Discover surfing secrets to escape the crowds in Panama

Welcome to Panama, hidden paradise for surfers looking to escape. Far from the crowded spots, frenetic waves and tourist hustle and bustle, isolated surf treasures are hidden here, ready to be discovered. Get ready to dive into the captivating world of Panamanian surfing secrets, for an unforgettable experience far from the crowds.

Why choose Panama for surfing?

Panama, located south of the Costa Rica and north of the Colombia, is a still little-known gem for surfing enthusiasts. This country, famous for its world-famous canal, offers fantastic surfing spots all along its Caribbean and Pacific coasts, with world-class waves all year round.

Bocas del Toro: An archipelago of opportunities

L’Bocas del Toro archipelago has quickly become a hotspot for local and international surfers. Just a two-hour drive south of the Costa Rican border, this collection of tropical islands offers a multitude of spots for all levels.

For beginners, Paunch Reef on Colón Island is a great place to start. The waves are constant and there are surf schools for all levels, with affordable accommodation like the treehouses of Nomad Tree Lodge or the budget hostel Skully’s House.

For intermediates and advanced, Bluff Beach is the place to go. This spot offers powerful waves that roll close to the beach, perfect for surfers looking for an adrenaline rush.

Santa Catalina: A well-kept treasure

If you’re looking for something more local and intimate, Santa Catalina on the Pacific coast is the place to be. This small fishing town offers a laid-back environment and some serious waves.

Playa El Estero is the must-visit beach for beginners to intermediates. With its long and regular waves, it is an excellent spot to perfect your skills.

For experienced surfers, La Punta (or “Point Break”) offers hollow and impressive waves. Be careful, however, of sharp volcanic rocks exposed at low tide.

Playa Venao: A paradise for all levels

Playa Venao, with its secluded location between the rainforest and the Pacific Ocean, is perfect for all surfers, from beginners to world champions. The crescent-shaped beach offers powerful waves, often tubular, and walls when the swell is strong.

Straights often form into stunning tubes, reaching up to seven feet high (two meters). Beginner waves are located further to the left along the beach, where the water is calmer.

How to get to surf spots

Bocas del Toro

It is increasingly easier to get to Bocas del Toro thanks to a local airport accessible from the capital, Panama City, with the company AirPanama. Be sure to take an Uber for taxi rides, as it’s often more affordable and reliable.

Santa Catalina

To reach Santa Catalina, take an early bus from the Albrook terminal to Soná or Santiago. In Soná, catch a bus to Santa Catalina before 6 p.m., otherwise you will have to spend the night en route.

Playa Venao

Playa Venao is accessible by shuttle or local transportation. Take a bus from Albrook Terminal to Las Tablas, then to Pedasí, and a taxi for the last part of the journey. This option is more economical and offers authentic charm.

Protecting Panama’s treasures

Let’s not forget that these beautiful beaches and waves belong to local communities. As visitors, let’s respect the environment and local culture, leaving the beaches and villages as beautiful as we found them.