Buenaventura Marina

Playa Blanca & Rio Hato in Panama – Guide to activities, things to do & excursions

Playa Blanca (White Beach in Spanish) is a long stretch of spectacular sandy beaches on the Pacific coast of Panama called the Pacific Riviera. Only a 1.5hr drive from Panama City, Playa Blanca beach is the perfect getaway to escape from the chaos and noise of the city to immerse yourself in the sunny tropical climate, enjoy the warm blue ocean and do all the exciting activities in the area. 

Playa Blanca is a strategic base not only to explore the long stretch of beaches but also to go sailing, enjoy a sunset cruise, practice water sports, explore Farallon Island, play golf, use jet-skis, visit the highlands in El Valle de Anton and much more. 

I you are planning a holiday at the Riviera Pacifica around Rio Hato, you may stay in Playa Blanca Resort or the RIU Playa Blanca Panama, or maybe even in Decameron or Bijao or Buenaventura. Those resorts and hotels are a great base to explore the white beaches and clear waters of the Pacific Ocean and lush green mountains up to the Valle de Anton, the Anton Valley.

Sailing to Farallon Island from Playa Blanca

Isla Farallon, in Spanish, is a unique island of volcanic formation. From afar, it looks like a beautiful giant rock, but as you approach it, you will realize that it’s full of life– with big colonies of frigates, cormorants, and pelicans. 

Sailing to Farallon island with a glass of champagne is among the top activities for anyone wanting to relax and experience the beauty of the ocean in Playa Blanca. Not only the light at sunset is stunning, but you can also enjoy a plunge in the warm water, snorkel, do kayaking or stand-up paddle from the sailing boat once you get there. For more infos, visit our page on catamaran sailing tours and yacht charters from Playa Blanca in Rio Hato in Panama

For the more adventurous explorers, some times of the year is possible to take a rugged path to the top of Farallon island from where you can appreciate a magnificent view

Sailing Catamaran in Playa Blanca /Rio Hato in Panama

Farallon and Playa Blanca beach

Farallon beach (Playa Farallon) is continuous to Playa Blanca. It is opposite Farallon island, on the mainland. You will love the chill vibe, it offers a good atmosphere to spend time with family and friends, playing volleyball, and enjoying the sun. You can also find a few huts with palm thatch roof along the beach that can be rented for shade. They are useful if you want to drop your beach stuff in between swims or simply enjoy a cold beer from one of the nearby restaurants.  

Santa Clara beach 

It’s a lovely white sandy beach with a calm section of the ocean, perfect for swimming or taking a long leisure walk along the shore. The sand is soft and lighter than on other nearby beaches. It’s only 7km from Farallon beach and there are a few restaurants and accommodations along the coast. It’s possible to rent a rancho (that is a thatched palm roof with a table and benches) or hammock only for a few dollars to lounge around. Although weekends can be busy, Santa Clara is rather quiet during the week and it’s a good place to try local food such as fried fish (usually catch of the day) with crunchy patacones (a Panamanian specialty that you have to try: fried plantain – so much better than the usual french fries). 

Fishing in Playa Blanca, Rio Hato and Buenaventura

Fishing is very popular on the Pacific side of Panama. There are big sport fishing tournaments and Panama has fishing grounds for big game fish. There are big game fishing boats leaving from Buenaventura Marina. Give us a call at +507 64948089 and we will be happy to get you in touch with those providers.
If you are up for a relaxed day out at sea, maybe with your family, and you also like to fish: We from Sailing Catamaran Outventure offer fishing trips with our comfortable sailing catamaran. We have four deep sea trolling rods and also some casting rods. Going out with a sailing catamaran is very comfortable and relaxing, and we have the speed to catch fish as well. We propose at least four hours to reach fishing grounds for predator fish, like Mahi Mahi (aka Dorado or Dolphin Fish), Spanish Mackarel (Sierra), Jackfish (Cravalle Jacks are strong fighters), Albacora and Yellowfin Tuna.

