This post about Estero beach(Playa Estero) in Santa catalina Panama comes following the one about the village (pueblo) beach that i did a few days ago,so you should read both if you want to decide which of the two beaches you will head to on your next visit to Santa Catalina
Estero beach is about 2km outside of the village of Santa Catalina,and to get there,you must take the main street of Santa Catalina till you see the public phones and turn left by the phone.If you keep on this paved street for about two kilometers you will arrive at Playa Estero,where the road ends.On the way there you will pass some businesses like surf and shake surfshop,some restaurants,as well as dirt tracks that go to the right(towards the ocean) and lead to more restaurants as well as several surf camps,as the famous Santa Catalina point is preciselly located between the village beach and estero.
the access to Estero is done on a new paved road that ends abruptly at the beach,with nowhere in sight to park the car,unless is a 4 wheel drive and you go on the beach.Because of this,people park on the side of the road and also on the slightly wider space right at the end of the road.This will leave you,if there are more then three or four cars parked in the area,with no space to turn around.The option is to go on reverse till you find an entrance to one of the surf camps/camping sites that you have on the right as you come down the last 100 yards or so to the beach and turn around there and then park your car along the others on the side of the road and walk down to the beach.
all this maneuvering is fine for now,but as the number of visitors grow we will face getting stuck at the bottom as other cars line behind with no space to turn around.Maybe someone will turn one of the private properties close by into a parking lot,its the only solution I can see.
So to the government,thumbs up for paving the road to Estero beach,down for not leaving turning/parking space,creating a real dead-end.Its amazing to see this kind of problem arising in a village where a bit over 10 years ago there were as many as two cars!!!!
But now,driving,walking,bycicling,or the very popular getting a ride on the back of my pick-up,you have arrived to Estero beach.Ahead of you,a small river (Estero,hereby the name of this beach),that at most on a high tide will have hip-high depth,but most times ankle to knee-high.Across the estero,a coconut grove, were you can devise some kind of construction,which you will later find is the oasis surf camp.To the right of the coconut grove,the Estero beach extends its sweet,dark sandy length onto scenic points in the distance where the whitewater makes the surfing soul want to walk there ,and even further across the sea,two green Islands(Cébaco and Gobernadora) Frame the East end of the view
As you walk towards the center of the beach you will open up views to the West as well,seeing past the beach and around the west cliffs to the crashing waves of the point in the distance and beyond them,Santa Catalina Island.
A look at the crashing waves and the ever-present beginner surfers and you want to jump in the water,which is luke-warm,shallow-sandy bottom with gentle rolling waves perfection.
Now you really have the views while your body cries of joy by having found this soothing paradise.From now on you will remember this beach,want to ride its waves,play on its sands or just lay in contemplation of the natural surroundings and a handful of other lucky travelers enjoying Estero
This is the real beach getaway,a place where you can truly relax and smell the ocean,surrounded by green and good vibes.Even if you come to Santa Catalina only to go to coiba,take some free time to visit and spend some time at Estero beach,you will really have a good time!!!
A final note to say that even if ths beach is a few kilometers away from the village,when you stay at sol y Mar all you have to do is ask and we will provide you free transportation to and from the Estero.