Surfing in Panama is one of the most exciting and popular outdoor activities for locals and visitors alike. The country is home to some of the best waves in Central America, making it a surfing paradise for wave chasers from around the world. Though it may not be big on the global surfing map, Panama is gaining traction amongst surfers in the region, and in the Americas at large. More and more people who relocate to Panama or visit Panama choose surfing as a sport or hobby, and many even come to Panama just to surf. In this blog post, we will take a closer look at the history of surfing in Panama, some of the best surf spots, and weekend getaways for surfing.
The History of Surfing in Panama
Surfing in Panama dates back to the 1960s when a group of American expats introduced the sport to the country. Since then, surfing has become an important part of the country’s culture, with several professional surfers representing Panama on the international stage. Panama is blessed with some of the best surf spots in Central America, with waves for all levels of surfers. Because of its geography, surfing in Panama has a unique flavor – the warm waters off its coasts are home to some of the most consistent waves in the region.
Here are some of the best surf spots in Panama:
Santa Catalina is one of the most famous surf spots in Panama, known for its consistent waves all year round. The beach is located on the Pacific coast and is a favorite among advanced surfers, with waves that can reach up to 12 feet. Santa Catalina has great beaches, and the nearby town has plenty of restaurants, shops, and accommodations for surfers. The best time to visit Santa Catalina is between December and March when the waves are most consistent.
Playa Venao is another popular surf spot on the Pacific coast, known for its long and consistent waves. The beach is suitable for all levels of surfers, with gentle waves for beginners and challenging waves for advanced surfers. Playa Venao is also home to several surf schools and camps, making it a great place to learn how to surf. This area is perfect for locals and expats who want to take a weekend getaway for surfing and don’t mind the longer drive from Panama City to get there.
Bocas del Toro
Bocas del Toro is a group of islands located on the Caribbean coast of Panama, and is known for its crystal-clear water and world-class waves. The islands are home to several surf breaks, including Silverbacks and Bluff Beach, which offer some of the best waves in the country. The best time to surf in Bocas del Toro is from December to March when the waves are at their best. Bocas is also known for its laid-back atmosphere and nightlife, making it a great place to spend the weekend with friends.
In addition to the great surf spots, Panama also has several weekend getaways that are perfect for surfing. Here are some of the best weekend getaways for surfing in Panama:
Pedasi is a small fishing village located on the Azuero Peninsula, on the Pacific coast of Panama. The village is home to several surf spots, including Playa Venao and El Cirial, which offer some of the best waves in the country. In addition to surfing, Pedasi is also known for its beautiful beaches and rich cultural heritage. Pedasi is close to Playa Venao, so it’s a great place to make as “home base”, if you will for a week or weekend of surfing in Panama at various surf spots.
If you love surfing in Panama already, you may not have considered Contadora Island yet, but you should. It’s also the perfect place for a weekend getaway with family and friends even if you don’t surf. Contadora Island is located in the Pearl Islands archipelago, off the Pacific coast of Panama. The island is known for its crystal-clear water and beautiful beaches and is also a popular surf spot. The waves in Contadora Island are suitable for all levels of surfers, with gentle waves for beginners and challenging waves for advanced surfers.
Chiriqui is a province located in western Panama, known for its mountainous terrain and beautiful beaches. The province is home to several surf spots, including Playa Morrillo and Playa La Barqueta, which offer some of the best waves in the country. Chiriqui is also known for its natural beauty, with several national parks and reserves that offer hiking, bird watching, and other outdoor activities.
Surfing in Panama is a great way to experience the country’s beautiful beaches and rich cultural heritage. With world-class waves and several weekend getaways, Panama is a surfing paradise for wave chasers from around the world. To learn more about surfing in Panama, visit the local surf shops or ask around at your hotel for more tips and advice. You can also contact us here online with any questions you may have, and we’d be happy to help however we can.