Panama is fortunate to have wonderful beaches on both the Caribbean and Pacific coasts. Each beach has its own personality: some are calm and quiet, others shake with the waves of the Pacific Ocean, while others have a fun and lively atmosphere with music from seaside restaurants. Whatever you want, you will find the perfect beach in Panama.
As a rule, the beaches on the Pacific coast of Panama are mostly long and wide with big waves perfect for surfing, while the Caribbean side has smaller beaches with calm waters perfect for swimming and relaxing. Many of Panama’s best beaches are located on palm-fringed islands in the Caribbean.
On the beaches to the Caribbean Sea, there is a nice breeze from the water and the weather can be wet and rainy at times.
This side is further away, but the Bocas Del Toro Islands are accessible by plane, making them more accessible than they look. The Pacific side has more sun and warm winds that sweep inland. Access to Pacific beaches from Panama City is easy and some are even day trips. Help plan your trip by exploring the best beaches in Panama.
Punta Chame, Panama
If this beach had a more vibrant city and environment in the background, it could be the best beach in Panama. This means that if you stand on the soft sand and look across the water to the mountains, this is probably the most beautiful beach in Panama. This vast coastline lies on a large, flat piece of land that juts out into the sea. Punta Chame is a good place for families. Small children and those who are not strong swimmers can enjoy the warm shallow water and parents can simply laze on the beach.
Beaches wind around the point, but almost all the action is concentrated in one stretch, a kitesurfer’s paradise. during the windy season from December to April. Punta Chame is the best beach in Panama for kitesurfing. Older kids or adults who want a little more action can take kite lessons and learn the basics of this adrenaline-filled sport. Some reputable schools offer lessons. The shallow water makes it an ideal place to study. If you fall or have problems with your kite, get up and go back to shore.
Only 1.5 hours from Panama City, this local secret is primarily a day trip destination. Although the town offers little or no nightlife, there are a handful of nice little resorts along the coast, and inexpensive hotels, guesthouses and mid-range properties can be found along the beach.
Be patient going here; access to the beach is not easy to spot when you first arrive and the area away from the beach can be a bit confusing.
Punta Duarte, Panama
This wonderful wide beach is one of the few beaches in Panama where you can watch the sunset over the Pacific. The coastal situation is dramatic, during low tide the island in the open sea is anchored. The slope of the beach means that it is one of the rare beaches on the Pacific side of Panama where the waves are small and swimming is easy.
As an added bonus, enormous tide pools form when the tide recedes. You can walk along the rocks and look through the clear water of the rest of the pools to see brightly colored fish and marine life.Punta Duarte Garden Inn is a beautiful hotel overlooking the beach. You can watch the sunset from your balcony, restaurant or pool.
Punta Duarte is located 1.5 hours from the only highway on the so-called sunset coast. Coming from Panama City, there is a turn off the Pan American Highway just before Santiago on the left.
Santa Catalina Beaches, Panama
The once sleepy town of Santa Catalina, located across the Sunset Coast, has become one of Panama’s favorite destinations for independent travelers. There are several beaches here. La Punta is a beach for surfers who love big waves. Looking for a wide plain of flat sand perfect for riding a horse or bike? Be sure to check out La Coquita, a great place to wade into the spa’s warmer waters. Playa Estero is closer to town with smaller waves and a nice place to splash around or learn to surf. It’s a huge beach where you’ll have no problem finding your own piece of sand to hang out on.
Santa Catalina has a fun atmosphere and a wide variety of restaurants and accommodations.
La Punta Isla Grande, Panama
Isla Grande is a popular weekend destination for expats and Panamanians from Panama City. Isla Grande is easily accessible by a two-hour drive and a short 10-minute boat ride. This small island on the Caribbean side of Panama is known for its beach called La Punta, which has calm and shallow waters; picnic tables; fresh water showers; and chairs.
There’s more to do here than just lazing on the beach. Three great surf breaks, great snorkeling, fresh seafood and the famous Portobelo Black Christ statue from 1568 are some of the main attractions. There is a daily fee for parking in Portobelo, boat transport and access to the beach.
Playa Venao, Panama
Located on the Azuero Peninsula, Playa Venao is considered one of the best surfing spots in Panama. Even if you’re not a surfer, you can set up your beach chair or towel on the golden sand and watch the surfers battle the waves. The waves at Playa Venao vary in size, making it a great place to learn the sport.
Accommodation varies from luxury campsites to luxury hotels on the beach and in cheaper places in the small town of Pedasi. Playa Venao is just one of the many beaches along this coast; Bull Beach and Playa Cambutal are also worth visiting.
Coronado Beach, Panama
Coronado Beach is located near Panama City and is home to many city dwellers looking for a weekend getaway and expats looking to base themselves close to the city. Homes, rental apartments, hotels and romantic lodges line the beach. It is popular mostly because of its proximity to the community and the city, rather than the actual beauty of the beach.
Lai Beach is a mix of light and shimmering black sand that glistens in the midday sun. It is possible to swim here, but the waves can be big at times, so caution is advised. A few miles from the beach, on the Pan American Highway, is the lively town of Coronado, where you will find a variety of shops and restaurants.
Playa Larga on Isla Contadora, Panama
Contadora Island, which is part of Pearl Island, has seven beaches, each with its own look, but the most popular is Playa Larga. This stunning white sand beach stretches for half a mile and is known for its calm waters. The island can be reached by a short 15-minute flight or by ferry, which can take up to two hours.
Playa Larga feels strangely removed from the water of a large abandoned jungle resort. Rumor has it that the place once belonged to a Colombian drug lord who died in a plane crash. In addition to this curiosity, the exiled Shah of Iran also stayed on the island for a while, and President Jimmy Carter reportedly visited as well. was photographed in one of them.