Map and Directions To Rancho Estero
Getting to Santa Catalina, Panama Santa Catalina is about 1.5 hours drive South x Southwest from Santiago. Whether you are coming from Panama City or David, you will travel through Santiago. If you are driving from Panama City to Santa Catalina, plan on a 5 to 6 hour trip, but you should allot 7 to 8 hours in case of construction, rain, or diversions. Be sure you arrive while it is still daylight because the roads are used as sidewalks by the locals and livestock is frequently loose and roaming the roads. This is particularly true of the secondary roads after Santiago all the way to Santa Catalina.
From Panama City to Santiago Road to Catalina - The 3.5 to 4 hour trip from Panama City to Santiago is a pretty easy drive down Highway 1, known as the Pan American Highway. The speed limit is 100 km/hr along the rural parts of the highway, but it drops frequently to 60 km/hr or less. This highway is heavily patrolled and the local police will stop you for speeding. The hardest part of the trip is finding the turn for Soná. It involves several turns through Santiago. The first turn is to the left about half way through town on Avenidad Central. It angles at about a 45 degree angle and is not well marked. Avenidad Central will take you through the main shopping area and run directly into the big white Cathedral. At the Cathedral, turn right and immediately back to the left, following the side street of the Cathedral. In one block (at the back of the Cathedral) turn right. Continue for 2 more blocks and turn left where a small sign points to Soná.
Santiago to Soná: The road to Soná is a two lane highway and is bumpier than the Pan American Highway, but in decent condition. Usually, it takes 30 - 45 minutes. Be sure to watch out for pedestrians, bicycles, livestock, roosters, and wildlife! Turn to Santa Catalina shortly before entering Soná there is an intersection with a Shell gas station on the corner and a large number of signs. The gas station is where you turn LEFT! This puts you on the road to Santa Catalina. If you need money, bottled water, gas, food or supplies. You should stop here or drive the short drive into Soná because you will have what you bring to Santa Catalina.
Soná to Santa Catalina: This part of the trip offers views of a number of local villages where the residents live in tropical thatched huts, ride horses and work on large "fincas" or farms in this locale. The road is in good condition but along the way, it could be lined with chickens, roosters, farmers, cattle, donkeys, or pigs. It is a very scenic drive, hope you like it! The recently paved road to Santa Catalina makes 4-wheel drive no longer a necessity. About half way to Santa Catalina, you will make a left turn at a well marked intersection. Straight ahead would take you to Los Tigres. The Soná to Santa Catalina part of the drive will take at least one hour. Once you are in DOWNTOWN Santa Catalina there will be a green building with a mini supermarket on the first floor. Turn left here and follow the road for roughly 3 minutes and you will see the signs for Rancho Estero. Park along the fence OUTSIDE the facility and enter through the front gate.