Panama is full of fantastic beaches, which are loved by both locals and people visiting, working, or retiring in Panama. From resort areas to secluded natural clearings, the types of beaches Panama has to offer runs the gamut. These beaches are incredibly popular all year round, but during Panama’s “summer”, or dry season (Jan-April), they are an especially hot ticket when it comes to visitors. If you’re planning on coming to Panama, or already live here and what to get out in the sun and sand, we’ve got you covered. Here are our top 5 beaches to visit this season!
5. Farallon/Playa Blanca. The area Playa Blanca, and town of Farallon, have some of the best beaches on Panama’s Pacific coastline. It’s also the best area if you’re looking for all-inclusive beach resorts, luxury hotels, and a trip that’s relatively close to the city, and easy to get to from the highway. Playa Blanca has many large, luxury, and classic family vacation-style resorts that are great for a few days, and offer all you’ll need for a modern escape. Farallon shares the same beach, but rather than resorts, is famous for its small town feel, and fish shacks.
4. Isla Grande. This cozy, tropical, green tropical island is on the Caribbean side of Panama, and easy to access from the Colon area, at the north side of the Canal. This is a great beach for a day trip, and has a very chill, low-key feel to it. You can get there by ferry from Colon, and check out historic Portobelo on the way in, or the way out. It tends to get a bit crowded during holidays, but if you go early, or go mid-week, you’ll have the island practically to yourself!
3. San Blas. With so many great beaches it’s impossible to pick just one, so we’ve decided to include the entire island chain. San Blas is virtually untouched, and is the epitome of picturesque Caribbean island life. The 400+ island archipelago is still indigenous territory, with the Kuna Yala tribe welcoming visitors in the most gracious, hospitable, and friendly way. We recommend Isla Perro, Porvenir, or Chichime, if you’re looking for where to start in this vast island paradise. There are plenty of tour companies that do excursions, although there are few hotels. Most people who stay for more than a day or two choose to do so on a boat, which can be another unforgettable experience.
2. Isla Contadora. The main island of the Pearl Islands is a true jewel of Panama, and its beaches don’t disappoint either. Contadora is a 2-hour ferry ride from Panama City, in the Pacific, and is ideal for snorkeling, whale and dolphin watching (unfortunately, not as much in summer), and island beach hopping. There are a number of beaches to discover on the island, as well as some quaint and luxury accommodations, a small airport, and lots of underwater excursions to be had. Highly recommended.
1. Red Frog Beach, Bocas del Toro. Much like San Blas, it’s hard to pick a “best beach” when it comes to Bocas del Toro. That being said, we think for an overall experience, Red Frog takes the cake. This beach has a $3 entrance fee, and it’s well worth it. Red Frog Beach has sparkling blue water, gorgeous white sand, some amazing natural trails (yes, with actual red frogs in them!) nearby, and a comfortable eat/drink/stay vibe for people who want to get the full touristic experience. It’s located on Isla Bastimentos, and is a quick water taxi ride from the main island, and the airport.