Playa El Agallito
Playa El Agallito is not a bathing beach, though Chitré has made a half-hearted attempt to dress it up as one. Rather, it consists of mudflats that lead into mangroves.
This becomes obvious at low tide, when the muck stretches nearly two kilometers out into the distance. The tide varies by six meters from high to low. You can literally see it coming in and going out.
The beach, such as it is, is artificial. It dates from 1967, when the residents of Chitré decided they wanted a town beach and cut down mangroves to create one.
The main reason to come out here is to watch the impressive bird life. Playa El Agallito attracts 35 species of shorebirds, including sandpipers, black-bellied plovers, willets, whimbrels, American oystercatchers, yellowlegs, ospreys, and warblers. Most of all, it attracts Calidris mauri, the western sandpiper.
According to Franciso Delgado, a dedicated local ornithologist, about 10,000 of these shorebirds come to the beach each year. They start showing up in late October and leave in early March.
Getting to Playa El Agallito
To get to Playa El Agallito from downtown Chitré, head north on Avenida Herrera for six kilometers past the cathedral. The road ends in the beach. A taxi ride should cost around US$2–3.
© William Friar from Moon Panama, 3rd Edition