Searching for :
Close menu
  1. Home
  2. Blog
  3. Catching Waves in Panama: A Surfer’s Guide to the Best Spots

Catching Waves in Panama: A Surfer’s Guide to the Best Spots

Dec 16, 2023

Nestled between the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean, Panama emerges as a hidden gem for surf enthusiasts seeking the perfect wave. With its diverse coastline and rich maritime culture, this Central American paradise offers an exhilarating blend of warm waters, pristine beaches, and world-class surf Panama breaks to travel. One of the country’s best-kept secrets lies along the sun-kissed shores of the Azuero Peninsula, where surfers can discover lesser-known yet equally captivating gems. This southern sanctuary sets the stage for a unique surfing experience, with its uncrowded breaks and the laid-back charm of local fishing villages.

Surfing in Panama: An Overview

As we travel through Panama’s surfing scene, from the undiscovered waves of Azuero to the legendary breaks of Bocas del Toro, this guide unravels the secrets of each region’s most captivating surf spots. Join us as we talk through an immersive and fulfilling surfing experience in the captivating waters of Panama surf spots, where each wave tells a bit of the story of the country’s rich surfing tapestry.

Best Surf Spots in Panama


Location: Azuero Peninsula
Known for its consistent and powerful waves, Cambutal is favored by experienced surfers. The rocky coastline produces both left and right-hand breaks, creating an exciting challenge for those seeking adrenaline-pumping rides.

Bocas Del Toro

Location: Caribbean Coast
This archipelago boasts several surf spots, including Wizard Beach and Bluff. Bocas del Toro caters to surfers seeking a tropical paradise with diverse waves, ranging from mellow beach breaks to short powerful reef breaks.

Santa Catalina

Location: Pacific Coast
Renowned for its consistent and powerful waves, Santa Catalina attracts experienced surfers looking for a challenging ride. The main break, “La Punta,” offers world-class left-hand waves. Beginners can find suitable waves closer to Playa Estero.

Playa Venao

Location: Azuero Peninsula
Ideal for surfers of all levels, Playa Venao provides a consistent beach break with both left and right-hand waves. The beach’s relaxed atmosphere and surf schools make it a perfect spot for beginners.


Location: Azuero Peninsula
Known for its charming town and beautiful beaches, Pedasi offers a range of surf spots suitable for different skill levels. The beaches feature various breaks, including beach breaks and reef breaks.


Location: Azuero Peninsula
This remote and pristine beach is known for its powerful and challenging waves. Morrillo attracts experienced surfers looking for a less crowded and adventurous surfing experience.

Punta Chame

Location: Pacific Coast near Panama City
Close to the capital, Punta Chame offers a mix of beach and reef breaks. The long sandy beach is suitable for all skill levels, with smaller waves near the shore and larger breaks further out.

Morro Negrito

Location: Chiriquí Gulf
Accessible by boat, Morro Negrito offers a secluded surfing experience. The reef breaks here provide powerful and hollow waves, attracting experienced surfers willing to venture off the beaten path.


Location: Playa Malibu, Gorgona
Known for its long, mellow waves, Malibu is suitable for longboarding and beginner surfers. The consistent and gentle breaks make it an ideal spot for honing skills and enjoying a relaxed surfing session.

Playa El Palmar

Location: Pacific Coast near San Carlos
El Palmar is a versatile beach break suitable for surfers of various skill levels. With consistent waves and a laid-back atmosphere, it’s an excellent spot for both beginners and intermediate surfers.

Surfing Tips and Advice

Embarking on a surf Panama adventure promises an unforgettable experience, blending tropical landscapes with thrilling waves. Whether you’re a seasoned surfer or a beginner, these practical tips will enhance your journey through the best surf in Panama.

Best Time to Visit

Plan your travel for your surf Panama trip during the dry season, which typically runs from December to April. During this period, the Pacific and Caribbean coasts enjoy more consistent swell and favorable weather conditions, offering optimal surfing conditions.

Essential Gear for Surfing in Panama

Bring lightweight and breathable surf attire suitable for warm tropical climates. Don’t forget a reliable sunscreen with high SPF, a rash guard for protection, and a sturdy pair of reef booties for rocky surf breaks. It’s also advisable to bring your own surfboard, but rentals are available at popular surf destinations.

Local Customs and Etiquette

Embrace the friendly and laid-back culture of the Panama surfer by respecting local customs and etiquette. Greet locals with a friendly “Hola” and be courteous in and out of the water. Respect other surfers in the lineup, adhere to the lineup rules, and maintain a positive and friendly attitude.

Know the Breaks

Familiarize yourself with the characteristics of the surf spots in Panama. Some breaks are ideal for beginners, while others are more suitable for experienced surfers seeking challenging rides. Researching the conditions of the surf spots will enhance your overall experience.

Safety First

Prioritize safety by checking surf conditions, tides, and weather forecasts before heading out. Be aware of rip currents, rocks, and potential hazards in the water. Consider taking a surf lesson if you’re a beginner.

Explore Beyond Crowded Spots

Consider exploring lesser-known spots like Punta Burica or Playa Morrillo for a more secluded and intimate surfing experience.

Local Cuisine and Hydration

Stay energized with local cuisine and stay hydrated in the tropical climate. Enjoy Panamanian specialties like ceviche and plantains. Carry a reusable water bottle and replenish fluids regularly, especially after long surf sessions.

