Last Updated on December 15, 2022 by Helen E. White
Central America has the most crystalline and beautiful beaches that you will get anywhere in the world. However, the best combination of spas, hotels, tropical forests, mangroves and impressive cities will only be offered by Panama.
Although it is internationally known for the Panama Canal, this Central American country has one of the largest biodiversities in the region and many of the animal species you can see on the beaches of Panama with names such as Venao, Estrella, and Red Frog.
In addition, you can enjoy beautiful views on the beaches of Panama or go up to one of the lighthouses located on the islands or resorts to take photos. So prepare your things and embark on the adventure of discovering all the virtues that the tourist beaches of Panama have.
- 1 The 24 Best Beaches in Panama
- 1.1 1. Beach (Panama)
- 1.2 2. Venao Beach (Los Santos)
- 1.3 3. Arenal Beach (Los Santos)
- 1.4 4. White Beach (Cocle)
- 1.5 5. San Blas (Panama)
- 1.6 6. Big Island (Panama)
- 1.7 7. Iguana Island
- 1.8 8. Coiba Island
- 1.9 9. Santa Catalina Beach (Veraguas)
- 1.10 10. Zapatilla Keys (Bocas del Toro)
- 1.11 11. Punta Chame Beach (Panama)
- 1.12 12. Las Lajas Beach (Chiriqui)
- 1.13 13. Gorgona Beach (Panama)
- 1.14 14. Farallon Beach (Cocle)
- 1.15 15. Las Estrellas Beach (Bocas del Toro)
- 1.16 16. La Angosta Beach (Colón)
- 1.17 17. Punta Barco Beach (Panama)
- 1.18 18. Morrillo Beach (Veraguas)
- 1.19 19. Coral Cay (Bocas del Toro)
- 1.20 20. Rio Mar Beach (Panama)
- 1.21 21. Tortuguilla Beach (Colón)
- 1.22 22. Coronado Beach (Panama)
- 1.23 23. Red Frog Beach (Bocas del Toro)
- 1.24 24. Wizard Beach (Bocas del Toro)
- 2 Panama: More Than You Expect
The 24 Best Beaches in Panama
So without further ado, let’s start with the list of the best beaches in Panama:
1. Beach (Panama)
The closest beach to Panama City is Playa Veracruz, which is only 20 minutes by car from the capital and you can even go there by public transport.
It is recommended that you go during the week because on Saturdays and Sundays you could find a lot of people and garbage. Despite this, in Veracruz, you can ride a horse and do water activities such as paddle, canoe, and kayak, among others.
One of the most charming aspects of Veracruz, one of the most beautiful beaches in Panama, is that when the tide goes out you can go two or even three kilometers into the water on a sandy path that will make you think that you are walking on the sea of one of the best-known beaches of Panama City.
2. Venao Beach (Los Santos)
Attention surfers! If you are looking for a place to practice the sport that you are so passionate about, you should go to Playa Venao in Pedasí, which has waves that both experts and beginners can enjoy.
Although Playa Venao is five hours from Panama City, it is not difficult to get there because you can choose to go by car to the beach, board a bus at the Panama City terminal to Chitré, from which you will take another bus, or pay a taxi to take you to one of the beautiful beaches in Panama.
In this tourist destination, there are several bars and restaurants where you can eat. You can also camp overnight on the beach.
See More: Best Beaches in the Caribbean
3. Arenal Beach (Los Santos)
If you want a place full of peace among the beautiful beaches in Panama, you have to go to El Arenal. Its calm waters and the fine white sands for which it was named will give you an incomparable feeling of rest. The beach is not very deep and looks like a lake. In addition, you can enjoy various water sports.
Although Playa El Arenal is a five-hour drive from Panama City, it is only a five-minute taxi ride from the town of Pedasí, where you can stay and buy everything you need.
El Arenal is one of the beaches of Panama in the Pacific from which you will have the possibility of boarding a boat to go to Isla La Iguana.
4. White Beach (Cocle)
Playa Blanca is located 10 minutes by car from the town of Río Hato, in Panama, and its wide and long white coast has small and large hotels that make it one of the beaches to visit in Panama.
From Playa Blanca you will have the chance to go to the town of Farallón, where you can explore a rocky reef and the mouth of the river for which this town was named. You can also travel to Farallón Island.
