Offering over 2,400 kilometers of coastline along the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, no wonder those who visit Panama like to spend most of their time exploring the waters. But whether you're spending time exploring the history of the Panama Canal or going snorkeling, you won't be disappointed.
Dive into a wild adventure when you explore the top surf spots in Panama.
When to Go Surfing in Panama?
The best time to surf in Panama depends on your surfing skill level and preferences. It's a country with a tropical climate, so it has two seasons.
The dry season, from December to April, offers consistent waves. It's an ideal time for surfing if you're an experienced surfer. The waves can go up to 3.6 meters!
If you're surfing from May to November, or the wet season, you can expect bigger swells and more challenging surf conditions. It's better suited for intermediate to advanced surfers. But when you visit Panama for surfing in the wet season, you can expect more frequent rain showers.
10 Top Surfing Spots in Panama
Book your ticket and get ready to hit the waves in these best surfing locations in Panama!
10. Bocas del Toro
Bocas del Toro offers some of the best surfing in Panama, making it a top destination for avid surfers. It's a group of islands off the Panamanian coast where surfers of all skill levels come to hit the waves.
The Bocas del Toro province consists of over 300 islands, and three of these islands are prime surfing spots in Panama. These islands are Carenero, Isla Colon, and Bastimentos. Isla Colon is the most populated of these islands and is a great tourist surfing destination since it's home to restaurants, bars, and various accommodation options.
Head to Paunch, Bluff, and Dumpers if you're after long waves. Paunch Beach is the most accessible and offers terrific surf breaks, and there are Dumpers for you if you're looking for consistent waves with an exposed reef break. Bluff is home to a gorgeous beach with relentless waves that are a challenging feat even for advanced surfers.
9. Morro Negrito
If you want to surf somewhere free from the crowd, head to Morro Negrito. It's a hidden gem but has the best surfing Panama could offer if you wish for different breaks. The variety makes it a suitable destination for beginners and experts alike.
Plan your surfing trip to Morro Negrito from December to April to enjoy the biggest swells. Non-surfers can enjoy snorkeling and swimming.
8. Santa Catalina
Many experienced surfers in Panama believe that Santa Catalina in the Veraguas Province offers the best surfing in Panama. Whether true or not, it's gained attention in the past decade.
The beach town has one of Central America's longest breaks. Its crystal-clear waters and rich marine life combine to make it a suitable year-round destination for surfing. But if you're after prime swells, plan your visit around March to October.
Surfers can expect up to 9 meters of waves when surfing in Santa Catalina. The waves are strong and long, so you can ride the break from left to right. But beware of the rocky bottom and wear booties during your surf.
You can also find similar-sized breaks on the nearby beaches of Punta Roca and Punta Brava.
7. Playa Morrillo
This beach is also located in the Veraguas Province of Panama. It's one of the best-kept secrets in the local surfing community.
It's a destination worth the journey because of the spectacular waves. The surf spots are also located on a hidden beach, which requires two bus rides for you to reach. The trip to this surf spot makes it an ideal destination for adventurous travelers, and you'll be rewarded with fantastic surf breaks.
Playa Morrillo also hosts many international surfing competitions!
6. Playa Venao
Playa Venao has been the go-to spot for surfers even before tourists started flocking to Panama to hit the waves! The beach features a horse-shoe shape and brown sand, and it's a great spot for long and easy rides.
While you won't find good-sized waves here, Playa Venao offers waves that break left to right. The average wave can reach 3 meters! It's a great spot for intermediate surfers or even beginners!
5. El Palmar
El Palmar is one of the most famous surf beaches in Panama. So, it deserves a spot on the list of the best surfing locations in Panama.
El Palmar has three breaks, which offer various waves and heights for every surfing skill level. Come here during medium to high tide to enjoy big swells.
If you're a beginner serious about learning to surf, you can find plenty of surf schools in El Palmar. If you have a spontaneous surfing trip, you can find many surfboard rentals here.
Cambutal is another prominent surfing spot in Panama, located in Los Santos. If you like hitting surf spots that are not crowded, it's an excellent destination for you!
Cambutal offers many things to enjoy, from surf breaks to point breaks. The extensive shoreline catches most swells, so you can expect waves of up to 6 meters!
A local surf and yoga resort is nearby if you're coming to Panama for a surfing adventure. It's a great choice if you want to sharpen your surfing skills for a few days in Cambutal.
3. Chame Banks
If you're staying in Panama City, Chame Banks is your perfect destination. You can get consistent swells on this surf spot in the windy season, and the offshore winds can transform the slightest swell into a decent-sized wave.
But the best part about Chame Banks is that the wave conditions vary depending on the season. So, it's perfect for all skill levels. Even beginners will have fun with its forgiving waves and breaks. The waves can reach a maximum height of 2.4 meters.
2. Playa Malibu
Playa Malibu is a reliable surf spot on the central Pacific Coast if you're looking for a thrilling adventure. It features fast waves and big tubes, so you won't find a many beginners at this site.
But for those who choose to surf at this spot, it's less crowded due to the isolated location. You can also surf this spot, regardless of the tide conditions. The best time to visit this site for surfing is from March to October.
Rounding up the list of the best sites for surfing in Panama is Silverbacks! It's located along the Pacific Coast and boasts powerful and fast waves. The waves come from beneath the waters and emerge in giant barrels. You can expect waves to be up to 6 meters! It's a popular spot for advanced surfers.
The accessibility of the Silverbacks surf site makes it quite popular. Its proximity to Bocas Town also adds to its popularity.
Experience the Thrill of Panama with Pilot!
Surfing in Panama is a bucket list item for surfing enthusiasts. With its warm tropical climate and amazing waves, you'll want to book a surfing holiday in Panama. Now that you know the best places to go surfing in Panama, you can start to craft your ideal travel experience for you, your family, and your friends.