Puerto Armuelles Panama the city of the sands

Angelo Martinez

By Angelo Martinez

Puerto Armuelles is a significant place in the history and present of Panama. This coastal city, known as the city of sands, is the capital of the Baru district.

It became an important spot in Panama because of where it’s located, its beautiful nature, and the growth that came from its ports. Armuelles has the biggest port in Chiriqui.

In this post, we want to share with you the story and current life of this city, including the special spots that make it unique. Come enjoy the beautiful view from the pier and stay with us until the end of this post.

Geographic overview of Puerto Armuelles

The town of Puerto Armuelles is located at the westernmost end of Panama, close to the border with Costa Rica and the bay of Charco Azul. It is the furthest city from Panama City with a distance of just over 550 km separating them.

Weather patterns of Puerto Armuelles

For most of the year, the weather here is hot. The daily maximum temperature ranges between 89.6°F and 77°F and the hottest month is March. So residents take the opportunity to visit the beaches, swimming pools and recreation centers in the region.

October is the coolest month. The temperature usually goes from about 75°F to 84°F. Overall, Puerto Armuelles has warm weather like in the Caribbean. The sea breezes also make the temperature feel really nice.

Street in Puerto Armuelles

History of Puerto Armuelles

You’re probably wondering: What is the story hidden in the streets of this coastal city? A city not very different from the one that would inspire the novel The Old Man and the Sea, by the famous writer Ernest Hemingway.

Let’s start with the name of this charming city.

Originally, the first people who lived here were pig farmers, so the area was first called Rabo de Puerco, which means Pig’s Tail. In 1924, they changed the name to Puerto Armuelles to honor Colonel Armuelles, a hero from the Coto War. The city also got the nickname “The City of Sands” because it’s built on sandy soil.

When commercial banana cultivation began, Puerto Armuelles played a significant role for the United Fruit Company. This would become one of the main exporters of bananas worldwide, favoring the local and national economies. The city would become the place of residence of the company’s managers.

In 1989, the Exxon Valdez oil tanker accident significantly impacted the port’s exports and gradually diminished its economic importance. The accident prompted the United States to reconsider its oil transportation methods and the port slowly lost its relevance. Around the same time the United Fruit Company left the city, which also affected the city’s economy.

In 1990, the population was 46,093. A decade later, in 2000, the number had dwindled to just 22,755. This dramatic decrease in population can largely be attributed to the loss of industry, which significantly impacted the city’s economic foundation. Despite these challenges, the city has maintained its unique charm.

Street in Puerto Armuelles

What to do in Puerto Armuelles?

In Puerto Armuelles you can find a cosmopolitan city, as well as landscapes of incredible natural attraction, such as Punta Burica. Without forgetting, of course, the beaches, the surfing expeditions, and the romantic image offered by the sunsets on the pier.

Puerto Armuelles is a cosmopolitan city because here it is easy to find people of different nationalities, attracted by culture or commerce, interacting with each other. During the banana trade boom, the city experienced a strong international influence due to the visits of ships and sailors. Furthermore, the proximity to Costa Rica favored cultural and commercial exchange between the two.

Although currently the number of ships entering the port has been reduced, the small city of Puerto Armuelles still retains its international charm, common in larger cities.

Located just under 1 km from the city, Silver City Beach draws the attention of visitors and locals alike. This is due in part to its turquoise color, its easy and free access, and also to the warm temperatures of the area.

Puerto Armuelles works as a bridge to access Punta Burica. This town stands out for being a small coastal relief with reefs and excellent waves for surfing, but above all for its colorful and memorable landscape. An exotic natural landscape that you should take advantage of to discover.

Lovers of surfing and boat tours, as well as maritime life in general, find Puerto Armuelles a spectacular place due to its infinite possibilities. Some establishments are dedicated to renting equipment so that visitors can have an incredible aquatic experience. Being a coastal city, we can usually watch local fishermen heading out into the ocean.

We can say that Puerto Armuelles is experiencing a happy episode in its history. In June 2022, the residents of the city received news about the construction of the new Pier. For more than 25 years, everyone has been looking forward to this moment because it means the creation of new jobs, business opportunities, greater openness to tourism, and even the visit of cruise ships in the near future.

Due to its historical richness, its significant role in the country’s economy, and its natural beauty, Puerto Armuelles is a place that we should keep in mind when we think about Panama.

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