Harry Hunt a long time resident shared his experience of living on the Burica Peninsula below Puerto Armuelles. I asked Harry to speak because I, a beach hater, love the area of beaches below Puerto Armuelles.
Puerto itself has a troubled history of feast followed by famine. A few decades ago it was the jewel of Chiriqui with over sixty thousand residents centered on the growing and exporting of bananas. United Fruit, Chiquita banana was the main employer and when hit with a major labor dispute they packed up and left the area. What was left in the wake of their departure was a virtual ghost town. Puerto dropped to about ten thousand people and is still suffering a weak economy.
Things are changing, Puerto has a natural deep water port and is home to a petro terminal and pipeline that moved oil from the Pacific to the Caribbean at Chiriqui Grande. This pipeline, a free zone and new government investment are making the area attractive to capital investment. The area below Puerto is unfortunately is within ten kilometers of Costa Rica. The constitution of Panama precludes non Panamanian citizens from owning land in that zone. According to attorney Rainalda Mata-Kelly, neither a corporation nor foundation will get you around that issue. Harry discussed new ideas that are being used to achieve ownership using banks as trustees similar to Mexican beach property sales.
I love the beaches below Puerto and from a strictly tourist agenda I recommend anyone who lives in Boquete and wants to get into a time machine back twenty years take a day trip.
The beach above is a few hundred meters after exiting the Petro terminal and has a great little restaurant featuring fried fish and cold beer.
I shot the video below starting in the Petro Terminal and it will provide some idea of the area.