For those who are adventurous, Playa Blanca offers all kinds of water activities, such as snorkeling and kayaking. The resort is very close to the Scarlett Martínez International Airport, which is only eight minutes by taxi from the best hotels in Playa Blanca.
5. San Blas (Panama)
In Playa San Blas, Panama, you will enjoy not just one, but many of the beautiful beaches in Panama, because San Blas comprises an archipelago of 365 islands in the Guna Yala or Kuna Yala region and is inhabited by the indigenous ethnic group Guna.
To get to San Blas, you can hire a vehicle or board a bus at the Albrook Terminal, in Panama City, which will take you to Puerto de Cartí, two hours from the Panamanian capital, and from there take a boat to one of the islands. from San Blas. If you choose the air route, you must board a flight at Albrook Airport that will take you to the island of El Porvenir, capital of the region.
In the different islands of San Blas the lodging is huts and cabins managed by the Guna, although there is a resort of one of the indigenous families.
6. Big Island (Panama)
White sands, crystal clear seas and different types of inns are the characteristics of the most beautiful beaches in Panama, such as those of Isla Grande, which is located almost two hours from the city of Colón.
Do you want to do tourism in one of the best beaches in Panama, and also relax? Well, you can tour the surroundings of Isla Grande by boat, walk to the lighthouse, and discover the marine fauna by diving or snorkeling on the beaches of the north and south of the island.
Arriving here is not complicated because you have the possibility of traveling by car from the city, passing through the well-known Portobelo National Park, to the port of La Guaira, from which several boats depart daily. On the way by boat, you will be able to see the Black Christ of Portobelo in the middle of the ocean, an image for which Isla Grande dresses up once a year.
7. Iguana Island
Located very close to the town of Pedasí, five hours from Panama City, is Isla Iguana, which is listed as an ecological paradise and one of the 5 best beaches in Panama.
Do you want to get away from civilization and enjoy nature? Well, this island is perfect for it because it is a National Park, so you must take food, drinks and everything else with you from the beaches of El Arenal where the boats set sail for the island, a trip that takes about 20 minutes.
In Iguana you can do various activities, such as diving or hire a guide to take you on a tour of the beautiful beaches of Panama that are on this island and if you do it in a boat you will be able to observe groups of dolphins and even whales at some times of the year.
8. Coiba Island
Do you want to do ecological tourism? Then you should not miss the opportunity to go to Coiba Island, in Veraguas, listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and which was only a penal colony until 2005.
It is more than five hours by car and one by boat from Panama City and to go it is necessary to first arrive at the beaches of Santa Catalina, from where the boats that go to the island set sail. Here you can walk through the old penitentiary facilities and take ecological tours to learn about the fauna and flora of the place. You can also dive or snorkel.
If you want to go to the island, you must bring food, drinks and other things, because being a National Park there is nowhere to buy or many vendors, which makes it one of the quiet beaches in Panama.
9. Santa Catalina Beach (Veraguas)
Playa Santa Catalina, in Veraguas, will be your favorite place, not only because of its black sands, but also because of the infinity of places to eat and drink that you will find near the shore and just under a quarter of an hour’s walk from the town of Santa Catalina , on a road lined with inns and hotels, where taxis and buses abound.
If you are addicted to surfing, you will want to face the waves of this beach that can reach two meters, although you will also discover more relaxing things like approaching the mouth of the Santa Catalina River.
This resort is the best starting point to reach the islands of Cébaco and Coiba, so you will always see a boat in Santa Catalina, one of the beautiful beaches in Panama.
10. Zapatilla Keys (Bocas del Toro)
Do you want to totally rest from civilization and feel like a castaway lost on one of the paradisiacal beaches in Panama?
You must go to Cayos Zapatilla, two separate islands that look like the footprint of a giant and are located in the province of Bocas del Toro. Surrounded by coral reefs and a rich marine fauna, these are only inhabited by rangers who seek to preserve the beaches of Panama in the Atlantic, take care of visitors and offer them information.
In these two places you can snorkel, and other water sports such as kayaking. But if you just want to rest you can skirt the keys on foot or lie on the beach. To go to Zapatillas it is necessary to travel at least 40 minutes by boat from the island of Bocas del Toro.
11. Punta Chame Beach (Panama)
The narrow peninsula of Chame, two hours by car from Panama City, will allow you to have an incomparable feeling of rest, because very few people know and go to this town that is one of the best among the beaches of Panama in the Caribbean. .
