The Best Beach Day Destinations From Panama City

The San Blas islands offer some of the most idyllic beaches in the world, and they're only a short hop from Panama City
The San Blas islands offer some of the most idyllic beaches in the world, and they're only a short hop from Panama City | © Daniel Lange / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Martina Gili
10 June 2021

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

Natural Feature
Map View
Taboga Island
© Dixon Hamby / Alamy Stock Photo

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.

Isla Grande

Natural Feature
Map View
Portobelo, Isla Grande, Panama - Feb 29, 2020: Landscape around Sister Moon hotel, resort on Isla Grande near Portobelo in Panama.
© Marek / Alamy Stock Photo

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

Natural Feature
Map View
Contadora Island in the Pearl Islands, Republic of Panama.  Playa Larga.
© Ken Welsh / Alamy Stock Photo

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.

San Blas

Natural Feature
Map View
Diablo Island (Niatupu), San Blas Islands, Caribbean Sea, Panama, Central America
© robertharding / Alamy Stock Photo

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.

Isla Mamey

Natural Feature
Map View
Tourists enjoying a boat trip between Isla Mamey and Isla Grande, Panama. Image shot 02/2002. Exact date unknown.
© James Brunker / Alamy Stock Photo

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

Historical Landmark
Map View
Santiago fort, Portobelo, Colon Province, Panama. Image shot 02/2002. Exact date unknown.
© James Brunker / Alamy Stock Photo

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.

These recommendations were updated on June 10, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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