Puerto Armuelles, Panama – Unique & Charming Beach Town

View of ocean, blue sky, swirl of white clouds, pier
View of Puerto Armuelles’ waterfront, taken from its downtown waterfront park (Photo by Walda)

Puerto Armuelles, Panama is the only true beach town in Panama

It is right on the beach.

You’d think in a country with so much coastline that there would be many towns on the beach.

That is not the case.

Many towns in Panama are near, but not on, the beach.

Contenders for “True” Panama Beach Town

Pedesi and Tonosi on the Azuero Peninsula come to mind. Nice towns. We particularly like Pedesi. But the beach is quite the hike from those towns.

Well I guess, San Carlos qualifies as a town on the beach. But San Carlos lacks a downtown center and is a much smaller than Puerto Armuelles.

Panama does have cities on the beach, like Panama City and Colon. It also has resort and vacation home areas on the beach, like Coronado. As well as a number of smaller fishing and surfing-orientated villages.

Puerto Armuelles is Panama’s only true beach town.

About Puerto Armuelles

beachfront park, palm trees, cafe, young girl & man on tire structure
Puerto Armuelles’s beach front park in town’s center.
(My husband Reyn, daughter Blaise, & others pictured)

Puerto Armuelles is also a charming town that values its beach location.

It has a park right on the beach (photo above was taken from that park). As well as another park and playground across the street.

(You can see more photos of Puerto here.)

Its pier, although badly in need of repair, is very popular with those who love to fish.

Puerto Armuelles has a over 20 thousand residents, including a growing population of expats.

Puerto has just the right population to make the town vibrant, even bustling at times.

Click Here for Aerial Tour Puerto Armuelles On A Flying Trike.

Chiquita Banana & Puerto Armuelles 

For eighty years Puerto Armuelles was a Chiquita Banana company town.

White wooden house with red roof
The Las Palmas neighborhood was built by Chiquita Banana for its executives.

Chiquita’s engineers and designers put their stamp on everything from the city’s street grid to wooden houses on stilts, of which Chiquita built by the thousands.

The Chiquita look is the classic tropical colonial look that one would expect to see in an old movie such as the African Queen.

With its broad overhangs and hardwood ventilated window openings, the Chiquita houses provide good shade, and are raised above the damp and the bugs of the tropics.

The spaces in some of the executive houses are absolutely huge, with ten foot ceilings, and open floor plans of as much as 3000 square feet per floor.

Hot pink wooden house with flowers and white cement fence
Carmen’s house tend to be both colorful and duplexes. Chiquita built the neighborhood for its dock workers.

These houses, painted every color of the rainbow, give a very charming and unique look to Puerto.

Chiquita built whole neighborhoods to house its different classes of workers. All of these houses have the Chiquita look.

Of course, the town also has the typical cement house you find throughout Central and South America.

The “Chiquita Factor” has made Puerto Armuelles far different from any other Panamanian town.


2 story wooden buildings along asphalt road
The San Jose neighborhood, near downtown. Built by Chiquita for lower management.

To learn more about the various areas of Puerto Armuelles, visit its neighborhoods.

Where is Puerto Armuelles

For most of the time Chiquita was here, Puerto Armuelles was only accessible only by train or boat.

Puerto now has a well-maintained paved road connecting it to the rest of Chiriqui and beyond.

(In fact, road is being expanded from its 2 lanes to 4 lanes.  The work on that is now almost fully completed.)

Puerto is about 40 minutes away from the Costa Rica border crossing at Paso Canoas. Pasa Canoas has a number of good shopping malls, as well as a Burger King and Subway.

Google Map with red pointer showing location of Puerto Armuelles Panama
Puerto Armuelles is right on the Pacific Ocean in the popular Chiriqui Province of Panama.

It is about an hour or so drive from David. David is the largest city in the Chiriqui Province.

David is significantly larger than Puerto. Although, Puerto Armuelles is the 2nd largest city in Chiriqui.

You can buy pretty much everything you need in Puerto Armuelles from building supplies and cell phones, to pesto, and broccoli. However, there is definitely more selection in David.

David is the big shopping mecca in the area. They even have something like a Costco there. It is called PriceSmart.

We go to David every two or three months, mostly to get some specialty items and to do some bulk shopping at PriceSmart.

We enjoy going to David. It seems there is something new there every time we visit. Our favorite dentist is there as well.

We like to go shopping in David. But we are always happy to get back home to Puerto Armuelles.

Click to Browse Our Puerto Armuelles Real Estate Listings.

Please comment below.

Leave a Reply

43 Comments on "Puerto Armuelles, Panama – Unique & Charming Beach Town"

Notify of

Bruce Baldwin
1 year 2 months ago

Interesting website. We are looking at moving to the Costa Rica / Panama area in the next year or so. Perhaps to build an upscale B & B on or near a beach. We spent some time in one in Costa Rica a year ago and are intrigued with the idea. Will continue to look at your website and see what you are doing. Any updates from you are welcome.
All the best, Bruce Baldwin

Yvonne Tucker
Yvonne Tucker
1 year 6 months ago

What is the best way to get from Paso Canoas to Puerto Armuelles? Any idea of the cost of a taxi from there or David. Could fly from Palma Norte or Quepos to David. Which would be more cost effective and timely? Thank you so much.

Yvonne Tucker
Yvonne Tucker
1 year 6 months ago

As a tourist coming from Costa Rica for one night what is the best way to get from the border to Puerto Armuelles?

1 year 8 months ago

I plan to permanently relocate in 3 yrs. Coming from New England I want to live where the climate is not an Outward Bound experience and my money goes further. A beach is at the top of my list. I’ve been reading about Costa Rica but am troubled by the rise in crime. PA sounds/looks lovely! I would want to rent longterm, a small place for a reasonable price. Any thoughts on the feasibility of my plan?

Dr. Pat
Dr. Pat
1 year 11 months ago
I enjoy your site and your e-news letters. I have a residence in Tambor, CR but I have been researching Panama now for just over un ano. Mi esposa y yo are looking to retire in a few years mainly to exit the extremely high tension lifestyles of North America. Puerto seems a lot like Tambor just it has more people and amenities. I would like to continue providing chiropractic and rehabilitation services if I locate there. Do you believe there would be a need for a professional like myself? We are possibly looking to come to Panama this summer… Read more »
1 year 11 months ago
Hi Dr. Pat, I was just talking with someone about the high stress, regulation-choked, lifestyle in the US. It is much more relaxed in Puerto Armuelles. A much saner pace to life. Mostly northerners rail against how slow everything takes in Panama. But it is a nice relief from the much faster pace in the US and Canada. Panamanian Chiropractors (or other professionals) cannot practice in Panama, unless married to a Panamanian. There are expat chiropractors that operate “under-the-radar”. But you are taking on some risk doing that. Thanks for your appreciative words about my site and newsletter. It is… Read more »