Are you a sea lover planning to visit Panama on your next vacation?
If so, you have come to the right place because we have compiled a list of the 10 best beaches in Panama. These will allow you to enjoy turquoise waters in Central America, where the waters of the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean converge.
Within the different archipelagos found in Panama, you can count around 3,000 kilometers of beaches with crystal clear waters and, beyond that, there are more than 1,000 islands. Before this brief introduction, it goes without saying that Panamanian beaches are a perfect setting for water sports such as scuba diving, surfing and snorkeling.
One of the great advantages for tourists from all over the world to go to Panama City (or any other city in the country) is that the temperature is usually the same throughout the year. This means that you will find warm waters at any time of the year, without having to wait for a specific season for climatic reasons. Another added value that facilitates the movement of tourists to this Caribbean country is that the U.S. dollar is used as currency.
Most Panamanians are fluent in English, which can make communication easier for you. And because of the geographical location of the country, it is a place that is not plagued by hurricanes.
As there are a great number of beautiful beaches in Panama, which position it as an excellent tourist destination in the Caribbean area, it is an almost impossible mission to show its beaches one by one. That is why we have made a selection of the most beautiful for you to enjoy both the Pacific and Atlantic coasts when you go to Panama.
If you are also dreaming of visiting Colombia, we invite you to read our blog “The best beaches in Colombia”.
The most beautiful beaches in Panama:
1. San Blas Archipelago:
It is composed of 378 beaches of blue waters and white sand. The archipelago has the reputation of being one of the most beautiful in the world, which makes us perceive that it is definitely one of the best destinations to visit in Panama.
To go to the San Blas archipelago, there are two options: take a plane flight or use maritime transportation. In several of its beaches, especially those inhabited by indigenous tribes (led by the Gunas), the concept of sustainable tourism is managed, where “ecological” hotels are found.
Among all the islands of San Blas, the main one is called El Porvenir. There is, among other things, a gastronomic offer where seafood predominates, an airstrip and an atalón (coral island) called Achutupu, which is a very popular place for scuba divers because a ship sank right there and there you can observe an exuberant vegetation of colorful fish. Two other islands that are very popular with tourists who visit the archipelago are Dupir and Arridup.
For those who like manual art, in these islands you can get the famous molas, which are a type of embroidery made by the Guna Indians, in which colors and creative shapes abound.
2. Santa Clara Beach:
It is a long beach on the Pacific, where the water flows very calmly, so if you are looking for a relaxing setting, this is the ideal destination. These characteristics, added to its proximity to Panama City, make Santa Clara beach also a perfect place for those who like to go swimming. The atmosphere is so calm that sometimes, you will only find fishermen in their small boats plying the sea.
3. Estrella Beach:
Playa de las Estrellas is located within Isla Colon. Undoubtedly, it is one of the most spectacular beaches in Panama, where visitors can relax in its calm waters and enjoy the biggest attraction of this island, which is undoubtedly to go and look at the orange starfish, which can be easily seen due to the transparent waters that are in this paradise.
4. Santa Catalina Beach:
This is another Panamanian beach located on the Pacific coast of the country. Its differentiating factor compared to other coastal areas lies in its jungle landscapes that can be enjoyed walking through the forests of lush vegetation. Within its charm is the presence of a fishing village (this has been the main feature of the beach).
People who practice water sports will love Santa Catalina because it is a perfect place for surfing, due to the strength of its waves throughout the year, ideal conditions for this type of sport. In fact, there are international surfing competitions held on the island and there is the possibility of taking lessons if you wish to learn.
Those who wish to go to Coiba National Park can comfortably leave for their expedition from Santa Catalina.
By land, it is approximately five to six hours from Panama City.
5. Venao Beach:
This is another of Panama’s virgin beaches, where you can enjoy a mixture of the coastal environment and the jungle environment. As if that were not enough, it is perfect for the practice of outdoor sports such as surfing and diving. As for the beach itself, the color of the sand is black, due to its volcanic origin.
The atmosphere in Venao is extremely quiet, although there is more and more tourist and commercial activity in the area.
One of the main attractions of this beach is that from there you can delight your eyes with whale watching, which is a truly unparalleled spectacle.
If you are not a sea lover, don’t worry because you will not get bored. It turns out that in Venao you can also go hiking, horseback riding, visit an ecological spa, among others.