If you just like to go fishing in Playa Blanca casting a rod from the beach, there are a couple of river mouths along the beaches of Playa Blanca. Rio Hato and Rio Farallon have plenty of fish and the best is to go there slightly after high tide when the water is leaving the river into the sea and the fish will pass by your lures. You will catch Red and Yellow Snapper (Pargo) and Sea Bass (Robalo) and Blue Runners (Cojinoa). All of which are great fish to eat with tasty white meat.

Read more about fishing in Rio Hato, Playa Blanca, and Buenaventura and about fishing charters in Panama here.

Jet skis in Playa Blanca

If you want some speed in the water, there are two providers in Playa Blanca / Rio Hato, where you can rent jet skis: Xtreme Adventures Panama and Luxury Water Sports Panama. 

Horseback riding in Playa Blanca 

Snorkeling and diving in Playa Blanca

It’s possible to snorkel in the surroundings of Farallon Island. You can find butterflyfish, moray eels, several types of sea coral and if you are lucky, maybe you will spot turtles or even whales during whale season (July – October). Although snorkeling is more popular, there are one or two providers that offer diving in Playa Blanca. 

Escape to El Valle de Anton from Playa Blanca

If you prefer to get away from the heat of the beach to enjoy the cooler climate in the highlands, then El Valle de Anton is a good option for you. Only one hour away from Playa Blanca, you will be able to do hikes, Hotsprings, hikes, waterfalls, a market, cafes, and restaurants

Food and groceries shopping, pharmacy in Playa Blanca / Rio Hato in Panama

There are plenty of supplies available. About 1 km from the entrance to Playa Blanca, you will find a shopping mall with a variety of shops. There is a large Supermarket “Super99” for groceries, drinks etc. There are also ATMs to get cash in that supermarket. A hardware store “Novey” that has stocks accessories for the beach like masks and snorkels, air mattresses, and towels. Go to Pretelt for a large selection of quality, imported meat cuts and sausages for your beach barbecue. Then there is the “todo a dolar” store for gifts, accessories, and all kinds of other things that your holiday home may be missing. Also you will find a drug store “Arrocha” with a large pharmacy here.

For a good selection of fresh fish and seafood as well as vegetables and fruit, you may want to check out the Vegetable and Fish Market in Rio Hato / Playa Blanca.

How to get to Playa Blanca, Rio Hato, San Carlos?

Playa Blanca beach is located in Rio Hato, in the district of San Carlos, province of Cocle. There are different ways of getting there: by private or public transport or by plane. 

Playa Blanca / Rio Hato by car 

The easiest way to get from Panama City to Playa Blanca is by car. It’s possible to either take your own vehicle or rent one. It’s a 120km drive from Panama City and as in most places in Panama, the time to drive can vary depending on the traffic, especially during peak hours. If you are already in San Carlos or Rio Hato, there are a few car rental options in Buenaventura, Decameron, and Plaza Mareas Mall.  

If you are coming from the city and don’t have your own vehicle, it’s best to arrange private transportation via one of the places where you will be staying at. Transportation is often included when staying in one of the all-inclusive hotels (Playa Blanca Beach Resort, Decameron Resort, Sheraton Bijao, Riu Playa Blanca, JW Marriot Panama Golf and Beach Resort). 

Playa Blanca / Rio Hato by public bus

Although it’s a lot more convenient to travel by car, some people opt to take public transportation to get to Rio Hato. The best way to get a public bus from Panama city to Rio Hato is at the Albrook bus terminal. All the buses going to province of Cocle from Albrook bus terminal pass by Rio Hato: counter B23 (Anton), B24 (Penonome), B25 (El Cope), B26 (Aguadulce). You can talk to the driver so you are dropped off at the Panamerican road, near the hotel where you are staying in Playa Blanca / Rio Hato and from the Panamerican road you can take a taxi to your place of stay. 

Playa Blanca / Rio Hato by plane

If you are coming from abroad, it makes sense to fly directly to Rio Hato International airport – Aeropuerto Internacional Scarlett Martinez.  There are direct flights to/from Canada (Toronto, Quebec and Montreal).  

The best excursion while on a holiday in Playa Blanca in Rio Hato in Panama?

You are coming to Playa Blanca, Rio Hato, Bijao, Decameron or Buenaventura for a holiday? Don’t miss going on a catamaran sailing tour leaving from Buenaventura Marina in Rio Hato in Panama.

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