8 Questions Most People Ask About Panama Beaches

One of the main reasons people visit or move to Panama is because of its many beaches. Although a small country, Panama is home to hundreds of beaches and over a thousand islands. Easy access to both the Pacific and Caribbean oceans is one of the best parts of living in Panama. However, with so many different beaches, there are a lot of questions that can come up. Here are the most frequently asked questions about Panama beaches, along with their answers.

Are there any beaches in Panama City, Panama?

There are no swimmable beaches in Panama City. Casco Viejo, the Amador Causeway and the Cinta Costera all good recreational spots with beautiful views of the bay, but are not suitable for swimming. Although there aren’t any beaches in the heart of the city, it is not difficult to get to one. Some of the most popular beach communities in the country, including Coronado, are only about an hour and a half drive away from the city. A less popular but convenient option is Veracruz, which which is only about 20-30 minutes away from the city by car. Veracruz is not the cleanest beach for swimming, but it is known for its seafood restaurants and bars. This makes it a good option to grab lunch with an ocean view by day and to party by night.

Can you swim in Panama?

Panama is filled with clean, tranquil beaches, ideal for swimming. While swimming is not possible in Panama city, there are hundreds of options available throughout the country.

Are there sharks in Panama?

Yes, there are sharks in Panama, however, sightings are very unusual and attacks are extremely rare. Only 31 incidents of attacks have been documented in over 100 years (between 1883 and 1995). Therefore, it is not an issue of concern in the country.

What beaches in Panama are better, Caribbean or Pacific?

Deciding which coast to plan your next beach trip to will vary based on different preferences. The Caribbean side is known for being warmer with is calm, turquoise waters and white sandy beaches. It is the more picturesque option of the two. In the pacific side the type of sand ranges from white to volcanic, dark black. The water varies from peaceful to daring and filled with waves, which is ideal for surfers. Most people don’t decide based solely on the beaches themselves. Amenities, culture, events and accommodations are also important factors. The Caribbean coast offers flavorful Cajun seafood and lively calypso and dance hall music as one can find in other Caribbean countries. On the Pacific coast, one usually encounters the more classic, Latino aspect of Panamanian culture. This involves traditional Panamanian flavors, an easygoing atmosphere, and reggaeton, salsa and bachata music. Regardless of which of the two you prefer, be sure to visit both coasts to fully immerse yourself in the melting pot of cultures Panama has to offer.

What kind of marine life is there in Panama?

There is rich biodiversity in Panama protected by wildlife organizations. Coiba is a popular marine reserve located in the Gulf of Chiriqui. It is a refuge for hundreds of exotic species. One can snorkel or dive in Coiba to witness the extensive marine life found in this national park. One can observe sea turtles, eels, tropical fish, and even rare frog fish, sea horses and whales.

What beaches in Panama have the best restaurants?

  • Coronado: a well-developed beach town with a large expat community. There is no lack of variety, with options ranging from affordable fast food chains to cozy grills to gourmet international cuisines.
  • Santa Clara/Farallon Area: lined with affluent resorts where one can enjoy a Panamanian buffet dinner with a show.
  • Bocas del Toro: a renowned tourist destination with diverse expat-owned eateries, including excellent seafood choices.

What is the best beach for surfing in Panama?

Venao and Palmar are 2 of the best spots for surfing in Panama. Both have strong waves and are known for their surfer communities. Venao has hosted international surfing championships and Palmar has a surf school where you can take a class or rent a board.

Can you fish in Panama?

Yes, Panama is home to a wide variety of fish and no permit is required. Favored spots for fishing include the Gatun Lake, Veraguas province, and even the bay in Panama City, where there is a popular fish market. Sports fishing tours are also offered across the country. The most common types of fish are the Marlin, Yellowfin Tuna, Snapper, and Peacock bass, to name a few. Some of these fish have such large populations that there are no legal restrictions on fishing them. An abundance of fish can be caught throughout the year, with the peak season being Panama’s summer months (December and January).

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