Published On: November 21st, 2023Categories: TravelTags: ,

The 10 Best Beaches in Panama

The 10 Best Beaches in Panama

Panama, located in Central America, is a favorite of American retirees, adventurers, and remote workers. That’s partly because it’s blessed with an incredible variety of beautiful beaches. Its unusual isthmus shape mean that you can watch the sun rise over the Pacific and set over the Caribbean! Panama City is located on the Pacific coast, so those beaches tend to be more populated, while the sandy white Caribbean beaches are less inhabited. The Caribbean beaches can also be pricier and see more of the rainy season. Here are our picks for best beaches in Panama:

1. Playa Santa Catalina

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Midway between Panama City and David, this lovely beach town is located on the Pacific coast of Panama and provides a great mix of sand, lush jungle and crystal clear waters. It offers great opportunities for surfing, swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving, kayaking, and fishing. There are also plenty of restaurants offering delicious local food and drinks.

Guide to Moving to Panama

2. Playa Las Lajas

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Also on the Pacific, Playa Las Lajas is a tranquil seven-and-a-half mile beach in the Chiriquí province. Surfing, scuba diving, and sailing are popular.

Guide to Moving to Panama

3. Bocas del Toro

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This beach town is located on the Caribbean side of Panama and is known for its spectacular beaches, lush rainforest, and colorful mix of cultures. This destination also offers great surfing opportunities, incredible snorkeling spots as well as plenty of bars and restaurants to explore. It’s lively and popular for partying, but you can also see lots of nature like starfish and sloths.

Guide to Moving to Panama

4. Playa Venao

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Located on the Azuero Peninsula on the Pacific Coast of Panama, Playa Venao is an increasingly popular beach destination. The area is renowned for its spectacular coral reefs, diverse food scene, and great year-round waves for surfing. There are plenty of restaurants and bars to explore along the beachfront, as well as boutique hotels and surf lodges. If you’re turned off by the rainy season in Panama, Playa Venao is considered one of the dryest locations, popular with digital nomads and working expats. It’s adjacent to a national park with a sea turtle refuge.

Guide to Moving to Panama

5. Isla Grande

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A short trip from Panama City by boat and car, this island off of Panama’s Caribbean coast offers some of the most beautiful beaches in the country. It is home to some stunning coral reefs, as well as great opportunities for swimming, snorkeling, and fishing. The former WW2 U.S. military base also boasts a vibrant nightlife with bars and restaurants with delectable Afro-Caribbean cuisine.

Guide to Moving to Panama

6. San Blas Islands

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The San Blas Islands are an archipelago of several hundred islands located off the Caribbean coast of Panama. They’re known for their white sand beaches and crystal clear waters. Most of the islands are uninhabited, while others are populated by the Kunas, who protect the islands from mass tourism. In addition to swimming and snorkeling, bird watching and fishing are popular.

Guide to Moving to Panama

7. Playa Coronado

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Coronado is a popular beach destination for retirees because of its lifestyle and proximity to Panama City for international travel and world-class healthcare. The area is known for white sand beaches alongside modern amenities, shopping, activities like tennis, fishing, horseback riding, and golf, and plenty of restaurants, bars, and accommodation options. Immigrating families appreciate the infrastructure and multiple International Schools. It’s also in the dryer region of the country.

Guide to Moving to Panama

8. Playa Blanca 1

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It’s confusing, but there are TWO visit-worthy beaches called Playa Blanca — one on the Pacific and one on the Caribbean (plus a THIRD on Taboguilla Island, but we’ll stick to two). On the Caribbean side near Colón, Playa Blanca is an unspoiled cove that’s perfect for snorkeling…

Guide to Moving to Panama

9. Playa Blanca 2

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…while on the Pacific side, it’s an upscale beach destination with high-end resorts just off the Pan-American Highway.

Guide to Moving to Panama

10. Playa Bonita

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Last, but certainly not least, Playa Bonita is an exceptional beach located on the Pacific coast of Panama. It’s the closest beach to Panama City and also right next to the airport, so it’s easy to fly in for a beach vacation. Resorts and restaurants abound and homes and condos are available to rent or buy.

This is really just scratching the surface of this gorgeous, bio-diverse country that’s got every water option you can think of and some you probably can’t — oceans, gulfs, bays, inlets, coves, rivers, lakes, lagoons, and of course, the canal! There are beaches where you can escape for an afternoon and ones where you could disappear for days without seeing a soul. Beaches where you can buy a home or build, and ones you can only boat by. But if the coastal life feeds your soul, you will absolutely feast on Panama.

Guide to Moving to Panama

2023 Guide to Panama Residency Visas Including the Pensionado for Retirees!

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For those looking to make Panama their new permanent home, the government offers a huge variety of residency visas. I would venture to say it’s almost TOO many, but I guess it’s always good to have options. Applying for residency in Panama isn’t a DIY process — you must use Panamanian immigration attorneys to apply. Use the guide below as a starting point to see what visas might appeal to you.

Guide to Panama Visas

Expat Guide: How to Get Healthcare in Panama

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Panama is considered one of the best places in Latin America, which is especially impressive given its small population of 4.5 million. Johns Hopkins Medicine, considered the gold standard of care in the U.S, even operates in Panama City. Many providers speak English, which can offer comfort as you work on your Spanish, and doctors and nurses are considered to be especially compassionate.

➤ Panama Healthcare Report

10 Countries Where You Can Retire With $2,000/Month (One Will Make You Say Ooh La La!)

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Are you looking forward to retirement? Do you imagine peaceful days spent socializing with family and friends, pursuing hobbies, and catching up on things you put off during a long career with limited time off?

While we all long for those days, you may look at your bank account and bills and wonder if they’ll ever come. If retiring in the U.S. feels unattainable, there are options for moving abroad that may be within your budget.

10 Countries Where You Can Retire With $2,000/Month

Jen Barnett Expatsi
Co-founder at Expatsi | Website | + posts

Jen is the co-founder of Expatsi, a company that helps Americans move abroad. She created the Expatsi Test, an assessment that recommends countries for aspiring emigrants based on lifestyle data. Jen has an MBA from Emory University with concentrations in marketing and innovation. She's written for BusinessWeek, Health, Cooking Light, and Southern Living. Prior to Expatsi, she created Freshfully and Bottle & Bone—two businesses in the local food space—and spoke at TEDx on being brave. She's moving to Mexico in 2024, along with her husband and co-founder Brett, pitbull mix Squiggy, and three rotten cats. How can she help you move abroad?

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Jen Barnett Expatsi
Co-founder at Expatsi | Website | + posts

Jen is the co-founder of Expatsi, a company that helps Americans move abroad. She created the Expatsi Test, an assessment that recommends countries for aspiring emigrants based on lifestyle data. Jen has an MBA from Emory University with concentrations in marketing and innovation. She's written for BusinessWeek, Health, Cooking Light, and Southern Living. Prior to Expatsi, she created Freshfully and Bottle & Bone—two businesses in the local food space—and spoke at TEDx on being brave. She's moving to Mexico in 2024, along with her husband and co-founder Brett, pitbull mix Squiggy, and three rotten cats. How can she help you move abroad?