On the Westernmost section of Panama's Pacific Coast lies the Chiriqui National Marine Park, a region of lovely beaches, crystalline waters excellent for scuba diving and snorlkelling and beautiful offshore islands. The Chiriqui National Park remains rarely visited, but with the increasing popularity of Boquete in the highlands nearby, it is likely to become increasingly popular. The deep sea fishing along the coast here is truely excellent. Boca Chica is the main town and tourism base and day trips can be arranged to the amazing Coiba Island, though the travel distance is much less from Santa Catalina which lies further West.
Hotels in Boca Chica include Gone Fishing Lodge (a good option for those interested in fishing, as well as those not), the upmarket Panama Big Game Sportfishing Club (mainly for deep sea fishing vacations) and the more basic Wahoo Willy's. Alternatively Cala Mia is a boutique hotel on it's own private island.
Islas Secas are some 16 privately owned islands in the Chiquiri Gulf. On these islands lies Islas Secas Ecolodge, one of the most luxurious ecolodges in Panama - an extremely exclusive, and expensive, small beach resort.
Boquete & the Chiriqui Highlands
Boquete and the surrounding Chiriqui highlands are Panama's top destination for all kinds of outdoor activities. Boquete, a lovely town increasingly popular with North American retirees, is the most commonly used base to explore this rural region of Panama. There are some very scenic drives nearby, as well as great birdwatching, rafting and hiking. Mountain biking, horseback riding and visits to hot springs are also possible. Boquete is flanked by Baru Volcano National Park, which is a great hiking destination and it is common to spot the resplendent quetzal bird in the rainforests there. Upmarket hotels in Boquete include the boutique Palo Alto Riverside Hotel, the Coffee Estate Inn, Los Establos and Panamonte Inn & Spa.
Other highlights in the Chiriqui Highlands include the small alpine villages of Bambito, Cerro Punta and Guadalupe, each of which has it's own unique charm and plenty of beautiful scenery nearby. La Amistad National Park is also in this northwestern region of the Chiriqui highlands, and is shared with Costa Rica - there are more hiking trails and a huge range of wildlife in this park.