Skip to main content

best world-class surfing beach in Panama


Did you know La Punta in Santa Catalina has some of Central America’s best waves? Many surfers say it offers a unique ride. This makes surfing in Panama very attractive. Let’s explore why this small town in the Veraguas Province is such a top surfing spot.

Panama is paradise for surfers, with numerous spots for all levels. It boasts over 1,800 miles of coastline on the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea. This provides a wide range of surfing experiences. Santa Catalina’s perfect waves, Morro Negrito’s beauty, and the islands of Bocas Del Toro are just a few gems.

At Playa El Estero, the high tide makes over a hundred meters of inviting black sand. This spot is great for both new and skilled surfers. Plus, you can rent a surfboard for just $5.

Santa Catalina is also known for trips to Coiba, a UNESCO site for its sea life. Punta Brava offers big waves over six feet high for the thrill-seekers.

It’s where you can fall in love with Isla Catalina’s white sand or its beautiful surroundings. Santa Catalina is the perfect surfing spot in Panama.

Visit to see why half the pictures of Santa Catalina are about surfing. With events like the 2023 Pan American Surfing Games, Santa Catalina is a top worldwide surfing spot.

Introduction to Surfing in Panama

In Panama, surfing is more than just hitting the waves. It means joining a lively surfing community. With spots like Playa Venao and Santa Catalina, Panama is a top choice for surfers everywhere. It sits in a special place, linking Central and South America. With beaches on the Pacific and Caribbean, it has numerous uncrowded beach, point, and reef breaks. This is unlike the busier surf spots in Costa Rica.

What makes Panama special for surfers is how inclusive it is. Places like Bocas del Toro are known for great waves but also for being beginner-friendly. Here, newbies can learn without facing big waves at first. Whether it’s the beginner’s paradise at Playa Venao or Santa Catalina’s La Punta for the more experienced, there’s something for everyone. This mix of spots welcomes people of all surfing levels.

Thanks to its dual coastlines, Panama offers surfing all year. This setup means you can find good waves any time. For new surfers, there are easy waves to start with. And for the experts, challenging waves await. The surfing scene in Panama is all about many different surfers, finding joy in the various waves. It creates a united and diverse surfing culture.

Why Santa Catalina is a Top Surfing Spot

In the Veraguas Province beaches, Santa Catalina stands out as a top spot for surfers worldwide. Known for its amazing Santa Catalina surf, it has waves surfers love. This village on the Pacific Coast is famous for its great and steady waves.

Surfers flock to “La Punta,” Santa Catalina’s famous surf beach with year-round surf. The powerful Pacific coast waves there are loved by many. Santa Catalina has even hosted big surfing events, like the 2023 Pan American Surfing Games.

But Santa Catalina is not just for surfers. It offers lots to do, like hiking with monkeys and exotic birds. Or you can try scuba diving near Coiba Island. Sport fishing is also big here.

Lago Bay is perfect for families and groups, with roomy villas for up to 10 guests. El Estero is ideal for new surfers. And visiting for over 28 days is easy in Santa Catalina.

The village is also a cultural treat. You can enjoy local and international meals, like fresh seafood or great coffee. The waves, friendly vibe, and great food make it a dream for everyone who loves the sea.

It’s easy to reach Santa Catalina. You can take a charter flight or fly to Santiago and then taxi. Or, you can enjoy an 8-hour drive from Panama City, full of beautiful sights.

Exploring lago bay santa catalina

Lago Bay Santa Catalina shines as a top spot for amazing surf. Just a 15-minute drive from Santa Catalina, it’s a mix of calm and excitement. This area has beautiful lakes, green fields, and a quiet beach. It’s perfect for all sorts of outdoor fun and finding a great place to stay.

Santa Catalina is famous for its tough surf spots, drawing surfers who love a challenge to “La Punta.” Yet, beginners can start at Playa Estero with its gentle waves. At Lago Bay Santa Catalina, you can experience thrilling waves or learn to surf in a calm sea.

