Not only a link between Central and South America, Panama is also a melting point of cultures and natural beauty. Besides from the bustling city life of Panama City with its fabulous shopping centers, big expat community, upbeat city-life, and historic sites, Panama is also home to an ample assortment of stunning white sand beaches. Lined with palm trees, pristine waters, and fantastic views of breathtaking landscapes Panama has thousands of islands worthy of competing for the world’s best beaches. So, pack your bags, double-up on sunscreen, bring your snorkel, wax-up your surfboard, and remember your sexiest speedo or bikini to discover some of the most amazing beaches in Panama.
Best beach for snorkeling: Isla Coibas
Are you looking for the best, most beautiful, and biggest island in Central America? Look no further than Isla Coibas. This UNESCO World Heritage site is Panama’s most precious treasure and their most beloved national park. Just off the Pacific coast of the province of Veraguas, Isla Coibas is called home by a vast amount of exotic marine fauna which visitors can appreciate and admire in one of the numerous snorkeling and diving tours available on the island.
Best beach for photos: Cayos Zapatillas
Let’s start off right by mentioning two gorgeous mangrove islands that are part of the wonderful archipelago of Bocas del Toro. The stunning golden sand beaches are a section of the incredible landscapes made of coral reefs and sea turtles — the perfect mixture of relaxation and fun. These islands are named after the Spanish word for sandals because of their shape, and locals argue that they’re shaped this way because God stepped down from heaven and formed the islands in the shape of his feet.
Best secluded beach: The San Blas Archipelago
Our list continues with one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. This Archipelago comprises 378 islands that remain under the control of local native tribes known as Gunas. They have made a big effort in keeping the islands safe from huge influxes of tourism, giving them a secluded feel and offering a wonderful relaxing experience like no other. In San Blas, you actually feel like a true castaway in paradise.
Best city beach: Coronado and Corgona
If you happen to be visiting Panama City and are looking to spend a day or two at the beach, then the beach communities from Chame to Playa Blanca are the places to go. These beaches are known as “City Beaches” due to their closeness and easy access from Panama City. The most popular beach along this stretch is Coronado and the gorgeous beach town of Gorgona. There you’ll find all the amenities you would expect from a modern and bustling beach town, as well as a very high-quality beach.
Best beach for nature: Red Frog Beach
Isla Bastimento in Bocas del Toro is home to many wonderful beaches, but Red Frog Beach might be the most unique and beautifully weird one. The beach gets its name from the fascinating little red frogs that can be seen all over the sand. The display is complemented by a thick lush vegetation that gives the beach a wild vibe filled with natural beauty; add the placid crystal waters and get one of the best surfing beaches in the country.
Best beach for surfing: Santa Catalina
You might not need a map to find this hidden treasure in the gorgeous Gulf of Chiriquí area. The small fishing village has been recently discovered by visitors and is becoming more and more popular. Its charm comes from the great surf found here and the secluded feel perfect for divers and fishers. A genuine off-the-beaten-path destination.
Best luxury beach: Isla Contadora
Possibly the most popular and stunning island in the Pearl Islands archipelago, Isla Contadora has the perfect mixture of stunning raw nature, white deserted beaches, fascinating wildlife, and top-class exclusive villas. A true paradise not far from Panama City in the beautiful Pacific Coast of Panama.
Best tranquil beach: Playa Estrella
Just off the coast of Bocas del Toro, Isla Colón is home to wonderful Playa Estrella. The remoteness and beautiful flora and fauna of this beach make it a hidden paradise with all the amenities you need for a fantastic trip. The placid turquoise waters and the numerous starfish laying around give it a magical feel that can be perfectly complemented by a delicious Piña Colada under the shade of one of the palm trees that line the beach.
Best beach for locals: Isla Grande
Want an escape from big cities and modern life? If yes, take a short boat ride off the coast of Portobelo and find Isla Grande. Spend a weekend here and discover the picturesque village and its wonderful people. The transparent waters and the delicious fresh seafood caught by local fishermen are the way to go. The beach is a picture-perfect collage of wild vegetation and a rocky coastline, creating a feeling of secludedness, exclusivity, and relaxation like no other.