Miami of the South
Though Panama City is found on the Pacific Coast, it is not known for great area beaches. If you are hanging out in Panama City and want to escape to a sandy stretch for a day or two, nearby Taboga Island is an ideal choice. It’s a very tranquil island, where relaxation is induced the minute you get off the ferry or airplane. The white sand beaches here are nice, and you can find a few Taboga hotels that will have you right by the sea. Taboga Island is also great for hiking, and it figures prominently in Panama history. Those heading on to other Panama beaches might just consider visiting Taboga Island for its historic value, saving yourself for the better beaches found elsewhere.
- Other Panama beaches found near the capital are Farallon and Santa Clara. They are quite picturesque, and the calm water is great for swimming. As a side note, the beaches in Panama are known to have powerful riptides, so it’s always a good idea to keep that in mind. At Farallon, the Decameron Resort is just one of the Panama beach hotels that you might consider staying at. You’ll find beaches closer to Panama City, but they tend to be dirtier and lacking in sand quality.
If you were pick the best Panama beach scene, the San Blas Islands are a worthy candidate. Found in the autonomous and northeastern Comarca de Kuna Yala Province, the San Blas Islands number in the hundreds, and most are uninhabited. While you’ll find some of the more rustic Panama beach hotels here, it’s worth roughing it a bit to enjoy this slice of paradise. These are the kinds of beaches that you see on the covers of travel magazines, and palm trees are certainly in big supply. The coral reefs found just offshore many a San Blas Island are great for scuba diving and snorkelling, and should you want to get away from the world, you can hang out at an isolated beach on one of the many uninhabited islands. The Kuna Indians, who control this region, are a culturally-rich society that is among the more interesting in all the Caribbean.
- On the north-western Panama coast, the Bocas del Toro archipelago is another top Panama beach destination. Isla Colon is the main hub for travellers exploring these island beaches in Panama, and you can always head out to one of the Panama beach hotels found on nearby islands. Snorkelling and scuba diving are again excellent here, due to the coral reefs and abundance of colourful fish. Red Frog Beach and Playa Larga are just two of the great Bocas del Toro beaches, and they can be found at the stunningly beautiful Isla Bastimentos National Park. There are a healthy amount of Panama travel packages that include either a stay on the San Blas Islands, or one on the Bocas del Toro islands. Back on the Pacific side, the Pearl Islands are starting to receive mention as an up and coming Panama beach