With a plethora of uninhabited islands, chilled Caribbean vibes on one facet and monster Pacific swells on the opposite, Panama sits poised to ship the easiest of seaside life.
Whether or not you’re seeking to snorkel over rainbow reefs, experience depraved waves or just loll on golden sands, there’s one thing right here for each kind of seaside bum. Right here’s our record of the perfect seashores in Panama.
The San Blas Archipelago
Greatest seashores for snorkeling
Whereas there are numerous contenders for Panama’s most stunning seashores, the sandy stretches within the San Blas Archipelago take the cake. Often known as Guna Yala, the 365 coconut islands are visually luxurious and provide a chance to unwind like no different — the electrical energy provide is irregular and there’s no web entry.
Whereas this pared-back existence is probably not everybody’s concept of paradise, San Blas’ seashores dazzle for his or her powder-soft sand and crystal-clear waters that just about render snorkeling gear ineffective.
The area is ruled by the Guna inhabitants (the primary indigenous group to realize autonomy in Latin America) so that you’ll additionally acquire perception into their tradition and lifestyle. That is the place to take pleasure in a seafood-rich eating regimen, pack a stack of excellent books and sink right into a hammock.
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Cayos Zapatilla, Bocas del Toro
Greatest seashores to take pictures
Cayos Zapatilla is the place postcards come to life. These two uninhabited islands are a part of the Isla Bastimentos Marine Park in Bocas del Toro, an aesthetically pleasing archipelago on Panama’s Caribbean coast.
“Zapatilla” is Spanish for footwear and the cays get their identify from their distinctive form. From aerial pictures, they appear like two footwear strolling within the water. Native legend says they had been footprints made by God as he descended from heaven.
Solely one of many cays is open to guests and its full circumference will be explored on foot in beneath 45 minutes. The Zapatilla Cays are wild, untouched and restaurant-free so that you’ll be tasked with bringing your personal provides. Don’t overlook your digital camera both because it’s almost not possible to take a foul photograph right here.
Starfish Seashore, Bocas del Toro
Greatest seaside to swim
What’s to not love about seeing starfish dotting the seafloor? Starfish Seashore (Playa Estrella) is likely one of the hottest seashores in Bocas del Toro. Located on the primary island of Isla Colon, this splendid seaside has shallow, translucent waters good for swimming and admiring sea stars and seaside bars to make sure you depart together with your coronary heart and abdomen full.
Playa Venao, Azuero Peninsula
Greatest seaside to make pals
An extended, picturesque Pacific seaside, Playa Venao definitely has so much going for it. Formally referred to as Venado however pronounced and spelled as “Venao”, this beautiful stretch of blackish volcanic sand has remodeled from a wild seaside on the southern fringe of the Península de Azuero to a go-to vacation spot.
Although it mainly lures surfers, many come for digital music festivals, whale watching, stand-up paddleboarding, zip-lining, horseback using and mountaineering to the La Cascada waterfall.
Playa Venao is an intimate group with taking place hostels and stylish seaside leases dotted throughout in addition to loads of surf colleges eager to assist newbies with their first wobbly rides together with Excessive Surf Store at El Sitio Hostel.
Playa Blanca, Coclé Province
Greatest seaside resorts in Panama
A decade in the past, Farallón was a fishing village stuffed with the ruins of the Panamanian army base destroyed through the US invasion to oust the then-military chief of Panama – Manuel Noriega.
A lot of the unique village appeal nonetheless exists in family-friendly Farallón if you happen to get lost from the resorts. Visiting the tiny Isla Farallón by boat or jet ski from Farallón Seashore is one other veritable spotlight.
El Palmar, Panamá Oeste Province
Greatest seaside for weekend journeys from Panama Metropolis
The stunning, white-sand seaside of Playa El Palmar lies 14km (8.7 mi) southwest of Playa Coronado, among the best seaside cities in Panama for expats close to the village of San Carlos.
Though a lot much less developed than Coronado, El Palmar is common with weekending households from the capital, however the ambiance stays low-key. Come right here to search out peace beneath the palm bushes (it’s named in honor of the plentiful tropical palms standing tall right here) and for tranquil days spent swimming, flying kites, relishing riotous sunsets and browsing — novices are welcome as a result of average waves all yr spherical.
Gulf of Chiriquí, Chiriquí Province
Greatest seashores for diving and snorkeling
Chiriquí is one other common Panama province for expats and retirees beckoned by the cool local weather and charming cities like Boquete (don’t miss out on the strawberries there).
A few of the finest seashores within the space are undoubtedly discovered inside the Gulf of Chiriquí Nationwide Marine Park, a group of islands which are good for peering into the underwater world. The gulf has one of many largest reefs within the Pacific and you may spot migrating humpback whales between July and October, traverse dense mangrove forests and hop between dreamy uninhabited islands amidst a backdrop of Volcán Barú – Panama’s highest level.
Playa Larga, Isla Contadora
Greatest seaside for a little bit of glamor
Isla Contadora (Counting Home Island), floating within the Gulf of Panama and linked to the capital by ferry, was as soon as the accounting middle for pearls earlier than they had been shipped to Spain. In newer occasions, multimillionaires have made the island their refuge.
Nonetheless, a authorities crackdown on tax evasion embittered the beforehand candy deal, and now you’ll see many mansions on the island standing vacant. One factor that has by no means modified all through the island’s historical past, nevertheless, is the gorgeous seashores.
Playa Larga (Lengthy Seashore) occupies the longest stretch of sand on the island; the one eyesores are a beached ferry and an deserted lodge behind it.
Over the hill to the south and accessible through a well-worn path is Playa de las Suecas (Swedish Ladies’s Seashore), the place you’ll be able to sunbathe within the buff – it is Panama’s solely authorized naturist seaside.
Santa Catalina, Veraguas Province
Greatest seaside for surfers
Amongst Central America’s prime surf spots, Santa Catalina has proper and left breaks corresponding to Oahu’s Sundown Seashore on day. Playa Santa Catalina and Punta Brava are finest for knowledgeable surfers whereas Playa Estero has smaller waves for these nonetheless discovering their ft.
Benefit from the Santa Catalina space whereas it’s nonetheless considerably distant, undeveloped and residential to some severely depraved surf. Life right here is fairly tranquil in a fishing village the place skateboards rip down the primary avenue and youngsters go barefoot however clothes is required to stroll to and from the seaside.
Most non-surfers uncover the realm as the primary springboard for day and in a single day journeys to Isla de Coiba and its nationwide park, the place there’s excellent scuba diving and snorkeling on provide.
Isla Grande, Colon Province
Greatest seaside to expertise Afro-Panamanian tradition
Isla Grande is likely one of the finest seashores in Colon, Panama’s province with the most important Afro-descendant inhabitants. Palm bushes and white-sand seashores type the backdrop to this beautiful little island, simply 15km (9.3 mi) from Portobelo on the nation’s northern coast.
A preferred getaway for people fleeing the city grind of Panama Metropolis (which is round two hours away by automotive), Isla Grande is a perfect setting for snorkeling, scuba diving or just absorbing the Caribbean island’s relaxed vibe.
There are not any roads, only a footpath alongside the island’s southern coast, backed by pastel-colored cottages and remarkably, there’s a statue of a black Jesus Christ within the water which fastidiously watches over beachgoers.