No matter the Sport you practice, Panama’s geography is made to make you enjoy it to the fullest
Panama is a country with tremendous amounts of nature and places to practice outdoor activities. Most sports are practiced here in Panama by locals, although tourists come in search of the ones that offer world renowned experiences in surf, sport fishing, golf and cycling. Here is a guide for all those passionate about these activities.
Surrounded by more than 2,400 km. of coastline, Panama is the perfect place to surf. Panama has a lot of big waves. The breakwater options are diverse, there are for every type of surfers, from beginners to professionals. Whether you’re looking for something to warm up or something big, in Panama you will find “the right wave”.
Along the Pacific coast of Panama, from April to June usually one-day sea winds and constant waves are seen from the southwest. This is one of the most popular times for surfing in Panama; The Pacific coast, however, also has considerable waves in July and August. During this time of the year the swells of the southwest are large and constant, sometimes with double or triple force on the breakwaters.
- Santa Catalina: Located in the province of Veraguas, for many it is the best and most reliable surfing site along the Pacific coast of Panama. At the Punta, the waves can reach 6-9 mts. This is a breaker of strong and large waves that break both right and left.
- Venao Beach: Located on the Azuero Peninsula, it has long been one of Panamanian surfers’ favorites. Until a few years ago, there was only a small restaurant and a large open beach. However, as more travelers explore southern Azuero, Playa Venao is emerging as one of the most notable surf spots in Panama.
- Cambutal Beach: Also on the Azuero Peninsula, it is located south. Adventurous surfers are those who travel there. The long stretch of the coast has both resting points and breakwaters. It tends to receive most of the waves, including those from the north, south and west, usually of decent size sometimes with up to 4.5 – 6 mts. The waves are and form barrels.
- El Palmar: This central Pacific beach is a Panamanian classic, suitable for all levels of surfing. It is not crowded, but usually you see a constant group of surfers, especially Panamanians.
- Paunch Beach: This is one of the best known surfing destinations in Isla Colon, Bocas del Toro Archipelago. Located next to the east coast of the island, its waves break from right and left. It has great waves perfect for all levels including beginners.
- Bluff Beach: This is an extensive and beautiful beach at the end of Isla Colon, in the Bocas del Toro Archipelago. It is a beach of powerful waves and high speed. For this reason, it is mainly for experienced surfers.
- Silverbacks: Located on Isla Bastimentos Bocas del Toro, it has one of the most famous surf waves in Bocas. It is also, the largest, often compared to Hawaiian waves such as Backdoor and Sunset.
Panama has some of the best destinations for fishing places in the world, and with good reason, since all kinds of world records have been broken. The Panamanian isthmus has 2,988 km. of coastline full of great marine fauna, finding a place to fish is no problem.
- Pacific Coast
These parts offer some of the most action-packed places for fishing in the world. The waters that surround islands such as Coiba, Jicaron, Montuosa, Isla Secas and Las Perlas, are well known for the presence of fish such as wahoo, horse mackerel or GT, snappers, the dorado known as mahi mahi in Hawaii and other species. Many areas offer pelagic fish very close to shore like Pedasi.
At Piñas Bay, Darien, more fishing records have been broken than anywhere else on the planet, according to the International Sport Fishing Association. In this magnificent place the only accommodation is Piñas Tropic Star Lodge.
The seas that surround the island of Coiba are home to several species coveted in sport fishing such as yellowfin tuna, guajus, dolphin-dorados, caranidae and parrots.
- Atlantic Coast
The abundance of coral reefs and its clean waters make San Blas an excellent area for fishing. Beyond reefs, various species of deep-sea fish breed, while coastal species stalk prey at river mouths and hide on coral reefs. The bounty of the sea provides fish such as snapper, mackerel, and snook. Fishing in the San Blas Islands is as easy as casting a line in the water.
The Bocas del Toro Province is known for its small waves (2−3 feet), and colorful tropical reefs. The archipelago is a reference for fishing sailfish, yellowfin tuna and red snapper between the months of March and April. The depth of the fishing area is normally 60 to 200 feet deep and only 1 or 2 miles off the coast of Isla Colon. The depth of the water reaches 2,000 feet at 3 miles and 5,000 feet at just 9 miles from the coast in some areas of Bocas del Toro. This makes it possible to have an impressive amount of fish at your disposal.
Panama has two courses designed by “Nicklaus Designs”, one at Santa Maria Golf Club with 18 holes on 284 hectares within Panama City. The second is the sensation of the Pacific located on Buenaventura Beach, at the “Buenaventura Golf & Beach Resort Panama, Autograph Collection”, and is on par with the best courses in the United States.
The Summit Golf Club, has an 18-hole course surrounded by tropical forest with panoramic views, and is only 30 minutes from the center of the Panamanian capital.
If you are looking for a golf course next to the Panama Canal, you find Tucan Country Club & Resort, which has a field and first-class service that will make your experience the best. This golf course is operated with a luxury residential center.
To play golf lose to the beach and mountains at the same time, you can visit the Vista Mar Golf Course located on the Pacific Riviera, which was designed by award-winning architect J. Michael Poellot. In the Pacific coast you find the Mantarraya Golf Club by Royal Decameron, a golf classic on the beach for years. It has 18 holes, a practice area, and even a 3-hole section with lighting to play even if the sun has already set.
To close with style, at Valle Escondido there is a nine-hole course that is played through a coffee plantation. Being located in Boquete, Highlands, Chiriqui, the field remains green and with a cool climate all year round.
It is a sporting activity practiced by both Panamanians and foreigners who come to visit. In Panama City, as in other urban sectors of the country, in recent years there have been invested in the creation of bicycle lanes to practice this sport safely. The most important is on the Cinta Costera with miles of views of the skyscrapers facing the Bay of Panama. Likewise, the Amador “Causeway” has bicycle lanes with views of the city’s “skyline” and made the entrance to the Panama Canal in the Pacific, a privileged “cycle tour”.