The Best Places to Surf in Panama

Panama has some amazing surf spots
Panama has some amazing surf spots | © Teddy Kelley / Unsplash
Photo of Martina Gili
27 September 2017

With an incredible mix of beach breaks, reef breaks and point breaks, Panama is surfers’ heaven. Not only is it possible to surf all year round, but you can ride waves on the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans on the same day, thanks to the country’s narrow geography. Discover the best places to surf and begin your adventure on the widely unexplored shores of Panama.

Panama Bay beaches

Easily accessible from the capital, you will find a series of beach breaks stretching from Punta Chame, to El Palmar and all the way to Buenaventura. The Panama Bay is a good place for both bodyboarding and surfing, suiting people of all ages and experience levels. Thanks to its proximity to the city, it is also perfect for a beach day or a weekend getaway.

© Frank McKenna / Unsplash

Playa Venao, Azuero Peninsula

Located in the Azuero Peninsula, about five hours away from Panama City, Playa Venao offers the perfect mix of surf adventure and fun. One of the most famous beach breaks in Panama, it hosts some of the biggest competitions in the country and is also known for its great beach parties. Playa Venao is also home to some excellent hostels and hotels.

Playa Venao, Panamá | © Selina Playa Venao

Cambutal, Azuero Peninsula

Cambutal is a famous beach known for its high waves, as well as being one of the chosen spots where sea turtles go to lay their eggs. A natural wonder, it is located one hour away from Playa Venao with plenty of hotels and lodges for surfers and ecotourists.

Cambutal, Panama | © Austin Neill/Unsplash

Morro Negrito, Pacific Coast

Morro Negrito is a famous surf destination in Central America. The small beach town is located on an unspoilt island off the Pacific Coast of Panama, surrounded by mangroves and with a rich wildlife. With several islands in the vicinity, it is a unique location with both point breaks and beach breaks.

Surfing | © Joey Pilgrim / Unsplash

Santa Catalina, Province of Veraguas

Santa Catalina is a beach town in the province of Veraguas, on the Pacific side of Panama. Located in front of the National Park of Isla Coiba, it has one of the longest beach breaks in Central America. It has clear waters, an abundance of exotic marine life and offers spectacular views. Affordable accommodation options are available all along the coast.

Santa Catalina, Panama | © Dronepicr / WikiCommons

Playa Morrillo, Province of Veraguas

Not far from Santa Catalina is Playa Morrillo, another great place to surf in Panama. Home to many international competitions, it offers surfing points both left and right and warm waters all year round.

Panama has some amazing surf spots | © Teddy Kelley / Unsplash

Isla Colón, Bocas del Toro

Bocas del Toro is the number one destination for anyone traveling to Panama and is also surfers’ paradise. Bluff Beach, on the main island of Isla Colón, is a gold sand beach surrounded by exotic green vegetation. With powerful waves reaching up to 15 feet it’s ideal for bodyboarding, though some surfers may find it quite challenging.

© Asaf R / Unsplash

Isla Bastimentos, Bocas del Toro

Red Frog Beach on Isla Bastimentos is another great place to surf in Panama, though surfers and swimmers alike should beware of rip currents – powerful narrow currents that move fast underwater. It is hard to notice them, and they can suck in even the most experienced swimmers, so watch out for the red flag when you visit Bastimento.

Red Frog Beach, Isla Bastimento, Panama | © Dronepicr / WikiCommons

Isla Grande, Province of Colón

Isla Grande is a beautiful Caribbean island located two and a half hours away from Panama City, in the area of Colón. Reachable by lancha (a wooden motorboat) from the small harbor of La Guaira, near Portobelo, the island is surrounded by clear waters and lush green vegetation. There are a number of point breaks around the island most suitable for advanced surfers.

© Martina Gili

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