Lives in Nemocon, Colombia
Since Feb 2012
25-34 year old female
Industrial Designer · Foodie · Traveller
This, for me, is a highlight of Panama. You cannot leave without going to San Blas because it is a paradise with truly stunning beaches. San Blas is an archipelago located in the Caribbean Sea, with more than 300 islands that are part of the territory of the Kuna-Yala indigenous people. It is about three hours from the city, but you can talk to someone in the community and they will point you in the right direction to reach the main port. It is a place worth staying two or three days, so you can enjoy the peace and tranquility that you get when you're outside the city and surrounded by the sea.
Nueva Gorgona is the beach closest to Panama City, just one hour away on the Pacific coast. Although may not be the prettiest, it is a good choice when you want to plan a beach day but you don't want to go far. It is also visited by surfers due to its good waves and great sunsets. The beach is quite large and has many access points and public areas to relax in, but if you prefer, there are also hotels with restaurants, swimming pools, and other services.
I would say that this beach optimizes beauty and proximity, only two hours away and easily reached. Located on the Pacific coast, it is a white sandy beach with calm water. It is public, but there are areas that are managed by small hotels or restaurants that maintain the beach in good condition and offer different kinds of services: food, bathrooms, and small huts with hammocks where you can spend the day.
Relatively near to Santa Clara is Farallon beach, which shares features with some of the closer beaches, but differs because of its proximity to high-ranking hotels, apartments, and condominiums, such as the Decameron and Playa Blanca. This beach is visited equally by tourists and locals, who love to walk along the beach and have a day of ‘sun, sand, and sea.'
Punta Chame is recognized for its windsurfing. In this bay, an hour and a half from Panama City, you will find a park called Nitro City, the franchise of a place especially created for lovers of extreme water sports and adventure. It's perfect for kite boarding, fishing, and scuba diving, as well as yoga and fitness.
Located in the Caribbean Sea, Isla Grande is two hours from Panama City, near the historic town of Portobelo. You can reach the small port Guaira by bus or car, and from there a take boat for no more than five minutes. Isla Grande also has a wide range of hotels and restaurants to make for a nice, relaxing day.
Just 30 minutes by boat from a port located in the Amador Causeway is Taboga Island, an island home to many stories of Panama's colonization. It is quite close to the city and has good beaches, white sand, and different offerings for tourists and locals who want to spend the day. I recommend walking around the island and visiting some of the streets, where you'll come across pieces of the island's history.
Contadora is known in history as the place where the Spanish completed their inventory before returning to their lands, thus the name 'Contador.' It is part of the archipelago Las Perlas, and it is a really wonderful place, recognized as a luxury destination, especially for couples. There is a wide range of watersports, including snorkeling, diving, tours on the beaches, and walks through the interior of the island.
Bocas del Toro is iconic tourist spot in Panama, so while it isn't near the capital, you may want to include it in your trip. On the main island of Isla Colon, you can find all kinds of lodging, restaurants, and even some markets. There are also other islands within the archipelago that you can visit, with beautiful beaches, natural paths, and other attractions.
Red Frog Beach is one of the islands of the Bocas del Toro archipelago. It is a tourist attraction and especially popular with surfers looking to catch the best waves. A large part of the island consists of nature trails, and you must walk along the trail for about 15 minutes to reach the beach. Sometimes people find the famous small red frogs here, which is how the island got its name.