20 Incredible Panama Beaches

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Panama has incredible beaches on both sides of the country facing the Caribbean Sea or the Pacific Ocean. Panama’s beaches vary greatly because the country benefits from two large bodies of water. From tranquil white sand beaches typical of Caribbean islands to rocky shores with large waves perfect for surfing, there are beaches in Panama to suit every visitor.

Caribbean Sea beaches are smaller with calm waters, and several small islands in the Caribbean Sea mirror the idyllic image conjured up when thinking about this part of the world. On Panama’s Pacific Ocean side, the beaches are ideal for surfing and are often longer. Panama has more than 2500 km (1553 miles) of coastline, creating relaxing beaches, idyllic hidden coves and, of course, its paradise islands.

Many Panama beaches are bordered by thick palm trees or jungle, filled with an array of native wildlife. Nature reserves protect one-quarter of the country, some stretching down to its coast. More than 1000 species of birds reside in Panama, with many living in its coastal jungle regions. Whether relaxing, surfing or bird watching are your reasons behind visiting a beach, Panama has something to offer everyone. So, here are 20 beaches in Panama to help you plan your next beach getaway.

Also read: 20 Landmarks In Panama

Panama Beaches

Panama Beaches – Caribbean Sea

panama country beaches palm tree lined beach and clear water
A beach in Panama’s Islas de San Blas is an escape to paradise.

1- Red Frog Beach

Red Frog Beach is named after a small frog living on Isla Bastimentos, where the beach is located.

This Panama beach is popular with locals and visitors but is large enough to accommodate a good crowd.

The beach is accessible via boat from the nearby town of Bocas, and after a 10-minute walk through the lush jungle, the golden sands await.

The beach is the perfect location to spend a day.

Umbrellas and chairs are available for rental at a reasonable price, and several bars and restaurants offer a range of snacks and local delicacies.

Red Frog Beach is on Bastimentos Island, Panama.

2- Starfish Beach

panama city beach beaches Starfish on the beach at sunset
Look for starfish on the eponymously named beach in Panama.

Starfish is one of the best Panama beaches for families, as it’s quiet and relaxing, with plenty of palm trees offering shade.

The calm and shallow ocean makes it the perfect spot to snorkel to see the beach’s residents and an abundance of starfish.

These creatures are magnificent to view above or below the crystal-clear waters but should not be handled.

The waters are calm because of their sheltered location on the back of the island.

You can rent floating chairs, kayaks and wakeboards from several stalls close to the beach for those looking for a more active time at Starfish Beach.

Starfish Beach is in Bocas del Toro Province, Panama.

3- Bluff Beach

panama city beaches
Panama beaches are on either side of the country facing the Caribbean or the Pacific.

Unlike many of Panama’s island beaches, Bluff Beach has calm and swimmable waters and large waves for surfing and boogie boarding.

The sands of Bluff Beach stretch for eight kilometres (4.97 miles). And the beach is quiet and infrequently visited even during peak season.

The journey to the beach is over bumpy dirt tracks, however, it’s worth the discomfort as many sloths have been spotted climbing in the trees close to the tracks.

There are a small number of local restaurants close to the beach serving local food and drinks.

Bluff Beach is in Bluff, Panama.

4- Cayos Zapatillas

best beaches in panama city
Traditional boats on a typical Panama beach at sunset.

Cayos Zapatillas, or Slipper Islands, are two mangrove islands in the Bocas del Toro archipelago.

The islands have the typical white sand beaches of Caribbean islands accompanied by exotic coral gardens, which are perfect for snorkelling.

The coral gardens are filled with parrotfish, angel fish and butterfly fish.

Cayos Zapatillas are protected ecological sites as sea turtles, which are endangered, nest there.

The islands are uninhabited but are accessible via boat and protected by Panama’s environmental authority, which does charge an entrance fee.

Cayos Zapatillas is on Bastimentos Island, Panama.

5- San Blas

beaches close to panama city beach palm trees and beach on an island
Islas de San Blas is owned by the Kuna people and is home to some of the most pristine Panama beaches you’ll find.

San Blas is a group of islands belonging to Panama in the Caribbean Sea.

The islands are picture perfect, with clear blue skies, white soft sandy beaches, tranquil turquoise waters and palm trees offering shade.

The Kuna people own the islands and provide rustic accommodation, meals and transportation.

The beaches of San Blas are the perfect place to escape the stresses of everyday life and truly relax in paradise.

You can visit the island on private sailboats that will often provide accommodation on board, mooring close to the beaches.

San Blas is in San Blas Islands, Panama.

Panama Beaches – Pacific Ocean

map of panama beaches Vector color map of Panama country

6- Punta Chame

Punta Chame is one of the most beautiful beach locations in Panama, looking across the water to a mountain range, creating an unusual yet staggering coastal sight.

This Panama beach is ideal for families as the waters are warm and shallow, making it the perfect spot for a gentle paddle or to practice swimming.

The beach is also a wind trap making it a popular location for kite surfers during Panama’s windy season, which stretches from December to April.

The sport is so popular that lessons are now offered in the immediate locale and you can hire equipment.

Punta Chame is at Punta Chame, Panama.

