Chitre is known as the city that grows. As the capital of Herrera province, it stands as the entry point to Azuero peninsula. Flying to Chitre gives you easy access to beaches like Pedasi, Playa Venao and Cambutal, as to Las Tablas, capital of Los Santos province.
This city is a business center with banks, shopping centers, restaurants, hospitals and even a convention center. Its development has helped increase hotel options as Cubita Boutique Resort, Gran Hotel Azuero and Los Guayacanes hotel.
The name "Chitre" originates from Chitra an indigenous tribe that lived in the area. Since 1558 existed a village making it one of the most ancient in Panama. Chitre was founded in 1848 before Herrera province was created in 1915. Originally was the capital of Herrera and Los Santos but later divided by La Villa river.
The Azuero region is known as the center of Panamanian folklore. Visit the Herrera Museum, located in a colonial house, to see cultural and archeological exhibits. Parque Union is the epicenter of Chitre located next to San Juan Bautista cathedral built between 1896 and 1910.
Chitre is famous for its carnivals. Check the dates as they vary each year. You can appreciate parades with "Queens" from Calle Arriba and Calle Abajo, and enjoy the famous ‘mojaderas’ or wet parties. This celebration is also repeated at a lower scale during New Year's eve. Corpus Christi is also celebrated in Chitre, La Villa de Los Santos and Parita.
The second Saturday in January you can enjoy the "Thousand Polleras" parade in Las Tablas. The International Azuero Fair happens in La Villa de Los Santos and activates trading in the region. Hundreds of exhibitors offer their agricultural, commercial and handcraft products and services.
Visiting Chitre means a mandatory stop in La Arena. This small town is located at 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) from downtown and is known for its craftsmanship in all forms, shapes and colors. You can even try to make your own with the help of the experienced craftsmen. La Arena is also famous for its bread which provides a characteristic aroma to the town. Visitors can buy bread, pastries and cookies.
Sarigua National Park or ‘Sarigua Dessert’ as commonly known, is located in Parita. Around 11,000 years ago was a fishermen village and then an agricultural village between 3,000 BC y 500 AC. These indigenous people lived near the sea in a vast territory called "Albina" that suffered a process called salinization. The salt in the soil has caused the area to look like a dessert covering 80% of the 8,000 hectares (19,768 acres) of Sarigua National Park. There is a small visitors' center that provides information about the place.
Las Macanas wetlands
With 1,200 hectares (2965 acres), Las Macanas wetlands is the largest wetland system located in the central provinces. This zone is located near Divisa and it is protected by the Ministry of Environment of Panama since 1996. Most of its visitors are ornithologists as you can see a wide variety of birds all year. The best time of the year for this is between December and April when migratory birds arrive with over 126 different species. The Las Macanas wetlands you can also find different species of turtles, caimans and fish.
San Isidro ranch
Don José Varela Blanco founded in Pese the first sugar mill in the country known as “Varela Hermanos”. In 1969 they moved to San Isidro ranch located about 40 minutes from Chitre. This ranch has 1,600 hectares (3953 acres) of sugar cane which is harvested between January and May each year. During the tour you can learn the process to produce Ron Abuelo and Seco Herrerano. Then you can taste the liquors and a Panamanian style lunch.
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