Black Beaches in Panama?

By Wanda de Winter wanda@ipreinfo.com

Now that I have moved to my new beach house here in Panama I feel that I should write something about the beaches and the beach life; after all, that’s one of the reasons why you should come to Panama!

Panama is lucky enough to have coastlines on both the Caribbean and the Pacific Ocean.
There are plenty of bounty islands and white beaches in Panama, but you will notice that lots of beaches here have black sand too.
You can find this unattractive or not tropical, but actually the reason for this back color is because they are volcanic beaches.
Due to volcanic ashes in the time of eruption thousands of years ago the sand turned black, as are many of the rocks you will find in the ocean as well.

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Black sand often contains additional valuables. Other than precious metals it also contains rare earthy elements like; thorium, titanium, tungsten, zirconium and others that are often fractionated during igneous processes into a mineral mix that becomes black sand after weathering and erosion.
The black sand on the Panamanian beaches are like a heavy, glossy, glittery and partly magnetic mixture of usually fine sands.

While some beaches are predominantly made of black sand, even other colored beaches ( gold and white) can have deposits of black sand, particularly after storms.
Larger waves can sort out sand grains leaving deposits of heavy minerals visible on the surface of erosion scarps.
The only negative thing about black sand is that it’s hotter than white sand and you could burn your feet, but other than that it looks beautiful, especially mixed with white sand and it sparkles under the sun.

I go to bed and wake up everyday with the sound of the waves pounding the rocks in the background, I love it!
In the bay, in a one minute walking distance from my house, the waves are the highest and surfers use these waves diligently.
The tide is always changing, and I don’t mean only from high to low. The high tide can be very high, up to 18 meters and covers all the sand!  The difference between high and low tide can be up to 50 meters.
Both tides however share great possibilities to enjoy the water like to go for a swim or go out surfing, but especially in this season beware of jellyfish.
The chance to get stung by a jellyfish is very high. It’s usually not dangerous and the burning won’t last long depending on how many you encounter yourself with. If you feel a sting you are just better off to wear protection (full body wet-suit) or just get out of the water.
The perfect remedy for this burning sting IF you are unprepared, is urine! Have somebody else pee on the spot where you got stung, or do it yourself and you’ll see, it helps!

Or avoid the whole urine nastiness and just make sure you bring a bottle of white vinegar to the beach with you.

It does not matter if there is black sand, jellyfish or a high tide, you will always find people on the beach. Whether it’s surfing, jogging, walking their dog, swimming, sun bathing or camping, everybody loves the beach. And the sunrises and sunsets are always beautiful and a definite plus!

In this article I mention the Pacific Ocean and beaches, but the difference in tides between the Pacific and the Caribbean Ocean is very big. The Caribbean tide changes only by a couple of inches. In a world that is surrounded by masses of water where eventually all the oceans connect, how come the tides are so different. I would like to see if anybody knows the answer … Why?

More about Panama here!

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