The Caribbean coast of Panama is quite amazing. Not sure that you'll get much surfing but there's plenty of windsurfing when the winds up!!
We entered the country via Obaldia on the Colombian/Panamanian border. Real frontier stuff with armed soldiers, arcane bureaucracy, access only by sea or air.
A few intrepid backpackers....
The Kuna village of Annachakuna was wonderful, like settling in the pages of a National Geographic spread. We bartered with villagers. I strongly disagree with just handing out 'stuff', everywhere has something to exchange be it a fish
, seashell or piece of fruit. Cruisers who blithely pass through these relatively untouched communities handing out largess do neither themselves or the communities any favours.
We were advised by the villagers not to stray from the compound as the FARC guerillas were active in the neighbourhood when we were there.
You will find far fewer cruisers in these parts
.No potlucks or sundowner visits.The water is less clear than further west as many rivers enter the sea here but the communities are much less 'westernized' than the more easterly ones.
You will need to be pretty self sufficient here, very little in the way of foodstuffs to purchase
, water is scarce and fuel
Eye ball navigation
is the only way to stay safe, sailing only in good conditions with high visibility to spot the many reefs
. Charts are outdated and often inaccurate. Further West more people rely on their chartplotters, and there are a few nasty accidents every season....
The Pacific side has some fascinating rivers that you could explore, you can get about 60miles upstream and right into the Darien jungle in places. This is NOT to be undertaken lightly. It's a wild place, no Disneyland adventure here.
Wild life, indigenous tribes, challenging navigation
. IMHO not for the novice
The summer storms can be very wild, a lot of electrical
activity and a number of boats are hit every year. Drug running is rife, keep your head
down and look the other way is my advice! We were asked to leave one island by the chief as he was concerned for our safety
when some Columbian drug barons were coming seeking their goods that had washed ashore on his island. The ever enterprising locals had sold them on and were now living in fear or retribution....we left the following morning.