Don’t miss the chance to dive and snorkel near Coiba Island, the biggest of Central America’s islands. It’s known as a top diving spot in the Pacific, with great visibility. From July to November, see humpback whales on their way elsewhere. And from December to May, meet whale sharks here. This area is a true paradise for those who love the sea.

Lago Bay is also a heaven for birdwatchers, with many tropical birds to see. The fishing here is fantastic too. Hicaco and Santa Catalina are close by and filled with all sorts of fish. It’s an amazing spot for fishing fans.

Travelers to Santa Catalina can pick from a range of places to stay at Lago Bay. From eco-friendly spots for a few people to large villas for ten, there’s something for everyone. If you’re coming from Panama City, you can even get a direct flight. It lands at Lago Bay Hotel, making the journey easy.

What makes Lago Bay Santa Catalina special is how it caters to thrill-seekers and those who want to unwind. Whether you love action-packed activities or want to explore marine life, Lago Bay is a place of discovery. It offers a memorable experience for all.

Other Surfing Destinations in Panama

Although Santa Catalina is popular, Panama has more great spots. Playa Venao on the Azuero Peninsula has waves for everyone. The waves are best from March to November, making it perfect for surf lovers.

On the Caribbean side, Bocas del Toro offers a unique surfing adventure. Places like Silverbacks have great waves for advanced surfers. There are also spots like Bluff and Paunch for all levels.

Then there’s Morro Negrito in the Gulf of Chiriqui. It’s surrounded by beautiful islands and clear waters. With consistent waves, surfers will find an amazing place to ride.

These Panama surf spots show its diversity for every surfer. Whether you love big waves or beautiful views, Panama has what you need. It’s truly a paradise for surfers.

Best Times to Surf in Panama

When is the top time to surf in Panama? Knowing this can make your surfing adventure way better. If you head out between April and October, you’ll catch the Pacific’s great waves. They’re huge and perfect for those who love a challenge.

The Caribbean’s best surfing is from December to April. Here, the waves are big too, but hit different parts like Bocas Del Toro. Panama offers both types, attracting surfers from all over.

In Panama, you can surf well all year due to the warm weather. The Pacific has big waves, and the Caribbean is just as inviting. So, whether you like it tough in the Pacific or want a change in the Caribbean, Panama is the place to be.

Additional Activities for Surfers

Once you’re done surfing in Panama, head to Santa Catalina for more fun. The Pacific Ocean is a prime spot for scuba diving and snorkeling. You can see lots of colorful marine life down there.

But there’s more to Santa Catalina than the sea. It offers beautiful hiking trails through tropical forests. You might spot some wild animals on your walk. If you prefer staying dry, a glass bottom boat tour is a great way to see the ocean’s wonders without diving in.

For those who love the outdoors, Santa Catalina has camping sites. It’s a great way to get close to nature. Panama makes sure there’s something for everyone, even beyond surfing.

Accommodation and Travel Tips

When planning our trip to Santa Catalina in Panama, look at places to stay. You can find places that cost less or some that are very fancy. In Bocas Del Toro, there are hotels and resorts that mix luxury with nature. But, if you’re on a budget, consider hostels or lodges near the beach.

If you’re considering Catalina Island, think about a private villa or eco-lodges. These places are in the island’s peaceful nature. Staying here lets us see local wildlife and beautiful coastal views.

Getting to Santa Catalina is part of the adventure. You can take public buses, but they take a long time and need changes. Private cars offer a more direct route but are a longer trip. For the best experience, consider a charter flight. Companies like Blue Skies and SkyMaxx offer flights from Albrook. It might cost more, but the convenience is great.

Looking at Lago Bay for vacation homes is a good idea. They can host small to large groups. Make your reservation well in advance, especially during the peak season. Whether it’s a quick trip or a long one, the right planning ensures your surfing journey in Panama is memorable.