Morillo Beach shoreline in Panama

Morillo Beach On Panama’s Azuero Sunset Coast

Why You Need To Follow The Surfers

If you want to find the best beaches in Central America, my advice is to follow the surfers.

Not the tourist surfers… but the local guys.

You don’t need to be a surfer… or care about ever stepping foot on a board.

But, if you’re a lover of sand, sea, and spectacular sunsets, you may just find yourself on some of the best-kept-secret beaches of the world.

Take Morillo Beach on Panama’s Azuero Sunset Coast, for example.



You won’t find Morillo listed on the top 10… or even 50… beaches in the world.

You may not even find Morillo on a list of top 10 beaches in Panama.

But it’s here that handfuls of surfers and backpackers are coming out for weekends (mostly from Panama City)… before returning home and spreading the word to their friends.

After my boyfriend got word of Morillo, we headed here for two weekends last month. Of course, I’d heard rumblings about the Azuero Sunset Coast from my colleagues in the office. But what we found along this stretch of Pacific coast was completely beyond my expectation.

Welcome To Morillo Beach! Population: You… and a bunch of sea turtles

Welcome To Morillo Beach! Population: You… and a bunch of sea turtles

This is truly one of Central America’s best-kept secrets. You won’t meet many tourists out here because there are no big hotels. Along this stretch of Pacific coast, you’ll find just a few hostels and camps catering mostly to surfers, backpackers, and adventurers who are lucky to stumble across this paradise.

I’ll admit I’m only experimenting with surfing since coming to Panama. And I’m not sure how far I’ll get. But there was far more to enjoy out here than battling the waves with my board.

At full occupancy, Villa Vento Surf on Morillo hosts just eight people. For US$40 a night, we were right on the beach, 50 meters from the break. It’s literally just you, the beach, the waves… and whoever else has checked in at the camp… Forget about WiFi. Instead, sit back and be entertained by your fellow travelers—in our case, a young girl in a bikini, who played her guitar and sang with the most beautiful jazzy voice.

Out here on the Azuero Sunset Coast, you’re surrounded by nature, pure and raw. Sea turtles lay there eggs along the beaches here—I stumbled on a nest during my visit. Right next to Morillo is a national park (the drive over to the park is truly breathtaking—you’re presented with Panama in all her glory).

About five minutes’ drive from Morillo, and up in the hills, is the village of Torio. Here you’ll find some small bars and restaurants. Prices, by the way, are about half of those in Panama City. And, I was served the best mushroom pasta I’ve ever tasted.

When Jack O’Neill said he wanted to build something that would allow him to surf longer, he was, of course, talking about his invention of the modern wet-suit.

But for the surfers and adventurers who come to Morillo—and other parts of this coast—they, too, will want to build something that will allow them to stick around longer… whether on weekends… on vacation… or year-round…

Morillo—and the western coast of Azuero in general—may not be making the top-10 beach lists today. But, 20 or 30 years ago, neither were the hot-spots in Costa Rica and Nicaragua that we read about now. And, for many of these now-celebrated beaches, it was the surfers who drove the path of progress. They came for the waves… and they needed accommodation. Along came the camps, hostels, guesthouses, and resorts. Many surfers were among the first to snap up the best lots and build their vacation or retirement homes. Now it’s tough to find anything affordable along these coasts.

This isn’t going to happen here overnight, of course. Morillo—and the Azuero Sunset Coast—is at the beginning of the curve. Even locals in Panama City haven’t heard of it. And, that’s all part of the draw for those who come down here to visit… and the golden opportunity for those who would like to stick around and buy or build their own home. Coming here now, you still have your pick of the best lots… at the best value.

If you’d like to experience this little-known paradise, remember that the Azuero Sunset Coast will feature at our upcoming Live and Invest in Panama Conference in Panama City this June. You’ll get to hear from expats already living out there—and about opportunities for living or investing in the area (as well as in our top spots for living and investing in the country). And, if you think Azuero sounds appealing, you’ll have the opportunity to take a trip out to the coast after the event.

We can work out those side-trip details later. For now, be sure to secure your seat using coupon code: PTYCONFIDENTIAL.

Meanwhile, I’m counting the days till I can get back to Azuero for a weekend escape. I guess I’d better take my surf board, too…

Valentine Fouché

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