Its climate and calm waters are perfect for practicing various water sports such as windsurfing or kiteboarding or strolling through the mangroves. The town of Punta Chame is a short walk away and has several lodging options.
From the hotels where you can stay, you will be able to see the Chame and Campana hills, Otoque Island and, a little further, Taborcillo Island, which you can reach by boarding a boat from Chame Beach. In addition, all these hotels address different prices that fit your pocket; which will make you feel in one of the cheap beaches in Panama.
12. Las Lajas Beach (Chiriqui)
With 15 kilometers of extension, Playa Las Lajas in the province of Chiriquí, is one of the famous beaches in Panama to enjoy the ocean and rest. The sand and the sun are not the only things you can discover in this location because around the beach there are many mangroves to explore on foot or on horseback, if you prefer.
One of the advantages that Las Lajas has is that not many people know about it, so if you want privacy, then you will have it here. To get to Playa Las Lajas you must take a taxi from the city of David and you will arrive in just under an hour and a half. You will find accommodation and comfortable inns and a wide variety of places on the edge of the beach.
13. Gorgona Beach (Panama)
Located in the province of Chame, Gorgona, it is one of the most popular paradisiacal beaches in Panama for vacationing and relaxing, because its waters are perfect for swimming, resting and doing various water sports, as long as the weather allows it.
On some occasions this beach is much more for surfers because of the waves that are generated. In its surroundings, you will find cabins and hotels, as well as places where you will enjoy fresh fish and seafood.
To go to this beach you have the possibility of doing it by car from Panama City in a trip of just over an hour or by bus from the terminal located in the Panamanian capital that will leave you very close to the town, from which you will only have to walk to your destination.
14. Farallon Beach (Cocle)
If you want to go to exotic beaches in Panama, then you have to go to Playa Farallón, in Río Hato, here you will find white sands, lodging and luxury venues, where you will undoubtedly rest on one of the best beaches in Panama.
Located almost two hours by car from Panama City, it can also be reached by bus from the terminal in the country’s capital. Here you can rent ATVs and go horseback riding, kayaking, and paragliding. Although if you prefer to do tourism you will have the opportunity to visit the towns around Farallón, which are fishing or go to the mouth of the river that bears the name of the town.
15. Las Estrellas Beach (Bocas del Toro)
The Bocas del Toro archipelago has many of Panama’s well-known beautiful beaches, and one of the most beautiful and least known is Playa Las Estrellas on Isla Colón. This coast is named after the large number of giant starfish that live in its turquoise waters.
Several hotels are on the way to this bay and if you want to eat you will find several places on the shore. To get to this beach in Panama in the Caribbean from the town of Colón, you must board a minibus that will leave you in the town of Boca de Drago, a journey that can take half an hour, and from where you will walk about 10 minutes to enter Playa Las stars.
16. La Angosta Beach (Colón)
If you are vacationing in the city of Colón, you should not miss out on visiting Playa La Angosta, a half-white and half-black sand beach that is long and wide enough not to be disturbed. This is one of the famous beaches in Panama because it has warm, turquoise waters, and there you will find several food stalls where you can enjoy the fruits of the ocean.
If you want to go to this beach you can take a taxi that will take you there in less than an hour and if you go on a weekend it is better to arrive early because many people travel from the city to spend a different day in La Angosta.
17. Punta Barco Beach (Panama)
Hotels, rental houses, black sands and restaurants abound in the luxurious surroundings of Playa Punta Barco, in Chame, one of the recommended beaches in Panama. Here you can practice water skiing and other sports because this beach has everything for a dream vacation in Panama.
You must be careful with the weather because at some times of the year the spa is not entirely suitable for swimming, due to the strong current and waves. However, these elements make this Panama beach a favorite destination for surf lovers.
Punta Barco is just over an hour and a half from Panama City and is one of the destinations rarely visited by tourists. If you are a golf lover, in Punta Barco you can practice it because at least three golf courses are located, belonging to the beach clubs in Panama.
18. Morrillo Beach (Veraguas)
Few beautiful beaches in Panama are semi-deserted and Playa Morrillo, in Veraguas, is one of them. This coast is perfect for surfers because the waves are big enough for beginners and professionals to enjoy their favorite sport.
If you are adventurous, then you have to go to Morrillo, because even though a road is nearby and several hotels and inns are on the way, Playa Morrillo is a bit hidden and not many know of its existence.
