The Best Spas and Wellness Centers in Panama

Kick off your flip-flops at the private island resort, Isla Palenque, and relax or join in the free group activities
Kick off your flip-flops at the private island resort, Isla Palenque, and relax or join in the free group activities | Courtesy of Isla Palenque /
Photo of Emma Sparks
14 July 2021

Laid-back Panama is home to some excellent stress-busting spas and wellness centers in beautiful locations; think massages in mangroves and blue algae body wraps. Whether you’re looking for a private island getaway or an ecofriendly beach stay, here are the top spa retreats in the country – all bookable with Culture Trip.

Waldorf Astoria Panama

Chain Hotel, Spa Hotel
4.4/5 (674 Reviews)
Waldorf Astoria Panama
Courtesy of Waldorf Astoria Panama / Expedia
From $129 per night per room

Is there anything a blue algae body wrap and Swedish massage can’t fix? Not at the Waldorf Astoria spa. Follow it up with a dip in the rooftop pool and you’ll be totally Zen. The hotel is two blocks from the coastal path – cycle or wander southwest, admiring Pacific Ocean views until you reach Casco Viejo, where the Unesco-listed neighborhood is packed with colonial architecture and trendy bars (don’t miss rum cocktails at Pedro Mandinga).

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Urraca Private Island

Map View
Urraca Private Island
Courtesy of Urraca Private Island /

You’ll need to hop on a boat from Isla Colon to reach this tiny private island in Bocas del Toro. Here, a handful of fuschia bungalows are suspended over balmy Caribbean waters, and the resident monkeys – rescued by friendly host Francine – swing between the branches above. Treat yourself to a massage among the mangroves, go snorkeling around the neighboring Zapatilla Islands, or hole up in a hammock with a book – you’ll find time slows down here.

Royal Decameron Panama Plus

Chain Hotel
3.5/5 (16 Reviews)
Royal Decameron Panama Plus
Courtesy of Royal Decameron Panama Plus /
From $308 per night per room

There are nine pools at this sprawling beachfront resort in Río Hato. And with a golf course, tennis courts, plenty of restaurants and a top-notch spa, you may never need to leave – but it’s worth venturing out along the coast, if only to find more pristine white sands on which to lay your sarong and lie back and relax to the sound of the lapping surf.

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Isla Palenque private island resort

Resort, Luxury
5/5 (3 Reviews)
Isla Palenque
Courtesy of Isla Palenque /
From $1184 per night per room

An hour’s drive from David airport, and a 15-minute boat ride, and you could be kicking off your flip-flops on this secluded private island, where a handful of thatch-roofed casitas line a beachfront palm grove. Help yourself to a kayak, snorkel or yoga mat – details of free group activities are chalked on the blackboard daily. If that all sounds like too much hard work, a massage on the beach followed by a cocktail by the pool will be bliss.

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Eco Venao

Resort, Eco Hotel
Map View
Eco Venao
Courtesy of Eco Venao /

Spanning 346 acres (140ha) at the quiet end of the increasingly popular Venao Bay, Eco Venao is part resort, part reforestation project, having planted more than 50,000 trees in the last 15 years. Among all that greenery lies a collection of cabins and colonial-style casitas, all built using local, low-impact materials. Practice your chaturangas with a yoga class in the stilted beachfront shala, or destress with a Thai massage or reflexology at the spa.

Bocas Bali Luxury Water Villas

Bocas Bali Luxury Water Villas - All Inclusive - Adults Only
Courtesy of Bocas Bali Luxury Water Villas - All Inclusive - Adults Only / Expedia
From $715 per night per room

Want to go off grid, without foregoing luxury? Hop on a seaplane to this private all-inclusive adults-only island. The resort is powered entirely by solar power. The romantic water villas have huge canopy beds and broad decks leading to clear Caribbean shallows – some also have private plunge pools. Laze away the days with Swedish massages and snorkel sessions, saving time for a dolphin-spotting excursion in nearby Dolphin Bay.

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  • Taboga Palace Spa & Hotel

    Spa Hotel
    Map View
    Taboga Palace spa hotel
    Courtesy of Taboga Palace spa hotel /

    Traffic-free Taboga Island is an easy-to-access getaway, just a 45-minute ferry from Panama City. This beachfront hotel has pretty pastel rooms – with names such as Magnolia, Jasmin and Honeysuckle (it’s the Island of Flowers after all) – and a rooftop infinity pool. Serious spa-goers will love the hopi candle ear wax treatments, cupping and lymphatic drainage massage. Don’t miss a trip to nearby Iglesia de San Pedro: built in 1550, it’s the second oldest church in the western hemisphere.

    The Santa Maria

    Chain Hotel, Luxury
    4.8/5 (171 Reviews)
    The Santa Maria, A Luxury Collection Hotel and Golf Resort, Panama City
    Courtesy of The Santa Maria, A Luxury Collection Hotel and Golf Resort, Panama City / Expedia
    From $119 per night per room

    Just a 10-minute drive from the capital, this plush resort features neutral-toned rooms with marble bathrooms and views of the 18-hole golf course. The large outdoor pool will be a welcome sight after a round or two working on your handicap. Here to be pampered, Panama style? Spa treatments are inspired by indigenous healing traditions and local ingredients. For total indulgence, start with the coffee body scrub and cacao mask followed by a herbal hot stone massage.

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    Dreams Playa Bonita Panama

    3.8/5 (422 Reviews)
    Dreams Playa Bonita Panama - All Inclusive
    Courtesy of Dreams Playa Bonita Panama - All Inclusive / Expedia
    From $198 per night per room

    This jungle-shrouded all-inclusive resort is just a 20-minute drive from Panama City but feels a world away from the frenetic streets of the capital. The fabulous spa menu includes couples’ massages, after-sun facials and seaweed body wraps – though a swim in the oceanfront infinity pool can be just as relaxing. Between July and September, guests are invited to watch baby turtles being released into the wild on the beach.

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    Sansara Surf and Yoga Resort

    Boutique Hotel, Resort
    4.6/5 (5 Reviews)
    Sansara Surf and Yoga Resort - Retreat
    Courtesy of Sansara Surf and Yoga Resort - Retreat /
    From $229 per night per room

    Yogis and surfers assemble: this hip beachfront retreat in Cambutal on the Azuero Peninsula is the ultimate spot to take care of your body and mind. If wipe-outs and warrior poses leave you feeling sore, soothe your aching muscles at the open-air spa shala. The four-hands massage is particularly knot-melting. Sleep it off in one of 12 individually styled cabanas with handcrafted wood furniture and a private terrace.

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    This is an updated version of an article originally by Brittney Schering.

    These recommendations were updated on July 14, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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