Learn Basic Spanish Phrases

Enhance your travel experience by learning a few basic Spanish phrases. While many locals in tourist areas may speak English, making an effort to communicate in the local language can enrich your interactions and experiences.

Respect the Environment

Contribute to the preservation of Panama’s pristine beaches and marine life. Dispose of trash responsibly, avoid disturbing wildlife, and support eco-friendly initiatives in the surf communities you visit.

Connect with the Surf Community

Immerse yourself in Panama’s vibrant surf culture by connecting with the local surf community. Attend surf events, join surf clubs, and engage with fellow surfers to share experiences and discover hidden gems.

Surfing Accommodations and Experiences

Sansara Surf and Yoga Resort (Cambutal):

Located in the serene Cambutal region, Sansara offers a beachfront oasis for surfers seeking a perfect blend of luxury and tranquility. With surf instruction, yoga sessions, and exquisite accommodations, it’s an idyllic retreat for those looking to recharge after a day of catching waves.

Selina Hostel (Bocas del Toro):

Selina Hostel in Bocas del Toro caters to the vibrant and social surf community. With budget-friendly dorms and private rooms, it’s perfect for solo travelers or those seeking a lively atmosphere. The hostel often hosts surf events and offers rental equipment.

El Palmar Beach Lodge (San Carlos):

Nestled near the popular surf spot of Playa El Palmar, this lodge provides comfortable accommodations and easy access to the waves. With a relaxed ambiance, it’s an excellent choice for surfers looking for a laid-back retreat.

Makara Suites and Apartments (Panama City):

For surfers wanting to explore both urban and surf scenes, Makara Suites in Panama City offers modern accommodations with easy access to popular breaks like Punta Chame. The apartments provide a comfortable and stylish stay.

Barefoot Panama Surf Camp (Santa Catalina):

Immerse yourself in the surf culture of Santa Catalina with the Barefoot Panama Surf Camp. They offer surf lessons for all levels and provide a range of accommodations. The camp also organizes excursions to nearby breaks and islands for a well-rounded experience.

Surfari Bocas (Bocas del Toro):

Explore the diverse surf breaks of Bocas del Toro with Surfari Bocas. Offering surf tours, lessons, and equipment rental, this experience is perfect for surfers seeking to discover the best waves in the archipelago including Bluff beach.

Villa Marina Lodge (Pedasi):

Located in Pedasi, Villa Marina Lodge provides a tranquil escape for surfers exploring the Azuero Peninsula. The lodge offers comfortable rooms and is close to various surf spots, including Playa El Toro and Playa La Garita.

Playa Venao Hotel Resort (Playa Venao):

Situated right on the shores of Playa Venao, this Panama surf resort offers a range of accommodations, from standard rooms to beachfront suites. With surf schools nearby, it’s an excellent choice for those wanting easy access to the waves.

Panama Surf School (Santa Catalina):

Enhance your surfing skills with the Panama Surf School in Santa Catalina. Offering personalized lessons for all levels, this school provides an immersive experience for surfers looking to refine their techniques and enjoy the waves with confidence.

Sansara Resort Experiences

Sansara Surf and Yoga Resort stands as a premier destination for surfers seeking a harmonious blend of world-class waves and rejuvenating experiences. Nestled along the pristine coastline of Cambutal on the Azuero Peninsula, this resort offers an idyllic retreat surrounded by lush tropical landscapes.

Professional Instruction: Sansara provides expert surf instruction suitable for all levels, from beginners to advanced surfers. Professional instructors offer personalized guidance to help guests catch the perfect Panamanian wave.
Varied Surf Breaks: Cambutal is renowned for its diverse surf breaks, catering to surfers of different skill levels. Whether you’re looking for challenging point breaks or mellow beach breaks, Sansara ensures a variety of surfing experiences.
Surf Excursions: Explore the surrounding surf spots with guided excursions to hidden gems and iconic breaks. Sansara’s team facilitates memorable surfing adventures, allowing guests to discover the best waves in the region.

Sansara Resort Accommodations

Sansara Resort offers a luxurious and tranquil escape on the pristine shores of Cambutal in the Azuero Peninsula. Designed to harmonize with the natural beauty of its surroundings, the resort provides a range of thoughtfully curated accommodations to suit the diverse preferences of its guests.


As we bid farewell to this surf Panama journey through the sun-drenched waves of Panama, the rich tapestry of its surfing landscape unfolds—a tale woven by the meeting of the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean. From the hidden havens of the Azuero Peninsula to the renowned breaks of Bocas del Toro, Panama emerges as a travel paradise for surf enthusiasts seeking the perfect blend of warm waters, pristine beaches, and world-class surf breaks.

This guide has unveiled the secrets of each region’s captivating surf spots, offering a diverse range that caters to surfers of every skill level. Whether you’re navigating the rocky challenges of Cambutal Panama surf, basking in the tropical delights of Bocas del Toro, or immersing yourself in the laid-back surf culture of Santa Catalina, Panama’s coasts beckon with a promise of unforgettable experiences.

As you embark on travel for your surf Panama adventure, armed with practical tips and a wealth of recommendations, may each wave become a part of your story—a story woven with the laid-back charm of local villages, the thrill of powerful swells, and the vibrant culture of a country that holds its surfing secrets close to its heart. So, pack your board, soak in the surf wisdom, and venture into the captivating waters of Panama—an undiscovered gem for surfers seeking the thrill of the perfect wave.

Recent Posts