Piña Beach - East
Piña Beach - East, seen above from the ruins of the 16th Century Spanish Fort San Lorenzo, is (was?) a rather desolate stretch of coastline that runs west from the mouth of the Chagres River roughly about a mile to the point at the right. It is not a picturesque "postcard" kind of beach, it feels more like the kind of place one gets shipwrecked on. (In the 1960s, the US Army had an artillery range there. By the end of the 70s, the range was gone, but they would still perform various training exercises on occasion.)
If one is curious enough to see what is around the point, Piña Beach - West, a little bit of walking will render the most spectacular stretch of coastline. Luscious green jungle draped over Mars-red cliffs with the Caribbean crashing on coral reefs. I will never forget seeing it for the first time.
Arriving at Piña Beach for a lost weekend.
A canon in Ft. San Lorenzo overlooking
As you can see, not your classic Caribbean postcard. Camping on Piña Beach ... party time!
Pollo de la Playa Piña:
Boulder on the point - the gateway to Piña Beach West:
Simply walk around the boulder and up the coast.
Piña Beach - West
Unfortunately, the photo does not do justice to the view. I only had a pocket instamatic then, and the clouds don't help to bring out the colors. Piña Beach West runs about 2 1/2 miles up the coast ("up" meaning towards North America) to the one-time border between the old (now nonexistent) Canal Zone on this side and the Republic of Panamá on the far side. The Panamanian town Piña is just beyond that, which lends its name to "our" beach.
Now, let's take a walk along the coast. Some pictures will be better than others ...
Look closely, and you'll see a freshwater waterfall beyond the beachcomber.
This is as far as we walked. There are fewer hidden "micro-beaches" with sand and more points to swim around.
Eating a coconut found on the beach, below the Piña cliffs:
There may be more picturesque places in Panama, but we would find ourselves longing for another “lost weekend”
at Piña Beach. This longing came to be affectionately known as the "Piña Syndrome".
Back to Piña Beach - East. Turning in for the night.
All photos ... © 1978, 1979 Bud Tristano