Panama City: Places to Explore

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Playa Kobbe (Playa Bonita)

With a long beach on a cove of calm water backed by tropical forest, Playa Kobbe is a lovely spot. It is the closest beach to Panama City, less than 20 minutes from downtown. Since Kobbe Beach lies on the other side of the Canal, the water there is considerably cleaner than near Panama City, but it is still tinged with oil from the area's abundant ships, so it is hardly ideal for swimming or snorkeling. Once a popular picnic spot for locals, Playa Kobbe is now dominated by two all-inclusive resorts, the InterContinental Playa Bonita Resort and Spa, and the Westin Playa Bonita, both of which restrict access to the beach, even though all beaches are public property under Panamanian law. The name Playa Bonita (beautiful beach) is a fairly recent PR invention, but it is rapidly replacing Playa Kobbe, named for the U.S. military base that once stood nearby, as the beach's moniker.

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