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Playa Banco - The Local Beach

Playa Banco is a good example of a local style beach.

A Rancho at Playa Banco - The Local Beach

At Playa Banco, local style beach means no frills. There are several 'ranchos' set up (little shade huts) with hammocks and benches. There is a small cantina with local beers for $1. Also three or four Fonda (family style) kitchens are available for a fresh fish plate with patacones (fried plantains). A fish plate usually sets you back $7 or $8 dollars depending on the size of the fish.

Perhaps the best part of this beach is the shade. If anyone in the group has been sunburned from Coiba and you just want to see and smell the ocean without getting back into the sun...this could be your place. The beach is gentle and very attractive. On the weekends you may find several locals or groups from Santiago visiting...especially during high season (December- April). On a weekday during low season, however, you'll see very few people. You could even have the entire beach to yourselves!

The Dock and Ramp at Playa Banco

The Dock and Ramp at Playa Banco

The ramp at Playa Banco is a great feature if you want to launch a boat to Coiba. From Lago Bay, this makes a lot of sense. Although a little farther than Playa Santa Catalina (the 'Boat Beach'), the ramp is much much easier to launch off. Playa Banco is also closer to Isla Coiba than Santa Catalina, which helps get you to the National Park with a little less boat travel.

Location - How to get to Playa Banco

Playa Banco is approximately 22 kilometers from Lago Bay driving the other direction from Santa Catalina (towards the highway to Sona). Upon arrival to the Sona Highway, you'll take a left and follow your Google Map.

A Map for Playa Banco

All in all...if you have one beach day, Estero is highly recommended. If you want to go more remote or more native...Playa Banco can be a relaxing 'get away' from your get away.

Lago Bay is 22 kilometers from Playa Banco.

Note: This blog is written about both Playa Banco and Playa Arrimadero. Separated by a few rocks (same location), I've lumped them together under the sole name of Playa Banco for simplicity. Playa Arrimadero has the shady ranchos and Playa Banco has the dock.


Fly from Albrook to Lago Bay?  Continue on to Bocas?  Find out which Charter option is best for your group.

The best Diving and Surfing in Central America. Unique recreation for family and friends along their Panama journey.

The drive from Panama City to Lago Bay is approximately 6 hours.  A chartered plane takes about 45 minutes. 

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