Something curious that you should know is that several international surfing competitions have been held here, so if you want to visit it you must go by car on a trip that from Panama City can last about four hours.
19. Coral Cay (Bocas del Toro)
If you plan to travel to Panama, you have to go to Cayo Coral, which is located between the Bastimento and Popa islands. Among the activities that you can do here are excursions to the coral reefs, for which the key was named. You can also snorkel and see the enormous diversity of fauna that lives in this area.
You should not worry about lodging, because there are several hotels and all possible prices whose rooms have an ocean view. If you just want to visit, you can do it on some excursions that depart from Isla Bastimentos or Bocas del Toro Island and that will take you on a tour of the wonders of Cayo Coral, one of the unmissable beaches of Panama.
20. Rio Mar Beach (Panama)
Do you want to know which are the 10 best beaches in Panama? Well, among them is Río Mar beach, which is located just six minutes by car from the city of San Carlos. In this bay, you will find waves of even two meters, which places it as one of the beaches for surfing in Panama.
Here you can also do windsurfing or kitesurfing. It is recommended that you bring your food and drink because there are no stores or stalls on the beach where you can buy them. In Playa Río Mar you can go to the Calabozo River that flows right into the beach.
To get there you only have to take a taxi from San Carlos or Panama City, but if you want to go by public transport you must board a bus at the terminal in the Panamanian capital that leaves you at the entrance of Río Mar and from there walk about 15 minutes towards the spa.
21. Tortuguilla Beach (Colón)
Do you plan to visit beautiful beaches in Panama? So, Playa Tortuguilla, in Colón, is the answer, because it is surrounded by mangroves and jungle. Its shape resembles a natural pool, where you can see a great diversity of marine fauna if you dare to snorkel on the shore and go through the mouth of a small nearby river.
You can go to this beach by car from the city of Colón in less than an hour and enjoy the journey through the Gatun Locks in the famous Panama Canal, Fort Sherman and Fort San Lorenzo, from which you will have to walk to get there. to the beach.
Keep in mind that there are no supermarkets or restaurants in this area, so it’s best to come prepared.
22. Coronado Beach (Panama)
Do you want to know the quiet beaches in Panama? Then you should go to Playa Coronado in Coronado, less than an hour and a half by car from the Panamanian capital, a place that faces gray sand.
You will have a calm ocean perfect for swimming, water skiing and kayaking, all surrounded by the elegance of grand homes and mansions. Although it has all the services, from luxurious hotels to simpler ones and places where you can enjoy all kinds of local food, not many people visit this beach.
One of the curiosities of Coronado is that in the city you will find a great golf course where fans can practice, while their families spend a day relaxing on one of the best beaches in Panama on the Pacific.
23. Red Frog Beach (Bocas del Toro)
Of the names of beaches in Panama, Rana Roja or Red Frog is one of the best for surfers, due to the strength and height of the waves. However, near the coast, a strip of sand allows those who just want to enjoy a calm sea to swim calmly.
Located on Bastimento Island in the Bocas del Toro province, this resort gets its name from the small but poisonous frogs that live in the rain forests that surround the beach. In the resort you will see small places where you can eat fresh fish and drink local drinks at affordable prices, making this place one of the cheap beaches in Panama.
To get there, you must take a ferry from Bocas del Toro Island that will take you to Bastimentos Island and from there walk or board a minibus that will leave you at the beach entrance.
24. Wizard Beach (Bocas del Toro)
On Bastimentos Island there are plenty of places to rest and spend a pleasant time. But, if what you want is something more adrenaline, you should go to Playa Wizard, where the waves of almost two meters break from left to right of the coast of the resort and its strong currents provide a great experience for surfers on the beautiful beaches of Panama.
Wizard is one of the less frequented resorts of the island destination and to get there, the best thing to do is take a ferry from Bocas del Toro Island. From here you can reach other tourist areas of Bastimentos Island such as Playa Segunda and Red Frog through a path that crosses the rain forests, where you can see the local fauna.
Panama: More Than You Expect
In addition to the canal and its big cities, Panama has beaches and tourist destinations that are worth knowing. Your rest and fun will have that touch of adventure that many seek. In addition, there is a diversity of marine and terrestrial fauna that will amaze you just by getting into the paradisiacal beaches of Panama, touring the coast, or one of the rain forests that the country has.
So don’t think twice and choose one or more beaches in Panama to visit on your next vacation and leave aside the big cities to enjoy these tourist places in Panama.