A guide to THE BEST Panama surf spots

Panama is one of Central America’s top year-round surfing destinations. It is also one of the only places in the world you can surf both the Pacific and Caribbean side in one day. Both the Caribbean and Pacific coasts offer consistent swells and daylong offshore winds, depending on the season you choose to visit. 

April through August are some of the most popular months to go surfing in Panama, with sizeable waves most likely during July and August. This is due to southwest swells being consistent and large. The most accessible Panama surf spots are located along the Pacific coast and in Bocas del Toro (which is on the Caribbean side).

Let this post serve as a guide to the top Panama surf spots by province:

 

Los Santos

Playa Venao is arguably the highest quality Panama surf beach break on the Pacific side. It is also a beach town with a good food and party vibe, making it a great destination for young travellers. Although the waves may seem quite big (around 10ft year-round), they tend to be suitable for beginners and intermediates.

  • Break Type: Beach Break
  • Wave Direction: Left & right
  • Best tide: All tides
  • Surf skill: All levels
  • Best season: March to November

Guanico is a beach break with several peaks, just a thirty minute drive away from Playa Venao. This beach is exposed to any swell direction, which means the waves are usually bigger than Playa Venao.

Break Type: Beach Break

Wave Direction: Left & right

Best tide: Mid-high

Surf skill: Intermediate to Advanced

Best season: March to November

surf panama venao

 

Chiriqui

The surf spots in Chiriqui are truly unique as they offer countless views of private islands, mangroves and wildlife. Here you can surf in tropical paradise with the absence of crowds.

Morro Negrito is a private island located in the Gulf of Chiriqui. It is a famous Panama surf spot that has 5 reef breaks great for intermediate and advanced surfers, and beach breaks suitable for beginners.

  • Break Type: Reef
  • Wavedirection: Left & right
  • Best tide: All
  • Surf skill: All levels
  • Best season: April to August

There are a few other private islands in the Gulf of Chiriqui which offer unique surf experiences. For example, Selva Terra Private Island Resort has its own private island beach break suitable for beginners and intermediate. All surfboards and adventure equipment are free to use if you are staying at the resort. There are also plenty of other experiences on offer on the island, such as scuba diving, island hopping, whale watching, hiking… so this is a great place for travellers looking for an adventure getaway, with the option to surf Panama’s epic waves. 

Selva Terra also operates surf excursions via boat to more advanced breaks. Excursions include Isla Silva, Morro Negrito and La Barqueta.

Due to the surf breaks requiring a boat to access them, it is recommended you stay on one of the islands in order to access these uncrowded waves with stunning views. 

surfing panama selva terra private island

 

Veraguas

Santa Catalina, La Punta has been an increasingly popular spot for surfing in Panama as many consider it to be one of the most reliable spots along the Pacific Coast of Panamá. This is a point break with a reef seabed, where waves can reach up to 20–30 feet and break both left and right. For beginners, there is a sandy beach break close by where the waves also break either side.

Break Type: Point break

  • Wavedirection: Left & right
  • Best tide: Mid to high tide
  • Surf skill: Intermediate
  • Best season: March to October

 

Bocas del Toro

Bocas del Toro is comprised of over 300 islands and islets on the Caribbean side. Isla Colon is one of the top surf spots. Bocas Town is located in Isla Colon, and is the most frequently visited island. It is packed with a large selection of bars and restaurants, hotels, and boat excursion companies to choose from. Paunch and Bluff are some of the locals favourite Panama surf spots with long waves, Silverbacks becoming famous as the big wave surf spot.

Playa Bluff is a powerful beach break suitable for experienced surfers, located at the end of Isla Colon.

  • Break Type: Beach Break
  • Wave direction: Lefts & rights
  • Best tide: All tides
  • Surf skill: Advanced
  • Best season: January, February & July

Paunch Beach is the closest surf spot to Bocas Town and is a popular surf spot for its long waves that suit all levels of experience.

Break Type: Reef Break

  • Wave direction: Mostly left
  • Best tide: All tides
  • Surf skill: All levels
  • Best season: January, February & July

Silverbacks is a right-hander reef break. Offering a huge takeoff, for this break to work, good swell is needed and is able to hold over 20ft swell.

  • Break Type: Reef Break
  • Wave direction: Right
  • Best tide: All tides
  • Surf skill: Advanced
  • Best season: January, February & July

With Panama being one of the safest countries to travel to in Central America, its uncrowded beaches and warm waters all year around, it is no surprise that surfing in Panama has become increasingly popular among surfers worldwide. What’s better, 30% of Panama’s marine area is protected as the country is dedicated to preserving its oceans and heritage. Meaning there is a high chance to spot migrating humpback whales, several species of sharks, manta rays, sea turtles, amongst many others during your Panama surf trip. 

If you are search for uncrowded and safe beaches in Central America, a surfing in Panama should be top of your list!