Tortuguilla Beach in Colón

Tortuguilla Beach. Photo: Jerry
Tortuguilla Beach. Photo: Jerry

Among the attractive things that Colón has are its Caribbean beaches with white sand and crystal clear waters. Very close to San Lorenzo Castle is Tortuguilla Beach, as such it is located within the Forest Protective and Protected Landscape San Lorenzo.

This time I was already lodging in Colón, although not in the city, the journey was shorter.

On the way

To get there first we go through the Gatun Locks and Agua Clara locks, taking advantage of the fact that the bridge is not yet ready and it is allowed to pass through them, it was a great experience, especially that of Gatun Locks, which, although I have passed there several times, it is the first time that I find the gate open, so we passed and saw a large ship at our side.

Now you only can go over the Atlantico Bridge.

Ship at Panama Canal
As we drove through the Gatun Locks, the gates were open and we could see the ship that was in the lock.

Then you have to go through an Aeronaval sentry box, you just have to tell them that you are going to Fort San Lorenzo, yes, have your documents in case they need them, although they have never asked me for it, the sentry box is, because that part of the road is in Aeronaval territory, of course they let pass because, there is no way to go to the Fort or the trails and beaches that are there.

Entrance to Tortuguilla Beach
Entrance to the Tortuguilla Trail and way to Tortuguilla Beach.

Once we passed the sentry box, we followed the indications for San Lorenzo Fort or San Lorenzo Castle, since it is on the same road from the beach, then the Mi Ambiente point is passed (they no longer charge to pass).

From there be attentive on the right side to avoid passing the beach entrance, only if you go in 4 × 4 you can enter, if not, the car must be lest at the entrance of the trail, as we did, without obstructing the passage.

Tortuguilla Beach trail
Tortuguilla trail.

Tortuguilla Trail

The Tortuguilla Trail is very beautiful and you can see different animals, we saw howler monkeys and an anteater, the first I have ever seen, it was very impressive, it was on top of a tree.


Anteater
Anteater.

Right at the end is the beach and to get to it, you have to go through a river, it is not very deep, you can pass on the trunk, or as in my case, walk through the river since I was afraid of falling and damaging my camera.

The water could reach my knee in the deeper part.

Tortuguilla Beach
Tortuguilla Beach.

The river is crystal clear and looks clean (the water), it may be because it is in the jungle and only the animals enjoy it.

Tortuguilla Beach

Tortuguilla beach is beautiful and quite calm, it also has a natural wave breaker and thus prevents strong waves from entering, especially when the sea is rough.

Now, there is very little sand area and it is also a small beach, it seems cool to go and spend some time, from the shore you can see the fish, unfortunately there is a lot of trash in the sand and the river bank, I did not see in the same water of the beach.

It is a sadness because it is a beautiful beach, with a way full of life to find things like that.

Tortuguilla Beach

After getting to know the beach and seeing the beautiful things it has, it was time to go back, so we took out our #adventurebag (trash bag) and began to collect the trash that we were finding on the way back.

Although going It seems that there was nothing in it, because back, focused on cleaning, we filled the bag before reaching the exit (we only picked up on the way, not on the beach).

Garbage on the shore of Tortuguilla each.
Garbage on the shore of the beach.

Already in the car, we saw more howler monkeys, many coatis, a sloth, and birds, you have to driver carefully, so as not to run them over.

Sloth
Sloth.

Note

There is no public transportation. You can go in your own car, rented one, with a private transport waiting for you or with a tour operator.

Advices

  • Drive carefully in the San Lorenzo National Park, it is a place full of wildlife and you can bump into a little animal.
  • Do not leave trash and collect what it generates,
  • Don’t make noise, avoid bringing music,
  • Sunscreen,
  • Sunglasses,
  • Water and snack (there are no shops on the way),
  • Use the Panama-Colón Highway on traffic days.
Howler monkeys.
Howler monkeys.

Hours

  • Mondey to Sunday
  • From 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Price

  • Free entrance
  • $2.30 highway toll, each way.

Note

Although they are not charging yet, it is necessary to register at the entrance of Mi Ambiente.

At the moment, it is only allowed to hike and use the beach.

Booking

You can only go with a booking: write to bosquesanlorenzo@miambiente.gob.pa

Information to give to make the booking

  • Do it with a minimum of 72 hours in advance,
  • You must put in the subject: Reserva área protegida,
  • Date of the visit,
  • Number of people visiting (in case of groups, only up to 8 people are allowed),
  • Name and telephone number of the person who is booking,
  • Names, surnames, ages, nationalities and identity card or passport number of the visitors.

Maximum capacity

  • 300 people per day (among the trail Tortuguilla, Pavón, El Aguacate, Chagres River, Dock of Chagres River and San Lorenzo Castle).

Regulation of the National Parks and Protect Area.

  • Do not enter alcoholic drinks,
  • No pets,
  • Forbidden to feed the fauna,
  • No Smoking,
  • Do not carry or take out, species of fauna and flora or parts and sub-parts of these.
Ferry Photos
Left side, photo inside the Ferry. Right side, photo of the view from the Ferry. While the Atlantic Bridge Construction, the Ferry could be used.

How to get to Tortuguilla Beach?

From Panama City, you can take the Transistmica up to 4 Altos of Colón or, if it is a busy day, you can take the highway, at the end it will get at 4 Altos de Colón, from there follow the signs of the Expanded Canal – Agua Clara Locks – on that road, on the right, it will be the Atlantico Bridge, you must cross it.

Then take the street on the right and continue, after the Aeronaval sentry box, take left and left again.

Continue straight, you will pass Mi Ambiente point, continue until you get the entrance to Tortuguilla Beach.

If you go by sedan you can leave the car at the entrance and hike for about 15 minutes or if you go by 4 × 4 car, you can advance with it until a little before the beach.

My investment (cost not shared)

  • $4.60 toll-highway
  • $10.00 fuel
  • $2.00 snack
  • Total: $21.60

Updated: 2021.

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Adventure Bag
Adventure Bag with Jerry and Picacho. By that time was allow the pets.

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