One of the perks of Panama City is how close it is to some of the best beaches in Central America. Just a short drive and you can be lying under a palm tree or surfing Pacific waves. So what are you waiting for? Here are the best beach day destinations from the capital of Panama.
Taboga Island is the closest beach escape to Panama City – it’s only 20 minutes from the Amador Causeway, making it one of the most popular destinations for locals. Ferries leave every hour to the Island of Flowers; on arrival, you’ll find beaches, pelicans and lush green vegetation.
Punta Chame is only 90 minutes from the city center. Travel towards the Bridge of the Americas and continue on the Pan-American Highway. The long, narrow peninsula cuts into the Pacific Ocean and is an ideal place for surfing and relaxing on the beach.
Isla Grande is a stunning Caribbean island in the Colón province off the Portobelo coast. With a chilled vibe, transparent waters, coconut trees, and beach bars that sell freshly caught lobster and iced fruit juices, it gives you that vacation vibe only two hours from the city.
Contadora Island is one of the most popular destinations in the Pearl Archipelago, a constellation of islands found in the Pacific waters some 30mi (48km) off Panama City. Reachable by ferry, it is home to tranquil beaches, boutique hotels and gourmet restaurants, while keeping a wild side thanks to the native vegetation and absence of cars.
The islands of San Blas often rank among the most spectacular beaches in the world. The archipelago, made up of more than 360 islands, is home to the indigenous Guna people, who host tourists in modest beach huts. The Gulf of San Blas is located at the end of a rollercoaster jungle road that can only be reached by four-wheel drive vehicles.
The small Caribbean island of Isla Mamey is located in the Colón province, a two-hour drive from Panama City. With beautiful views and tropical clear water, it is the perfect paradise island if you want to get away from the chaos of the city, snorkel along the coral reefs or sip coconut water under a palm tree.
Portobelo is a port city in the Colón province, surrounded by beautiful beaches and home to lots of scuba diving schools. Besides being a fantastic beach destination, it is also a historic landmark and a Unesco World Heritage Site, thanks to its impressive defence fortifications built by the Spanish Empire.
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