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Panama boasts a diverse coastline with numerous beautiful beaches on both the Pacific and Caribbean sides. These beaches provide a mix of leisure, adventure, and natural beauty, making them popular destinations for both locals and tourists.

Beaches near Panama City

The sea near Panama City has issues with pollution due to high maritime traffic, making it nearly impossible to find a good place to swim. However, several cleaner beaches are located a short distance away, offering better conditions for swimming and water activities.

  • Playa Bonita: Just outside of Panama City, 30 minutes by car from the city center, Playa Bonita offers amazing views of the Pacific Ocean and is a good escape from the city. Several posh resorts along the coast offer exclusive beach access, including the popular The Westin Playa Bonita. The beach is rocky but situated in a calm part of the Pacific Ocean with a nice view of Taboga Island.

  • Playa Veracruz: Located 30 minutes from Panama City, this beach offers various activities, including kayaking, jet skiing, and paddleboarding. Several local restaurants provide excellent seafood dishes at affordable prices, including Sunset Veracruz, Rush Veracruz, and Loco Restaurant.

  • Playa Blanca: Although farther from the city, Playa Blanca is famous for its beautiful white sands and clear waters. It's a great destination for water sports or simply relaxing on the beach.

  • Santa Clara Beach: On the Pacific Coast, Santa Clara Beach offers beautiful sand and a rustic environment. It's less commercialized than other beaches, providing a more tranquil atmosphere.

  • Isla Taboga: This island boasts tropical vegetation, beautiful beaches, and soft sands. Located 20 km from the capital, it's an ideal day trip from Panama City. Ferries are available daily from Panama City to Taboga Island, departing from the Amador Causeway, including services like Taboga Express.

  • Isla Contadora: Part of the Pearl Islands, Isla Contadora is accessible by a short flight or ferry ride from Panama City. It's known for its luxurious accommodations, beautiful beaches, and excellent snorkeling opportunities. The island offers nice restaurants like Casa Tortuga, Pimienta y Sal, and Restaurante Gerald's.

Beaches near Colón

Colón, on Panama's Caribbean coast, offers access to some beautiful beaches that are popular among both locals and tourists.

  • Playa La Angosta: A serene beach that's great for swimming and relaxing, Playa La Angosta is less crowded compared to other popular spots, offering a peaceful retreat.

  • Playa Chagres: Near the historic Fort San Lorenzo, Playa Chagres is a scenic beach surrounded by tropical forest, appealing to both beachgoers and history enthusiasts.

  • Isla Grande: Just off the coast of Colón, Isla Grande offers clear blue waters and a laid-back atmosphere. It's a favorite for snorkeling, diving, and enjoying Caribbean vibes.

  • Playa Maria Chiquita: This beach's distinctive black sand and calm waters make it a unique spot for sunbathing and swimming.

  • Playa Palenque: A bit further from the city, Playa Palenque offers a quieter experience with beautiful sands and a relaxing environment, ideal for a day trip.

Best Beaches in Panama

  • Santa Catalina: On the Pacific coast, Santa Catalina offers excellent surfing opportunities and a relaxed atmosphere. Its rugged, natural beach is ideal for those looking to escape crowded tourist spots.

  • Playa Venao: On the southwest coast of the Azuero peninsula, Playa Venao's black sand beaches and waves make it a world-class surfing destination. Other sea activities include deep-sea fishing, snorkeling, diving, paddleboarding, and whale watching. Land activities include hiking, horseback riding, yoga, and visiting the weekly Pedasí market.

  • Bocas del Toro: Located on the Caribbean side, Bocas del Toro is a favorite destination among locals and visitors. It offers beautiful beaches, perfect waves, and a reflection of Afro-Caribbean culture across its three main islands: Isla Colón, Isla Carenero, and Isla Bastimentos.

  • San Blas Islands: Located in northwest Panama facing the Caribbean Sea, the San Blas Islands consist of 365 islands, most of which are inhabited by the Guna indigenous group. These paradise islands offer pristine beaches and crystal-clear waters for relaxing and snorkeling.

Sources & Footnotes

[1] The Westin Playa Bonita
[2] Playa Blanca Residences
[3] Panama Travel - Playa Veracruz
[4] Tourism Panama - Isla de Taboga
[5] TripAdvisor - Contadora Island
[6] Tourism Panama - Bocas del Toro

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