7- Punta Duarte

beaches between panama city and destin
Another deserted tropical ocean beach in Panama.

Punta Duarte is the perfect location for those seeking a slice of paradise to watch the sunset, as the beach is one of few in Panama where the sunset over the Pacific Ocean can be seen.

The beach itself is wide and bordered by thick trees offering shade.

Unlike many of Panama’s Pacific Ocean beaches, Punta Duarte benefits from an angle that creates smaller waves and a safer environment for swimming.

The beach is connected to a small island offshore, which is only accessible during low tide.

When the tide does recede, many rock pools are revealed, often filled with colourful fish, crabs and starfish.

Punta Duarte is in La Barra Numero Uno, Panama.

8- Playa Venao

beaches in panama city panama
Check out the sunsets from one of the beaches of Panama. They’re amazing.

Playa Venao is one of Panama’s best surf beach destinations as the waves come in a range of sizes, making it a flexible spot for surfers of all skill levels.

The sands are golden-brown and wide, with plenty of space to relax and unwind on the crescent-shaped beach that stretches for three kilometres (1.86 miles).

Despite its popularity for water sports, Playa Venao is an area of natural beauty.

The thick jungle that borders the beach is home to monkeys, coatimundis and anteaters, as well as a wide variety of birds.

Playa Venao is at Playa Venao, Calle Principal Playa Venao, Panama.

9- Coronado Beach

beaches in panama city at sunset
Some of the most beautiful beaches in Panama are on the Pacific Ocean side.

Coronado Beach is close to Panama City and is a popular destination for a day trip for those working, living, or staying in the country’s capital.

The beach is an unusual mix of yellow and black sands.

The waters of Coronado Beach vary, with waves being large in certain areas and not ideal for swimming.

The beach is close to many hotels, rented apartments and restaurants.

Coronado Beach is at Las Lajas, Panama.

10- Playa Larga

beaches near panama city beach Black hat on a background of the sea. Beach accessory on white sand.
Why not try both Pacific and Caribbean beaches in Panama?

Playa Larga is one of seven beautiful beaches on Isla Contadora, one of the Pearl Islands.

It’s the most popular beach on the island, covering 0.5 miles (0.8 kilometres) of pristine white sands bordered by calm and swimmable waters.

Behind the beach, a little into the jungle is a large and abandoned resort.

Local rumours tell of a Columbian drug lord who owned the resort, which was abandoned after he died in a plane crash.

Other rumours tied to the resort include it being used to hide an Iranian Shah in exile and as a holiday haunt for former USA president Jimmy Carter.

Rumours aside, the beach is certainly worth the journey.

Isla Contadora can is a two-hour ferry crossing or a short hop flight only 15 minutes from Panama City.

Playa Larga is at Saboga, Panama.

11- Santa Catalina

beaches close to panama city sunset
You can feel the power of the ocean on a Pacific beach in Panama.

Santa Catalina is across the bay from the Sunset Coast and has a range of incredible beaches.

A popular destination for independent travellers, those seeking large waves and perfect surfing conditions should head to La Punta.

But if you’re looking to learn how to surf, head to Playa Estero, which offers calmer waters and smaller waves than La Punta.

If land sports are more your preference, La Coquita offers plenty of space for horse riding and cycling, with local hires available.

The town of Santa Catalina has grown in popularity and offers a fun and friendly vibe for solo travellers, groups, and families alike.

Santa Catalina is on Unnamed Road, Santa Catalina, Panama.

12- Playa Blanca

beaches near panama city panama female beautiful smooth legs on white sand beach
Looking for the best Panama beaches for your next summer vacation? With Pacific and Caribbean beaches, Panama has the best of both worlds.

Playa Blanca is on Panama’s west coast and benefits from a tropical climate, low rainfall, and lots of sun-filled days.

Translating to white beach, Playa Blanca offers some of the best beach resorts in the country.

Many of the resorts on Playa Blanca are all-inclusive, with some retaining private access to stretches of the beach.

The beach is in Farallon, a small and quiet fishing village largely destroyed during the US invasion as a military base was located there.

Thankfully, the old village charm remains, and much of Farallon has been developed and rebuilt, making it ideal for exploring away from the sands.

Playa Blanca is at Rio Hato, Panama.

13- El Palmar

For those staying in Panama City, the country’s capital, El Palmar is the ideal destination for a day out of the city.

The beach is only 14 km (8.7 miles) away from the city, but unlike other beaches close to the city, El Palmar retains a quiet and tranquil atmosphere.

There are many palm trees on the beach offering welcome shady spots.

The palm trees are so abundant that the beach was named after them.

The waters are calm, so swimming and snorkelling are possible. There are also moderate waves which are perfect for those learning to surf.

El Palmar is at C. 4 Sur, San Carlos, Panama.

14- Isla Coiba

best beaches panama tropical deserted ocean beach in Panama
You’ll find a few deserted beaches in Panama if you know where to look.

Located inside the beautiful and wild Coiba National Park is Isla Coiba beach, which lies on an uninhabited island filled with dense jungle and populated by a wide range of native wildlife.

The main beach on Isla Coiba is crescent-shaped and covered with soft white sands.

