left on the Lajas road just after the Cochez store and Terpel gas station. Once in Las Lajas you will pass Cholos Mexican Restaurant. Continue 19km to find the town of La Laguna. The road will become a dirt road and fork, keep right till the end where you will find the entrance to the lagoon.