1. Communication tower, Reserva Forestal De Fortuna
No facilities but the guard offered us to use his bathroom if needed. Parking on a flat dirt area right at the antenna and the guard’s hut. We asked permission from him and it was no problem -we weren’t the first overland travellers stayed there. The guard was very friendly and we offered him mangoes and a pineapple which he graciously accepted, in return he picked us loads of organic cucumbers and took us to a big walk to an oil pump station which was fascinating. The road leads in from the mountain highway (HWY10) for approx. 4.7km on a single-lane paved road.
We stayed here 1 night in March 2014. Pleasant warm but fresh air day, pleasant chilled evening, no bugs.
CAMPING SPOT SUGGESTION
Los Posos hot spring.
Parking by the dirt road by the cold river. The hot spring is about 1-2km up the road (that is $2-5/ pers) NOTE: the 2 small bridges are limited to 10 tone vehicles, but there’s a possibility to stop before the first bridge too on a gravel area.
Though it is near Boquete this area is on sea level and is very hot and humid.
2. Volcán Barú, Parqu Nacional Volcán Barú
Great boon docking place. Parking by the side of a dirt road on a grassy elevated area and surrounded by beautiful hills. If you stay still you can even spot Quetzals! The dirt road leads up to the top of the volcano -from this point it is 20 km roundtrip. You can hear people walking by in the middle of the night who are making their way up for sunrise.
We stayed here 2 nights in March 2014. Moderately warm days and very chilly nights, no bugs.
3. Boondock outside of Boquete
Parking by the dirt road. Very quiet overnight spot.
We stayed here 1 night in March 2014. Moderately warm days and very chilly nights, no bugs.
*no photo taken
4. Pacific beach camp -Santa Catalina
Parking on the public beach by the mouth of the river. There are a small restaurant up on the cliff for possible facilities. It is possible to park up overnight at the surfers’ camp/cabana place over the river for a $7/person fee.
We stayed here 1 night in March 2014. Very hot and airless day, slightly cooler night, sand flies.
5. XS trailer park -Santa Clara
$20/ night Toilet, outside shower, electricity, water hook-ups, wifi, restaurant, bar and pool. The owner isn’t friendly and their hearts don’t seem to be in their business anymore -hence the “For Sale” sign outside, and there are about 15 small cages with endangered birds locked up. All camp facilities are good though the campsite is right by the highway and it is noisy even overnight. We tried parking by the beach just a few kms down the road but there’s no vehicles allowed on the beach and the restaurants/cabana places didn’t want RV’s. We stayed here 1 night in March 2014. Very hot day, hot night, mozzies.
*no photo taken
6. Boondock spot on mountain, North of El Valle
The road leads up to here (approx 7km) from town, El Valle is through huge facilities of caged chicken farming. Although the camp spot we found is behind the ranger’s shed (looked unused) on a small, flat grassy area. There’s a hiking trail starts here up to a viewpoint looking over the valley with El Valle.
We stayed here 1 night in March 2014. Hot day and cool, breeze evening, no bugs.
7. Boondock spot on mountain near Cerro Cara Iguana, South of El Valle
A dirt road leads up from the South end of town to a trailhead Cerro Cara Iguana, the camp spot is just about a 100 meters beyond this point. Parking by the side of the road on a grassy area. It is very quiet and when we were here it was fairly windy but fresh air. It is walkable to and from town but it is about an hour.
We stayed here 3 nights in March 2014. Hot days and cool, breeze evening, no bugs.
8. Windmill Hostel, in town El Valle
We stumbled into a not-yet-open hostel (building a swimming pool too!) They are tending to welcome RV’s with facilities (electricity, water and bathrooms) Parking on a large grassy area in the garden. It is in fact in town, El Valle. Shopping, cafes, market, bars etc are easily accessible and the road is surprisingly quiet at night. We stayed here several nights in March 2014. Hot days, windy, fresh-air, cool nights, mozzies and biting flies in the grass at dusk.
9. Boondocking in San Lorenzo National Park
$5 for the park entrance
It’s a fishing area but there’s plenty of room for parking. We parked up at the end of the peninsula with a lovely view of the fort over the other side. It is very quiet and peaceful but gets busier on weekends.
We stayed here a few nights in March 2014. Very hot days but breezy nights, no bugs.
10. Balboa Yachtclub
The usual Panama City spot for overland travellers. Parking on the street in front of The Balboa Yacht Club Restaurant. It gets incredibly busy and noisy at weekends, weekdays are bearable. The restaurant is quite good and there’s free WIFI (day/night) and can use facilities here too. This is also the spot where the agent meets you on the morning of the police inspection if you are shipping from Panama to Colombia with SC Line.
We stayed here more nights than we wanted in March 2014. Very hot and airless days, just about bearable temperature at nights, no bugs though.