One of the perks of Panama City is its proximity to some of the most fantastic beaches of Central America. Just hop in a car, and in less than two hours you will be lying under a coconut tree with your feet in crystal blue waters, or surfing the waves of the Pacific. Here is a list of the best beach day destinations from Panama City, brought to you by Culture Trip.
Taboga Island is the closest beach escape from Panama City. As the biggest weekend tourist destination for Panamanians, it is only 20 minutes away from the Amador Causeway. Ferries leave every hour to the “island of flowers”, where you will find beaches, pelicans, and a lush green vegetation.
Punta Chame is an ideal day trip from Panama City. Only 90 minutes away from the city center, head off towards the Bridge of the Americas and continue on the Pan-American Highway. Surrounded by hills and lakes, 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 right off the coast of Portobelo, in the province of Colon. With a real chilled-out vibe, transparent waters, coconut trees, and beach bars that sells freshly caught lobster and iced fruit juices, it gives you that holiday feeling only two hours away from the city.
Contadora Island is one of the most popular islands of the Pearl Archipelago, a constellation of islands found in the Pacific waters a hundred or so kilometres off of Panama City. Reachable by ferry, it is home to some tranquil beaches, boutique hotels, and gourmet restaurants, while keeping a savage side thanks to its wild vegetation and the absence of cars.
The islands of San Blas often rank amongst the most spectacular beaches in the world. The archipelago, made up of over 360 islands, is home to the Guna Yala indigenous people who host tourists in modest huts on the beach for a true Robinson Crusoe experience. The San Blas Gulf is located at the end of a rollercoaster jungle road that can only be reached by 4×4 jeep cars.
The small Caribbean island of Isla Mamey is located in the province of Colón, a 2 hours 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 Province of Colon, 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.