Panama is much more than a narrow isthmus that the American's sliced in two when they built the Panama Canal. Panama is a tropical paradise filled with lush and impregnable tropical rainforests and majestic beaches. It is a stunning Central American destination and one frequently overlooked.
Panama is one of those overlooked locations with some of the best beaches that are actually affordable. Some of the most idyllic beaches in Panama are off the grid and far from civilization - perfect for those wanting to get away from it all and relax.
Panama's Pacific Coast, Caribbean Coast, and Sleepy Islands
Firstly, Panama is much more than beaches, it is also a paradise for those wanting to explore tropical jungles. Panama's jungles are home to an astonishing abundance of tropical plants and animals - some of which are found nowhere else on earth. Jungles continue to cover some 40% of Panama's land.
- Capital and Largest City: Panama City
- Jungles: Cover 40% of Panama
Panama boasts over 3,000 kilometers of tropical coastline with over 1,000 islands and cays just waiting to be discovered - most of them are uninhabited.
- Islands: Panama Has Over 1,000 Islands And Cays
With Panama, one has the choice of beaches on the Caribbean Sea or in the Pacific Ocean. These two bodies of water have their own personalities, on top of that each beach is different with some calm and quiet. Some vibe while others are deserted. Some tremble with the pounding of the crashing waves of the Pacific Ocean while others are secluded and peaceful.
- Pacific Ocean: Better For Surfing, Has Larger Waves and Tides
In general, the Pacific Coast is ideal for surfing with its large breakers and long and wide beaches. The breezes on the Pacific Coast are also quite hot. The Caribbean side generally has smaller beaches with calmer waters that are better suited for swimming and relaxation.
The Pacific coast has black sand and pearl-white sand beaches that feature changing tides and humpback whales off the coast. The Pacific side beaches are also typically more accessible than the more remote beaches of the Caribbean side.
- Caribbean Sea: Generally Calmer and More Relaxed
Holidaymakers on a quest to shed their pasty white winter's skin for that of a lobster will typically prefer the palm-fringed islands on Panama's Caribbean coast. Here people can work on their tan while enjoying the Caribbean's pleasant breezes.
- Best Beaches: Are On The Secluded Islands In The Caribbean
Tip: The Panama Islands of Bocas Tel Toro (With Some Of The Best Beaches) Can Be Reached By Flights
San Blas Islands' Idyllic Beaches
Nestled offshore in the Caribbean are the San Blas Islands. These isles boast gorgeous stretches of white sand - the sort of beaches one normally sees in the photos that make the beaches look like unearthly paradise. Here the waters are turquoise while the islands are filled with palm trees.
Don't expect the same commercial resorts that one sees in so many other tropical beach resorts.
- Kuna People: The Islands are Owned By the Kuna People And One Needs Permission to Visit
One can't just go to these islands. They are owned by the Kuna people and to stay there, one will need to follow a prescribed process and reserve them. The accommodation on the islands is fairly rustic and one will enjoy three meals a day and all transportation to these islands is included.
- Accommodation: A Bit Rustic
These islands are a great option for those looking to really find an off-the-beaten-track piece of heaven and disconnect from the world.
Tip: Consider Visiting The Islands With a Private Sailboat
Another (very expensive) option is to explore the islands by way of a private sailboat. These trips are normally all-inclusive and are more luxurious affairs in 40 to 50-foot catamarans.
On these cruises one sails and explores the various islands along the way sleeping and dining on the catamaran. The captain will sail to the best snorkeling, kitesurfing, kayaking, and swimming spots.
Red Frog Beach
Red Frog Beach is also in the Bocas Del Toro region and is easier to reach. One can get here by boat from the town of Bocas and then by walking through the jungle for 10 minutes.
This beach is popular but not overcrowded and there are also a few restaurants serving food and drinks so one doesn't need to worry about packing a picnic - although that is also an option.
Note: There is a Fee to Walk Across the Private Land to the Beach
One can stay here and it is well worthwhile, only consider planning in advance as in the high season it can often be booked out. A cheaper accommodation for those on a tighter budget is Selina Red Frog who offers everything from bungalows to dorms.