Surfing the Caribbean Coast of Panama

11/22/2014

Surf Year-Round On the Caribbean Side (Nov-Apr provides the best waves)
While surfing is a year-round sport on the Panama Caribbean, the waters are generally calm from August to October. November to April plus June and July are the months when surfers enjoy the most dependable waves.

Visitors on Panama tours to the Bocas del Toro archipelago in far western Panama will feel they've reached surfing heaven. It is an area of rustic beach towns that cater to the veteran surfing crowd as well as those who aspire to the surfing life. Here you may find food and accommodations from casual dining establishments and campsites to fancier digs located in close proximity to the picture-perfect surfing beaches.

Bocas del Toro Province is an international draw, especially for youthful visitors. The area’s six surfing areas are all located off the shores of the archipelago. The best time to enjoy the surfing experience of Bocas del Toro is from December to March. The main surfing areas have names, but other great spots don't.

Two memorable locations are on the north shore of Isla Bastimentos where surfers enjoy unpopulated, exquisite beaches. The surf at picturesque Red Frog Beach and Second Beach attract surfers of moderate ability. Silverbacks and First Beach are favorites with serious surfers, featuring the largest waves in the archipelago.

Three of the top surfing areas in Bocas del Toro are located on Isla Colon, a thirty-five minute boat trip from the mainland and an hour's flight from Panama City. Playa Bluff is for advanced surfers, a place where you'll be sharing the waves with few kindred spirits except on weekends. There are accommodations nearby and though surfing lessons are offered here, the fast-breaking waves and long tubes make it mostly a place for those with superior skills. "Dumps" offers the extra challenge of a reef and is also for advanced surfers. Though Playa Punch too has a reef, it is an area for surfers of all abilities and a favorite with beginners.
Known for its long barrels, the north side of Isla Caranero, an island in Bocas del Toro between the islands of Bastimentos and Colon, offers some of Panama's best surfing. The island has an array of accommodations and is a quick water taxi ride from the town of Bocas.

The rest of Panama’s Caribbean surfing spots are clustered along the Costa Arriba to the east of Colon, the port city at the north end of the Panama Canal. If, for some reason, your Panama tours are too short to spend time in Bocas del Toro, you will find pleasure at a number of locations here near the capital to fulfill your surfing desires. Closest to Colon is Isla Grande, a practical option for intermediate and advanced surfers. On the way to Isla Grande is Cacique, a fairly well-kept secret, and Maria Chiquita, a great place for beginners with no crowds. Another good spot is Palenque, east of Isla Grande.

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