6. Las Lajas Beach:
It is another of Panama’s beaches located in the Pacific Ocean. It is characterized by the calmness of its environment, where you can take long walks along the sand due to its very long extension. To be more precise, it consists of 12 kilometers in which you can enjoy a view framed by the beauty of the palm trees.
For those who enjoy the flora and fauna of the places they visit, here they will find a paradise that allows them to appreciate large extensions of mangroves. Once there, you can visit other nearby beaches by car.
7. Pearl Archipelago:
It is located in the Pacific Ocean, in the Gulf of Panama and is made up of ninety islands. It is possible to travel to this place by ferry or by air from Panama City.
The archipelago’s landscape is dominated by white sand beaches, turquoise waters and a jungle environment. All this makes it a place rich in fauna and flora, where you can get to see humpback whales between July and October.
The name of the Las Perlas archipelago is not gratuitous and is due precisely to the fact that large pearls can be easily found in the sea around these islands. So if you like pearls and would like to buy, it is very easy to do it in this place.
Isla del Rey and Contadora are the two main islands. Especially the second one is quite touristic and easily accessible because it has an airport that makes the distance to Panama City very short. Other islands that stand out are: San José, Casaya, Pacheca and Bartolomé.
If diving calls your attention, Las Perlas is perfect for you because there you will be able to delight yourself with thousands of colorful fish. Also, in this place you can contemplate whales, practice rowing, snorkeling, among others.
8. Bocas del Toro:
It is an archipelago that can be easily reached by taking a flight from Panama City. The three most representative islands of this place are: Bastimentos Island, Columbus Island and Carenero Island.
Within the Bocas del Toro archipelago, a highly recommended destination is the Red Frog Beach, located in the Bastimentos Island National Park. At this site, you can enjoy the contrast of the landscape between the spectacular white sand beach and the tropical jungle.
In Isla Colón, during the months of July and October of each year, you can enjoy a unique plan. This is to be able to observe different types of sea turtles, which come to nest in the area.
If you are attracted to water sports such as diving, surfing and snorkeling, do not hesitate to visit the Bastimentos Island National Marine Park. When doing this kind of activities, you will be able to admire different kinds of corals (almost all the ones that exist in the Caribbean Sea are gathered in Bocas del Toro).
9. Coiba Island:
It is located in the Gulf of Chiriqui. Its coral reef is one of the largest in the Pacific Ocean. Like the other islands in the Gulf, it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
There is a lot to do on this beautiful island. So if you enjoy hiking in the middle of the vegetation, dive into the sea to see different species of animals, appreciate the passage of whales when they are in season, delight in bird watching, etc.. Do not hesitate to go to Coiba.
Keep in mind that you need to have permission from the Ministry of Environment to go to Coiba Island!
10. Long Beach:
It is a beach that, as its name suggests, consists of a large expanse of sand that is about 1.5 kilometers long. It is located on the island of Contadora (it is the longest beach of all). When you visit it, you will find a white beach with crystal clear water, very quiet.
One of its differentiating factors is the presence of the famous Hotel Contadora, of which today only ruins remain since it has been abandoned for a long time. But, as it turns out, not only can you see what is left of the hotel, but there is also a ferry there.
Through Playa Larga you can easily access Playa de las Suecas, which is known as the only nudist beach on the island of Contadora.
What are the most beautiful beaches in Panama?
Beautiful beaches are what Panama has in abundance. Choosing a few is a difficult task, but here are some of the most beautiful: Playa Bluff, Playa Larga, Isla Bastimentos, Isla de Colón, Isla Carenero, Playa las Lajas, Playa Venao, Playa Santa Clara, Playa Estrella and Playa Santa Catalina.
Where are Panama’s beaches located?
Panama has a large number of beaches, so you can find them both on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts.
Where to go on vacation in Panama?
In this country there is a lot to do, but among the main attractions are: visit the Panama Canal, the
Visit the Monkey Island, walk along Balboa Avenue, visit the Metropolitan National Park, walk around Casco Viejo, among others.
What is the closest beach to downtown Panama?
The closest beaches to downtown Panama are: Coronado, Taboga, Portobelo and Veracruz. The islands of Contadora and Bolaños are also nearby.
What are the five best beaches in Panama?
There are many beautiful beaches in Panama, but among the top five are: Santa Catalina, Santa Clara, Estrella, Venao and Farallon.
How far is it from Panama to the beach?
The closest beaches to Panama City are Veracruz and Playa Bonita, which are only twenty (20) minutes away by car. Apart from these, there are other options that are a little further away.