Puerto Armuelles lies almost on the Costa Rician border. If you head south on the Pan American highway and see the border crossing at Paso Canoas, make a left and keep going.
In about an hour you will get to the small town of Puerto Armuelles. It is actually not that small at 25,000 population but it certainly feels small.
Back in 1927 the Chiquita company found that the area had a nice natural deep water port. Perfect place to be able to dock and export bananas from Panama to places around the world. In order to run the company and the banana crops they needed workers and workers housing, so the company built the town.
Unlike any other type of housing in Panama, homes in Puerto are made of wood siding and many sit well above the ground. The once vibrant town is in disrepair since the company left in 2003. Almost half of the once 46,000 plus residents left as there were no jobs.
This has unfortunately left the town to many jobless people who are scraping by to remain in their homes. Some of the people though have found work at the Petro Terminal Panama (PTP). Alaska now brings tankers down to the area unloads the full tankers sending the unrefined oil through a pipeline that was built in 1982. The pipeline crosses Panama and comes out on the Atlantic ocean. There tankers load up the oil and take it to refineries on the Gulf coast for processing.
Puerto Armuelles doesn’t have many attractions, hotels or restaurants. However the beaches are beautiful, calm and azure blue.
With the beach being breathtaking in the area, many are hoping that Puerto has a revival of sorts, attracting new interest from visitors.
On a recent drive with friends we explored around town and stopped for lunch at a local eatery out on the ocean. We had a wonderful meal while we enjoyed the scenery.