Panama is known more for its canal that bridges the Pacifc Ocean with the Atlantic Ocean, making shipping much more efficient. But what many people don’t know is that Panama is another surfing destination in Central America with plenty of high quality uncrowded waves. The biggest drawback to surfing in Panama is that the waves are more fickle than other Central American countries and it does go flat with huge tidal swings that make it difficult to find waves on a dropping tide.
There are essentially three surf zones in Panama worth noting, two are on the Pacific side (Santa Catalina and Azuero Peninsula), and one on the Caribbean side (Bocas Del Toro), but by no means is this all the areas with waves.
The Azuero Peninsula juts out into the Pacific Ocean midway down the Isthmus of Panama and is a magnet for southern swells. The Azuero is home to uncrowded waves and vehicle eating roads. On the Azuero, Pedasi has some of the best surf in the area with about a dozen or so breaks between it and Cambutal.
The beaches in Cambutal are good for surfing and there is a variety of waves nearby, but driving is a nightmare. The roads are usually washed out, but being difficult to get to is the reason its so uncrowded. Cambutal is an place for surfers looking for uncrowded waves and a remote surf adventure. Cambutal has just one hotel and no other services for miles.
Santa Catalina is an area that has become a very popular destination for surf travel due in part to it proximity to several world-class waves like Punta Brava, Cebaco and Santa Catalina are standouts. There are a few surf camps that have started popping up in Santa Catalina that boat guests to some of the spots nearby. The surf in Santa Catalina gets crowded, but what do you expect with world-class waves surrounded by surf camps?
Bocas del Toro
Bocas del Toro is an island archipelago on the Caribbean side of Panama that has a variety of surf and several spots that are world-class waves. One of the best things about the Caribbean side is that the tides don’t fluctuate much and can be surfed at high and low tide without much difference. Isla Colon is the main island and where Bocas Town is located, but not much in the way of surf. Bastimentos Island has the best surf and ‘Silver Back’ is the best wave in the area.
If you would like more information or help planning your next surf trip to Panama, then send us an email, or call our toll-free number 1-888-958-7873 now.