La Miel, where Panama ends and Colombia begins
La Miel lies at the base of Cape Tiburon, or Shark, which is the border between Panama and Colombia.
The sea has a beautiful color in the small bay that gives us access to La Miel.
Right at the beach, there are several small restaurants that serve the tourists that arrive by boat, mostly from the Colombian side.
When walking towards the center of the town, you leave behind the beach and the pier.
After a few minutes, we reach the local school, a square and the first houses.
At La Miel, there are no streets but walkways that snake around small houses made of wood and cement blocks.
Following one of those walkways, we soon reach the small chapel of the town.
After the chapel, the walkway brings us to the seafront, where locals have erected this cross.
Going back on the same walkway, we arrive at the base of the stairs that brings us to the border crossing.
The climb is steep, with 252 steps. A good physical condition is required to negotiate it.
At the top of the hill, at 77 meters over sea level, we find this obelisk that marks the border between Panama and Colombia.
At this point, if we look to one side, we see La Miel, Panama.
And if we look to the other side, we see the Colombian town of Sapzurro.
We even ventured a few meters into Colombia, with the hope of soon doing the same at the Costa Rican border in order to cover the whole of Panama.
Every child in Panama learns at school that our country is located between Burica Point and Cape Shark. However, very few of them get to visit these places. We just made it to Cape Shark, in the Caribbean coast, at the border between Panama and Colombia. Our visit there was part of an expedition to the town of La Miel, which means The Honey.
La Miel, despite being located at the Kuna Yala Indian Territory is not inhabited by the Kuna people but by Afropanamanians of Colombian descent. It is the last Panamanian town before reaching the border. It is not a big place, but it is interesting in many senses. As a tourist attraction, it has a beautiful beach mostly visited by tourists coming by boat from the Colombian side. As a transit place, it houses a headquarter of the Panamanian Border Police and several control points. The town has an elementary school, a handful of small restaurants catering to visitors, a chapel and several dozen houses, distributed among several walkways, as there are no streets and no cars.
Something that tourist like to do is to climb the hill that constitutes the border. The path is steep and you need to be reasonably fit to finish the 242 steps that take you to the 77 meter summit. There, you will find the actual border marker and the control points of each country's police. The view from the top of the hill is very nice, with the Panamanian town of La Miel down one slope and the Colombian town of Sapzurro down the other.
We recommend this trip to our visitors. Two decades ago, due to the Colombian Civil War, the area experimented some insecurity issues. However, nowadays is safe and it reflects in the sustained growth of the local tourism industry.