As an island, Isla Coiba has a range of small beaches offering everything from calm waters and peaceful nooks to large waves favoured by surfers.

Many who head to the island come for its beaches and its wildlife.

There are more than 200 species of birds living on the island, as well as crocodiles and turtles.

Isla Coiba is at Isla de Coiba, Panama.

15- Isla Iguana

beaches in panama tropical ocean beach with trees
Fancy spending time alone on one of the tropical ocean beaches in Panama? You’ll have a few to choose from.

Isla Iguana is the perfect Panamanian beach for wildlife lovers, and the island became a protected wildlife refuge in 1981.

The refuge covers 58 acres (23 ha) of the small island, which is home to many birds making it the ideal location to relax and observe nature.

For those seeking marine life, the waters are calm and perfect for snorkelling.

Look out for turtles, brightly coloured fish, octopus and moray eels.

As the island is a wildlife refuge, there are no facilities or restaurants, so pack plenty of snacks and drinks for your trip.

Isla Iguana is at Arenal Isla Iguana, Panama.

16- La Barqueta

panama black sand beaches waves and rocks
If you’re a keen photographer, most Panama beaches are great subjects for beautiful pictures at sunset.

La Barqueta is another popular spot for surfers, thanks to the consistent size of the waves and swells.

The beach is relatively peaceful, and short palm trees are dotted along the coast, making a more natural alternative to a beach umbrella for those sunbathing.

The population of the beach swells during holidays, but if you visit out of season, you will likely be the only visitors.

There are several restaurants close to the beach that serve local food.

The beach is free to visit, but for a small fee to the local resort Hotel Las Olas’ pool, gym and bar become available.

La Baraqueta is at Guarumal, Panama.

17- Playa Las Lajas

panama best beaches suncream bottles, hats, beach bag on white sand background ocean. Beach accessories on the summer sands
Pack plenty of suncream if you’re planning on spending time on the beaches of Panama.

Playa Las Lajas is near the city of David and is one of the most popular mainland beaches in Panama.

The beach is along the Pacific coast in the Gulf of Chiriqui and is easily accessible by the Inter-American highway.

This Panam beach is sandwiched between a grove of palm trees and the ocean.

Across the beach are several ranchos, or thatched-roof huts, you can rent that for the day.

There are a number of hotels in the area, but most visitors tend to come for the day out from another location.

A few beachside restaurants also serve simple meals and drinks throughout the day.

Playa Las Lagas is at Playa, Las Lajas, Panama.

18- Pedasi Beach

panama beaches hand holding a card with a red heart and the world panama
What’s not to love about the beaches of Panama? With plenty of sun, you’re sure to have a great time.

A four-hour drive from Panama City, Pedasi Beach is on the edge of the Asuero Peninsula.

The beach is covered in fine black volcanic sands, which are immaculately looked after.

The beach is relatively unknown, however, thanks to its world-class surfs is becoming more popular with surfers holidaying in Panama.

It’s also a popular scuba diving destination, where large coral reefs filled with colourful fish are a short way out to sea.

The beach is on the Tuna Coast, which has long been associated with sports fishing, but if you visit between June and November, you can spot humpback whales from the shore as they swim past.

Pedasi Beach is at Pedasi, Panama.

19- Playa de la Isla Taboga

panama city panama beaches red flowers in the foreground
Another Panama beach to tick off your to-visit list is Isla Taboga in Panama City.

Often called the island of flowers, Taboga is a beautiful and historical beach location an hour’s drive from Panama City.

Playa de la Isla Taboga is backed by colourful fishing houses or thick jungle, and its waters are filled with small fishing boats.

The island was once visited by conquistadors and pirates, creating a historical and intriguing vibe in its villages.

If lounging lazily on the beach is not your style, or you fancy a change of scenery, head out on a guided nature walk or venture out to sea on a whale watching or fishing trip.

Playa de la Isla Taboga is at Isla de Taboga, Panama.

20- Santa Clara Beach

panama city beaches chamber of commerce Classic Panama hat icon. Set of vintage Panama hat icons.
Pick up a classic Panama hat while on your next beach vacation in Panama. Here are some typical shapes.

Santa Clara beach is close to a small town of the same name.

The beach is one of the most beautiful beaches on Panama’s Pacific Ocean coast and has a gentle slope down to the calm shallow waters.

As there are few waves, the beach is ideal for visiting with young children.

It is possible to rent hammocks, picnic tables and water sports equipment from a local rental store.

Snorkelling, scuba diving and beach volleyball are also popular on Santa Clara beach.

Santa Clara Beach is in Rio Hato, Panama.

For more beaches around the world read:

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sarah holmes travel writer
Sarah Holmes is a travel and fashion writer living in the heart of England. From family adventures in numerous parts of the UK and Europe to exploring cities as an adult, Sarah has a wide knowledge of the best areas, sights and local tips that the UK and the neighbouring continent can offer. Sarah grew up in the North East of England, with incredible sights and landmarks only a short drive away. Her favourite places to visit include Seaham Beach, the Lake District and Alnwick Castle. Sarah has written for a range of fashion and travel blogs and print publications.