To the southeast of the lodge, about 10 minutes by boat, is the small fishing village of Puerto Piñas (pop. 819). It’s a dilapidated place, but the people are friendly and laid-back and it’s right on a gray sandy beach. A little more than half its residents are estimated to be Emberá and the rest Afro-Colonial.
Dwellings consist of modest cinderblock houses next to traditional cane or plank thatch-roofed huts. There is also a good airstrip, a police bunker, an ultrabasic place to stay, a couple of equally basic places to eat and drink, an Aeroperlas “office,” a primary school, a tiny general store, several churches, a volleyball court, a sand soccer field, and not a whole lot else.
An odd little factoid: The town and its environs have a dog population of about 400, one for every two residents.
Past the soccer field, on the far end of the village, is an enormous open-sided thatched-roof hut used for village meetings and Emberá dances presented to tourists. About half of the adult residents of the village work at Tropic Star during the fishing season. Otherwise, they sustain themselves through fishing and subsistence agriculture, especially bananas, plantains, and rice.
The area surrounding Puerto Piñas has been turned into farmland. It and the neighboring village of Jaqué  are both at the edge of swampy plains backed by hills; the flatlands have largely been deforested, but the hills are mostly intact.