Cruise and Beach Destinations
in the Caribbean, Mexico & Beyond

Top Beaches in Panama

Farallon beach
Farallon beach; credit: Wikimedia

Despite having hundreds of kilometers of coastline on both the Caribbean Sea and Pacific Ocean, only a few of Panama’s beaches are noteworthy.

In fact, there are no accessible beaches within close vicinity of Panama City. However, if you find yourself within the city and in search of a beach, here are the closest and most accessible beaches to Panama’s capital.

1. Comarca Kuna Yala

Comarca Kuna Yala is undoubtedly the premier beach destination in Panama. In fact, the beach features more than 350 islands scattered off the Caribbean coast offering picturesque beaches that rival those of almost any Caribbean island.  Yes, the quintessential powdery white sand, coral reef, piercing turquoise water, and clusters of swaying palm trees are all available here.

Moreover, the vibrant Kuna, an indigenous people oversee this province, and their fascinating culture is one more reason to visit. Of note, certain activities such as scuba diving are prohibited; however, for those who simply want to swim, lounge and relax, this beach is the perfect place.

2. Las Perlas Archipelago

Unlike Comarca Kuna Yala, Las Perlas Archipelago fulfills the beach lover’s fantasy offering a wide range of opportunities or activities such as diving and snorkelling. Las Perlas Archipelago offers beautiful white-sand beaches and calm-water swimming conditions.

Possibly the best feature of Las Perlas Archipelago is the fact that the beach is quite isolated and serene. Besides holidays and summer, visitors won’t find crowds here, even during weekends. It’s also drier here during the rainy season.

3. Isla Bastimentos National Park, Cayos Zapatillas

Cayos Zapatillas, the “Slippers Islands” (so-called because they resemble footprints), offers soft sand with a mysterious jungle backdrop of the Isla Bastimentos National Park. The park’s main island, Isla Bastimentos, offers other terrific beaches with clean sand and blue water, such as Red Frog Beach, Wizard Beach, and Playa Larga.

Each beach is close to the other and can be reached by a short walk or hike or by boat during the calm-water season. This beach is especially popular with travellers who like to snorkel as the area is surrounded by rich displays of coral that attracts hordes of fish.

4. Playa Los Destiladores and Playa Venado, Azuero Peninsula

The Azuero Peninsula is a wonderful strip lined with spectacular beaches. Of the multitude of beaches lining the coast, these two are the cleanest, the most attractive, and are within a 20-minute drive from each other.

Though currents may get a bit powerful from time to time, the authorities have instituted measures to protect against the effects. As such, the beaches are calm enough for children. The beaches are also in close vicinity to the picturesque town of Pedasí and three gorgeous lodges.

5. Santa Clara and Farallón

As far as Panama is concerned, these two are possibly the most appealing beaches along the Pacific Coast. Here, the beaches’ water is bluer and the sand whiter than its neighbours closer to the city.

Apart from their natural beauty, Santa Clara and Farallón are also great for swimming and snorkelling. On the other hand however, you must be cognizant of the fact that swimming conditions can be treacherous due to large waves and strong riptides. No matter how refreshing the water looks, analyze conditions, stay out of choppy water or head to a beach known for calm water.

Due to its geographical shape, Panama has the largest concentration of coastline compared to land mass in all of Latin America. Though most of this coastline is rugged and inaccessible, it doesn’t matter where you are; it is likely that a beautiful beach will be relatively close by.

Scott S. Bateman is a professional journalist who has traveled widely throughout the Caribbean and the Americas. He is the author of four books about cruising in the Caribbean, Alaska and Mexican Riviera.
February 17, 2020

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