El Puerto, about 2 miles east of Guarare has some beaches that are very seldom visited. It is rocky around there, so it is not an amicable area to surf or swim, but it is fine to hang out at the beach, wade, and enjoy the sea breeze and salty air.
There are a couple of restaurants there, the more upscale Sirena del Mar (Mermaid) and the more tipico Cachirre. If you want to enjoy the gulf for 24 uninterrupted hours or more, you can rent a room at the B & B, Casa del Puerto and sit on the covered porch and watch the waves and sip your beverage of choice. This place is usually only visited by the locals. It's ironic that the road to El Puerto is in much better condition than the road to Playa Uverita near Las Tablas, and Playa Uverita is much more built up and promoted as a day trip destination than El Puerto.
Restaurante Cachirre is a simple, local restaurant in El Puerto de Guarare.
It is an open-sided restaurant. The menu is on the wall to the right of the service window.
They have fish (corvina) served fried or grilled. They have shrimp one can order cooked in one of four different sauces (garlic, creole, panamena (pepper and onion), or soy) They sometimes have chicken, pork and beef available, grilled or stewed (guisado).
They have some sodas and local beer available.
This is not fancy, but the food is good and it is very cheap ($2-5 per dish).
It is located directly across from Casa Del Puerto Bed and Breakfast. It's only about a five minute drive from Guarare. If one is staying at Hotel La Mejorana and wants a less expensive alternative to the food in their restaurant, then this is it. It is pleasant here and only a short walk to the beach. If you want to bring your own beverages, they won't complain. You can hang out here and play cards or dominoes if you want, too.
They called Bonnie when our dinner was ready! (We were waiting at Casa Del Puerto B&B). That is not something they do very readily here, so we were impressed they would do that!
Favorite Dish: I had their shrimp in salsa panamena, which is a bell pepper and onion sauce. The shrimp were fresh, firm and tasty, the sauce was a nice compliment to the shrimp and not overpowering. I wish they had Cerveza Panama, it would have went well with this dish, but I had to settle for a coke, instead. The shrimp came with some cole slaw that was nice and fresh and tasty.
My companion had fried corvina, whole, it was nice and meaty and came with fries and slaw. You can order the fish fileted, but it costs about 50 cents more. Our dishes were $5 for the shrimp and $3 for the corvina. Our friend, Bonnie, the owner of Casa Del Puerto had chicken fried rice for $3.50 that she said was very tasty, too, and enough for 2 people (she gave about half to her dog). So our dinner tab for 3 was $11.50. We brought our own wine over.
As I said above, nothing fancy, but it's a decent meal at a very resonable price and it is in a relaxing atmosphere.
La Mejorana is on the west side of Highway 2, if one is traveling south from Chitre it is on the right just before one gets to "downtown" Guarare. It is set back off the road, but there is a large sign out front on the highway.
The restaurant is in a modern building with local decor and feel. They have an air conditioned dining room if you don't want to eat in the dining room that they have atrium doors that are usually open and during the day it is pretty warm in there, even tho they have ceiling fans.
They have many seafood dishes and meat dishes that are mostly local in theme. Most are very well done, albeit a bit more expensive than most other restaurants in the area. But it is worth it, as their meals are delicious and filling!
This is the "fanciest" restaurant in Guarare and also between Chitre and Las Tablas, it is the top of the line for the area. It is not disappointing, I come here quite often as it is only about a ten minute drive from Las Tablas here.
There is also a hotel here, that is very nice, but we recommend Casa Del Puerto, just 5 minutes away, it is a B & B on the Gulf with a gorgeous view and is only $35 a night! La Mejorana has no views and costs about the same!
Favorite Dish: I've had several dishes at La Mejorana that we like and usually order as they are consitent in quality and very well presented.
First off: the lobster, they have a very good and cheap lobster dish, it is about $12.50 and one gets three halves of a decent-sized lobster and fries or patacones and salad.
Second: Arroz de Mariscos, rice with seafood, very good, can feed two people! It is also about $12.
Third: Filet Mignon, I like Mason Rex' in Chitre a little better, but this is still good and a bargain at $11.
Their burgers are good, too and about $3 with fries and salad.
They serve local beer, soda, batidos, and juice.
La Mejorana is a type of 5-sting guitar made locally. Near the end of September every year Guarare hosts a fiesta to celebrate this rustic musical instrument with all the usual trappings; pollera contests, dancing, music, drinking and singing!
La Mejorana is part of the local cycle of folkloric events, also around this time are; La Fiesta de Pollera (July 22nd in Las Tablas) and La Fiesta de la Camasilla (in November, also in Las Tablas).
Panama is rich in it's heritage of local customs, craft and dress.
I have more info on my Panama pages about these events and items.