Torio, Panama


Today it was 102°. That was the average temperature during our visit to Torio, Panama last March. I am no meteorologist but I can tell you that the dry heat I am experiencing today is nothing like the all encompassing, suck the air out of your lungs and give you a sweaty upper lip heat we felt in Panama. I am telling you this because that kind of heat is challenging to deal with and most normal individuals would perceive that as a negative. I am giving you this negative so I seem like a balanced person because now I am going to tell you about how that place is pure magic and everyone should love it and if you go and hate it we clearly cannot be friends.

How we came upon deciding we wanted to visit this specific area in Panama is muddy now, but I know the original motivation was the surf. Torio is located on the Pacific side of skinny Panama and about a 5 hour drive from Panama City. The drive isn’t treacherous by any means (maybe the potholes) but it’s long and you do run the risk of getting pulled over for speeding and paying a bribe to a dirty cop. We wouldn’t know.

Through some deductive reasoning and asking for directions in our rough Spanish we arrived to the tiny town of Torio. It was everything I love about Central America-one or two shops, lots of ocean and not a lot of people. It took a little bit of work to narrow down what accommodations were around that area, but we found an amazing place for the first week. We now lovingly call the place Gabby’s but you’ll find it listed as the Punta Duarte Garden Inn. You know a place is a hidden gem when you have to have a stare down a herd of Brahman cattle in hopes of getting them to move out from the front of the gate that leads to your b&b. It was a beautiful place made up of six suites constructed from carved wood and slate. There were four of us in our group, including my sweet German friend who made fast friends with the (also German) ex-pat owner. Fast friends = homemade nutella crepes and coffee. Like I said, the place was pure magic. For the second week we stayed in some thatch roof huts that were $20 a night and I showered with a gallon jug. It’s called balance.

The fishing was good and the surf was even better. We would fall asleep listening to the loud hum of cicadas and the soft roar of the ocean below us. Dust covered the car and most days we survived on empanadas, fresh melon and cane sugar Cokes. I am counting down the days until we go back.

find more photos of our trip to Torio on Instagram.



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