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Hotel Guanico Lodge is a hidden gem located at the southern tip of the Azuero Peninsula, right on the shores of the Pacific Ocean in Guanico Abajo.
This friendly community lies off the beaten path and hosts an array of activities for every class of nature lover.
Guánico is home to over 12 kilometers of pristine beaches that serve as nesting grounds for four endangered species of sea turtles, as well as a surf haven for tourists from near and far. Across the winding river that travels through the entire community, and empties into the Pacific, through farmlands, lies a small hot water spring frequently visited by locals for its healing properties.
A quick hour-long hike or horseback ride through rolling hills surrounded by farmlands brings you to a breathtaking beach where you can relax in the solitude and snorkel the rock reefs full of tropical fish and corals. Guided boat tours are available to appreciate the views of Guánico from the Pacific, fish the local stock, and explore the national reserve, La Marinera and its surrounding caves and waterfall.
La Marinera is an area of scientific study and is home to one of the eleven places in the world where the massive nesting of the Olive Ridley sea turtle can be observed. During these nesting events, between 5,000 and 10,000 turtles will nest on a single beach in a course of 2 to 3 days.
For hiking enthusiasts, the only remaining national park in the Azuero Peninsula, Cerro Hoya, is an hour-long drive away.
Day hikes or several day treks can be organized with local guides to appreciate this virgin forest home to an impressive amount of flora and fauna. Cerro Hoya is a birdwatcher’s paradise, including the endangered Azuero Parakeet, a species of parakeet endemic only to this park, as well as the boisterous Three-wattled bellbird. Eco-Tourism is growing business for Panama and the Azuero region, and continued support will help to protect the untouched, ever-changing beauty that is Panamá.
By Sarah Rogers (Peace corps)