A Guide To The Best Beaches In Panama

By Dhruvalakshmi Paithankar on Feb 27, 2020
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Panama, a small country that links South and North America, is big on tourism. Apart from its famous casinos and nightclubs scenes, there are hundreds of Panama beaches that entice travelers from around the globe. With the Pacific Ocean to the south and the Caribbean Sea to the north, It is home to several offshore islands where leisure-seekers can soak in the tranquility. You may already have heard about its popular Red Frog Beach, but places like San Blas Archipelago and Santa Catalina hold several beaches in Panama that are still hidden away from many. So, read on and know which of these beaches are a must for your next Panama vacation!

1. Red Frog Beach, Bocas del Toro 

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Hop in a boat from Bocas town and as you reach Red Frog Beach 10 minutes later, you will find yourself on a little slice of paradise. No doubt it is one of the most popular beaches in Panama. 

Dense greenery backing the golden sand and turquoise blue water with rich marine life bless Red Frog Beach with postcard-perfect natural scenery. Smaller waves make it a great place to take a dip in the ocean safely. Keep in mind that it is a nature reserve and you will have to pay around USD 3 per head as an entry fee. If you want to stay, then you will also find some of the best beach resorts in Panama around here. 

2. Coronado Beach 

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The charm of Coronado Beach lies in its unique combination of white and black sand. Proud to be Panama’s first resort community, this beach area attracts locals and travelers alike for a fun weekend getaway. 

Be it the cozy bread n breakfasts or luxury resorts, Coronado Beach is perfect for budget travelers as well as those who want to splurge. One of the best beaches in Panama, you will find plenty of activities to enjoy here. But keep in mind that the current is usually strong and it is necessary to be cautious while swimming. 

3. Isla Coiba, Veraguas Province 

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The pristine Isla Coiba is the largest island in Central America and that means nature lovers have over 190 square meters of the area to explore. 

Declared as the UNESCO World Heritage Site and known to be the Galápagos of Central America, Isla Coiba is home to rich marine as well as wildlife. A land that once housed a penal colony has today turned into a heaven for beach enthusiasts. Ranked frequently amongst the most beautiful beaches in Panama, Isla Coiba is a must-visit when you are vacationing in the country. 

4. Cayos Zapatillas, Bocas del Toro 

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Cayos Zapatillas are two exotic mangrove islands that are inhabited for a long time and have become home to exquisite natural beauty. 

Crystal clear water, barrier reef that is only 200 yards from the shore, and vibrant corals come together to offer one of the best snorkeling in Panama. Locals believe that when the feet of God touched the earth from the heavens for the first time, these islands were created. One glimpse at Cayos Zapatillas and you will realize this legendary story might just be true. 

5. Gavilla Beach, Boca Chica, Chiriquí 

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Far removed from urbanization and hidden away in a peaceful corner of the country, Gavilla Beach is one of the secluded beaches in Panama. 

This beautiful location managed to stay away from the tourist radar for a long time before finally getting discovered by some, just a few years ago. It still is not visited by many as reaching the beach by long dirt road is such a hassle. But, get there and you will find yourself on one of the best kid-friendly beaches in Panama. The shallow shore and calm water make it an ideal destination to get into the ocean for fun. 

6. Playa Venao, Azuero Peninsula 

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Head off to the Pacific coast of Panama to the Azuero Peninsula and you will find several secret Panama beaches. If not secret, Azuero has at least managed to stay away from touristy crowds. 

Playa Venao is one such place that is usually frequented by locals only. Marked by the grey sandy beach and moderate waves, it definitely offers exciting surfing in Panama. The swell is often not too big, making it perfect for amateur and seasoned surfers. In fact, Playa Venao has even hosted the ISA World Surfing Championships twice in the last decade. 

7. Playa Estrella, Bocas del Toro 

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The name Playa Estrella loosely translates to ‘starfish beach’ in English. Want to know why? Take a walk on its sandy shore and when you come across numerous starfish that welcome you on the beach, you will understand why. 

The sparkling clear water to snorkel and golden sand to laze around make for an interesting combination. From kayaks and floating lounge chairs to a volleyball court and local restaurants, this beach has everything for you. So, be it for activities or relaxing, Playa Estrella is for everyone. And of course, it is one of the best party beaches in Panama! 

8. Isla Contadora, Pearl Islands 

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Contadora Island is a part of the Pearl Islands archipelago and even though it is only 1.39 square kilometers, it is one of the only islands that can be reached directly from Panama City by air. 

Its easy accessibility makes it one of the famous beach destinations in Panama. Its remote location has preserved serene beaches well and takes you to a pristine shore. You will find Galeon Beach and Camaron Beach on this island and both the beaches are perfect for soaking in Panama’s leisurely vibes. 

9. Santa Catalina, Province of Veraguas 

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If you are looking for lesser-known beaches in Panama that are far away from any hustle and bustle, then Santa Catalina is the place to be. 

This unexplored fishing town is actually a great destination if you are interested in going off the beaten path. The waves here are great for surfers and the beaches are perfect if you simply want to laze around and catch some tan. Do not miss a chance to take your taste buds on a ride with local seafood. 

10. The San Blas Archipelago 

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Do you know the best part of planning a trip to the San Blas Archipelago? It has more than 360 islands up its sleeve and that means hundreds of beaches waiting to be explored!

The palm-fringed shores, islands ringed with unspoiled beaches and shaped by lazy waves make it a real-life paradise. So, even if it is a little tricky to get to this archipelago, San Blas is worth all the efforts. Opt for sailing tours here to make the best of your time and it will give you a chance to get a glimpse of untouched beauty these Panama beaches hold. 

If you are looking for more options to choose from, then there are several other beaches in Panama that you can visit. Isla Grande, Playa Los Destiladeros, La Barqueta, and Playa Las Lajas can also be included in your Panama itinerary. 

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