Boca Chica

JAGGED-TOOTHED COVES, ISLANDS OF DEEP, DARK VOLCANIC rock, and dolphins breaking in the wake. As your boat cuts through the sea and the Pacific morning sun shines down, you look back at this rustic coast of Panama, spotting from afar the fair sandy beaches of Boca Chica. Boca Chica, the island-studded coast not far from Boquete, appears to be the perfect example of the way it looked back then, back to a time when real estate tycoons and all inclusive resorts were just a twinkle in the eye of large conglomerates.

The majority of the surrounding coast is untouched, with the exception of several small towns where cantinas and rustic beach cabanas offer fried fish for $4 and a cold beer for fifty cents. Boca Chica has the real feel of Costa Rica, with its boutique, eco-friendly hotels nestled into the mountains: places, with their open terraces and door-less rooms that seamlessly bring the outside in.

The sport fishing in Boca Chica is remarkable too. In most restaurants and hotels you’ll find the obligatory photo with the owner or his friends holding fish, the size of small sedans, by the gills. The Islas Secas (islands) lie not too far out as well, known for their white sandy beaches and crystal-clear waters; home to another of the nation’s more exclusive resorts. I have fished these waters numerous times with my kids and it is an experience of a lifetime.

From the surface you can observe some of the largest marine visitors to the Gulf of Chiriqui. Humpback whales travel from the north and south to congregate in the area give birth and reproduce in the warm tropical waters. Whale shark, sperm and killer whales can be also observed, along with resident pods of dolphins. The inshore islands and reefs offer shelter from the currents that sometimes sweep through the area, and are excellent for the novice diver to gain more diving experience.

With nearby regions becoming almost over saturated and a new international airport in the works, Boca Chica seems to be the obvious place for investment growth. It beholds the kind of potential we’ve seen in places like Pedasi and Azuero.