Despite our nice setting nestled in the mountains of Panama, we’re not too far from the Pacific Ocean so today’s adventure was the Las Lajas beach. Brian and Tiffany managed to turn a 1.5 hour drive into a 2.5 hour drive to get there. We were stopped at a light and were considering whether to tip the street juggler next to the car when we both realized we forgot a wallet. Given the state of the gas tank we had no choice but to go back. When we passed by the second time, we made sure to tip the juggler since our inconvenience could have been soooo much worse…and he was pretty good.
The reputation of this beach is that it’s popular with locals and some tourists too. Given the time of year we’re not seeing many tourists anywhere so it was us and a few Panamanian families.
The beach is kind of in the middle of nowhere and has very little development (certainly compared to SoCal but even compared to Costa Rican beaches). We parked in a place with shaded parking and covered wooden tables where most folks had set up coolers, grills and chairs. We got there at low tide and were shocked to find the waves 300 yards across the sand and marks next to our table where the water would be at high tide.
We didn’t pack any food so our first objective was getting something to eat. We wandered 5 minutes up the beach and on the way sent hundreds of crabs scrambling into their holes as we got close. We all agreed there were definitely more crabs than people at the beach today. For lunch we went to Las Lajas Resort. It’s the only hotel directly on the beach and was very charming all around. The open air restaurant is next to the pool and has a view of the ocean as well. Brian had the tuna special and Tiffany chose the red snapper special. It occurred to her it could be the whole fish which would be a nice lunch adventure and it was! The kids thought it was the freakiest thing they’d ever seen someone eat because ‘it has an EYEBALL’! That was true but it was also delicious and we finished off the whole thing.
We played in the sand and the waves for a few hours and enjoyed ourselves immensely. We were trying to decide whether it was time to leave but in the end had our decision made for us. Apparently the beach closed at 4pm so the police drove back and forth getting everyone out of the water. We suspected it is related to a COVID-19 curfew but we couldn’t find out for sure.
As we arrived back at the house we were treated to a peek at the summit of Volcán Barú. It’s usually covered in clouds so it was a great way to end our adventures for the day.