I recently had the privilege of being a guest for the weekend at one of the beachfront homes in the community of Buenaventura. This visit was my first to Buenaventura, and after hearing both negative and positive reviews about the community, I was very curious to see and experience it with my own eyes.
There is a persistent whisper in Panama City that Buenaventura is not doing well. The relatively newly built El Faro Club House is not being put to use along with the impressive long and large Miami-esque pool that stretches to the beach. Whether this whisper is regularly true I cannot say, but this experience was certainly not the case during my stay. The pool and clubhouse were packed with families, both Gringo and Panamanian, the entire weekend. The eight lovely “cabanas” that line the pool were in constant use, and finding an empty lounge chair was quite the challenge. The clubhouse was working overtime to accommodate the persistent drink and food requests, and the bar had extended their previous closing time from 5:30 to 6:30 – perfect for ordering a sunset margarita.
People boast the stretch of beach that fronts Buenaventura is the prettiest on the Pacific (excluding the various Pacific islands of course). After having explored a lot of Panama and her Pacific beaches I can verify that this statement is mostly true. The fine, almost white sand stretches under the palm tree lined, clean beach that peacefully stretches for miles. I said the statement is “mostly true” because there is a bit of human cheating that creates this beautiful beach. The community staff regularly patrols the beach picking up trash and unwanted palm frawns that have made their way to the sand. Every morning the beach is combed and prepared for the guests and residents of Buenaventura. If every beach in Panama had this kind of attention, there would probably be other nominations for the prettiest beach on the Pacific.
The Buenaventura beachfront homes seem to be an example of poor community planning. Most of Saturday on my weekend getaway was spent lounging in the home’s private pool (I know, tough life). When we awoke on Sunday morning, a wet yard and a very foamy, dirty pool greeted us. Due to a large swell that weekend, the tide had reached the house during the night dumping ocean water into the pool. The community attendants told us that we were not to use the house pool because they now needed to drain and clean it. Furthermore all the furniture downstairs was to be moved to the 2nd floor because there was word that the swell was going to increase and the tide was going to come into the house. I understand that flooding is a possible risk whenever living near water, however, this scenario turned out to be one that the community residents were very familiar with and apparently “happens all the time.” Whether this statement is an exaggeration or not, it does pose the question of whether the beachfront homes were poorly designed.
Despite flooding and furniture moving, my experience as a guest at Buenaventura was wonderful. If given the opportunity I would not hesitate for a second to go back. The beach is beautiful, the pool and clubhouse are very accommodating and the service is outstanding. This February I will be attending a wedding and staying a night at the Bristol at Buenavenutra. This expensive hotel has also created a certain reputation and I will be very curious to compare the hotel and the community homes to see where is better to stay in Buenaventura.
|Written by Hilary Campbell|
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