Beaches in Panama are varied and plentiful, as the country boasts hundreds of islands from the most touristy to completely remote and untouched, in addition to the almost 3000 km (1800 mi) of coast. Some beaches are best for diving, others for surfing; some are pleasant for a quick trip from Panama City, others merit a week of exploration and island hopping. Find the right beach for your honeymoon or for your family and children.
Quality and quantity can sometimes go hand in hand, and such is the case with the stunning San Blas. With one island for every day of the year (and more) along with two hundred miles of coral reefs, the San Blas archipelago is a paradise of white sand beaches and transparent waters. The archipelago is also home to the legendary Kuna indians who welcome visitors who are fascinated by their refreshing culture and traditions. Snorkel, dive and sail on the popular islands of Nargana, Corazón de Jesús, Wichuwala, Nalunanega, Ailigandi and Iskardup, or find an island of your own, as only 10% of the islands are inhabited.
Santa Clara is located in the province of Coclé, just over an hour west of Panama City right off the Pan-American Highway, which makes it an ideal getaway for people who live in the city. Santa Clara is known for its clean, pale-grey sand, and views of Farallón island across the rich blue waters. With the popularity of the other surrounding beaches, Santa Clara has not been exploited by tourism and remains well-preserved with little traffic from foreigners. The small town of Santa Clara, located nearby, is home to a small community of artisanal fishermen, who leave early every morning to find their catch of the day. The town also offers comfortable lodgings for tourists.
Isla Coiba National Park
Located in the Gulf of Chiriqui, Coiba National Park is formed by 38 islands, covering a total of 430,000+ acres. Most of the islands have remained untouched by humans, even if at one point Isla Coiba was used as a penitentiary center. Because of its practically virgin terrains, Coiba features gorgeous beaches surrounded by lush vegetation. The Bahia Damas Reef on the east side of Isla Coiba is also a must see.
The Pearl Islands
Located in the Gulf of Panama, the Pearl Islands are a group of over 100 islands, some of which still remain uninhabited. Because of the large amount of islands, some still remain uninhabited, making them the perfect place to find virgin beaches and seeing nature at its most unaltered state. The white-sand beaches and clear waters make the archipelago a perfect spot for scuba diving, snorkeling and other water activities. Contadora Island – the largest of the Pearls – offers luxurious accommodations.
Isla Bastimentos National Park
This national park covers 32,000 acres of forest and sea and boasts some of the most stunning natural landmarks in Panama. Besides its numerous variety of animal and plant species, the park also has some of the best beaches in the country. Red Frog Beach (named after the famous amphibian who lives in it) is a white-sand beach with crystal clear waters, while the beaches at Isla Bastimentos are extremely popular for being the hatching place of various sea turtle species.