The Most Beautiful Beaches in Panama

| © Alfredo Maiquez / Alamy Stock Photo
Martina Gili

Skirting both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and with thousands of islands, Panama is home to some of the world’s most spectacular beaches. Whether you’re looking to relax on Isla Contadora, snorkel on Isla Coiba or surf on Red Frog Beach, this little Central American country has got you covered. Read our guide and discover the most beautiful beaches in Panama.

1. Cayos Zapatillas, Bocas del Toro

Natural Feature

Beach on Cayos Zapatillas (Zapatillas Keys), Bocas del Toro Province, Panama
© Jane Sweeney / Alamy Stock Photo

Cayos Zapatillas are two mangrove islands located in the archipelago of Bocas del Toro. With golden beaches and exotic coral reefs, they are important ecological sites for endangered sea turtles. According to local legend, the Zapatillas Islands (meaning slipper islands) were made by the feet of God as he stepped down from heaven.

2. The San Blas archipelago

Natural Feature

San Blas archipelago
© Alfredo Maiquez / Alamy Stock Photo

With turquoise crystal waters and fine white sand, the beaches of San Blas rank among the most beautiful in the world. The 378 islands of the Caribbean archipelago have been spared from mass tourism by the native Gunas who control them. If you are searching for that desert island feeling, San Blas is the perfect destination.

3. Isla Coiba, Province of Veraguas

Natural Feature

Evening skies at the northeast side of Coiba island national park, UNESCO heritage site, Pacific coast, Veraguas province, Republic of Panama.
© Oyvind Martinsen / Alamy Stock Photo

Named a Unesco World Heritage site, Isla Coiba is the biggest island in Central America and one of Panama’s most precious natural treasures. Located off the Pacific Coast in the province of Veraguas, the Coiba National Park is home to exotic marine species that you can get close to on one of the many snorkelling or diving tours organised on the island.

4. Red Frog Beach, Bocas del Toro

Natural Feature

The beautiful Red Frog Beach, Bocas del Toro, Panama
© Daniel Lange / Alamy Stock Photo

Named after the little red frogs that can be spotted along the shores of Isla Bastimentos in Bocas del Toro, Red Frog Beach is one of the most unique beaches in Panama. With wild vegetation growing right behind the stretch of sand, the beach is raw natural beauty at its best. The placid crystal waters come alive with winds and currents, turning Red Frog Beach into one of Panama’s best surf breaks.

5. Santa Catalina, Province of Veraguas

Natural Feature

Surfer walks to La Punta in Santa Catalina, Panama
© Cavan Images / Alamy Stock Photo

Santa Catalina is a hidden paradise in the Gulf of Chiriquí. Until recently the small fishing village was rather unknown to visitors. Nowadays however, it is a popular destination among surfers thanks to its incredible beach break. It’s also loved by travellers looking for an off-the-beaten-path destination for diving, fishing and relaxing on the beach.

6. Isla Contadora, Pearl Islands

Natural Feature

Contadora, Las Perlas archipelago, Panama.
© agefotostock / Alamy Stock Photo

Isla Contadora is the ultimate beach getaway from Panama City. Part of the Pearl Islands, an archipelago off the Pacific Coast made up of beautiful islands, Contadora is a stunning blend of raw nature and sophistication, with desert white beaches, pelicans and beautiful exclusive villas.

7. Playa Estrella, Bocas del Toro

Natural Feature

Located on a remote side of Isla Colón in Bocas del Toro is Playa Estrella (or Starfish Beach), one of the most beautiful beaches in Panama. Shaped like a bay, Playa Estrella has placid waters with a constellation of starfish laying in the turquoise background of the sea. With palm trees providing plenty of shade and piña coladas within easy reach, this is one of the ultimate paradise beaches.

8. Isla Grande, Province of Colón

Archaeological site

Only a short boat ride away from the coast of Portobelo, Isla Grande is a little gem in the Caribbean and a great weekend getaway from Panama City. Boasting a colourful village made up of wooden houses on stilts, small fishermen’s restaurants and transparent waters, Isla Grande also has an amazing beach that blends with thick and wild vegetation, and a rocky side providing great point breaks for surfers.

Planning a trip to Panama? Read our guide on things tourist should never do in the country.

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