Up the Río Sambú
The Río Sambú makes for a memorable boat ride. Its wide, muddy mouth opens into the Ensenada de Garachiné, a cove that in turn opens into the Pacific Ocean. The mouth is about midway between Punta Garachiné to the south and Punta Patiño to the north.
The river is bordered by an intricate tangle of mangroves, behind which rise lush green towering trees. It’s a beautiful sight. Even though there are settlements along the banks and many small fishing boats plying the waters, there’s no doubt you’re in Mother Nature’s living room here.
It’s easy to spot birds sailing overhead or hanging by the water as you motor upriver, particularly such water-loving fowl as herons, egrets, frigate birds, pelicans, and cormorants. You’ll probably see at least a couple of hawks perched high atop the tallest trees.
Toucans and parrots are a bit harder to spot, but they’re around. And the occasional splash and burble in the river will set your mind wondering exactly what is lurking in there.
Getting to Río Sambú
With the exception of those who come by boat from Punta Patiño or elsewhere, most visitors fly to Sambú. From there they can hire a boat to La Chunga if they haven’t arranged for someone to meet them. Air Panama (tel. 316-9000, www.flyairpanama.com) makes one flight on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. The cost is US$69.33 each way. Aeroperlas does not fly here.
Air Panama flies over at around 10:30 a.m. The return flight is around 11:25 a.m. The flight takes about 45 minutes nonstop but can last about 90 minutes with stops.
© William Friar from Moon Panama, 3rd Edition