Panama Star article - The Pacific Beaches

Written by T. Rob Brown (aka Roberto Chocolate) Tuesday, 04 August 2009 19:46
Vista Mar’s inviting patio/1 Fotos


A perfect destination for an anniversary getaway

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My wife lets out a blood-curdling shriek. Wine bottles clank together as I slam down on the brakes. Horns blare. A diablo rojo narrowly misses smashing in our front passenger door. Nerves frazzled, we carry on. We are headed out of town to celebrate our 10th anniversary, our destination an oasis of fresh air, cool breezes and soft sand. In a mere hour and a half we will be breathing in the salt air of Panama’s Riviera – the Pacific beaches.

We stop near Capira at Los Arrieros roadside fonda for their famous smoked BBQ chicken, and again along the main highway in Chame, for the best key lime pie south of Key West at Amarilis Restaurant, and our picnic lunch is complete.

Finally in Santa Clara we pull into Las Sirenas, a cross between a cozy motel and a hilltop ocean inn. I have reserved the best room, right on the ocean. A friendly greeting, a quick arranging of our ocean-side feast, and we’re on our way to the best beach in Panama! Santa Clara Beach, with miles of pristine white sand, gentle waves, crystal clear waters and best of all, it awaits us, virtually deserted. The sight of this private paradise takes my wife’s breath away when she steps out onto its immaculate expanse. A dip in the ocean and a picnic lunch with chilled wine under the umbrellas later, we are lulled to sleep by the soft rolling of the waves.

The city feels a million miles away. As the sun sets, we retreat to our room, shake off the sand and prepare for a night on the town. I have made reservations at Terrazas del Mar, an elegant, sexy restaurant inside Vista Mar Golf and Beach Resort. Chef Pascal Finet greets us warmly. We stroll the grounds of this spectacular resort. We meander through the meditation gardens, past a glistening ocean side swimming pool and a stunning patio overlooking a perfectly groomed beach.

Our tour is curtailed by the arrival of our appetizers. Like an old married couple, we dip into one another’s bowls without having to ask. My sea bass carpachio is a complex cross between a ceviche and sushi. My wife’s shrimp bisque is light and healthy, scented with Pernod. Her gigantic seafood casserole main course brims with octopus, shrimp, lobster and succulent fish. I devour one of the best bacon-wrapped fillet mignon dinners I have had in Panama.

Instructed to leave room a mystery dessert, we have the copious remains of the seafood casserole packed for take-out. The mystery dessert – a frozen chocolate, coconut, and nut concoction anointed with an extraordinary blend of liquors — restores our fading energies, and so we leave this most sensuous of restaurants and head out in search of Saturday nightlife. We stumble onto a lively karaoke night at the XoKo, where we party until two am.

The next day, we check into the luxurious Bristol Hotel inside the Buenaventura Resort at Farallon for a day of lounging in poolside cabañas, walking the beach, massages in the spa, and dinner on the patio. In the morning, as we leave through the entry gates, she leans over and kisses me on the cheek. A perfect 10 ending to an anniversary getaway.


Amarilis Restaurant, in Chame on the westbound side of the Interamericana highway, next to Summer House Furniture. Tel: 6511- 4028

Los Arrieros Grill, just past Capira on the westbound side of the highway. Look for the smoking grills beside the road.

XoKo’s Restaurant, Santa Clara, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it Tel: 993- 3876

Terrazas del Mar at Vista Mar, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it Tel: 6612- 0095


Las Sirenas, Online reservations: English Tel: 6747- 1772, $110 – $140 for an oceanfront room.

Bristol Hotel Buenaventura, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it Tel: 264- 0000, $235 -$435.





Last Updated on Tuesday, 04 May 2010 19:06