The diversity that is Panama extends to its picture-perfect beaches. Bordering the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean, along the 2857 kilometers (1,786 miles) of coastline, are myriads of lagoons, bays and countless islands from which to choose. Whatever your preference – there is a beach for you! From smart resorts to “Robinson Crusoe” islands where the only footprints will be your own; from calm palm-fringed bays to surfers’ paradise; coral islands and atolls where indigenous people sustain a very different culture; beaches bordered by lush mangroves or hidden beaches where the rainforest meets the sea. The choice is yours.
The colors of the beaches are no less diverse. In Panama, you will find pristine white sand beaches edging turquoise blue lagoons, inky blue waters of the Pacific coast where foaming white surf pounds on stunning black sand beaches, golden sands and sapphire seas, and “salt and pepper” sand beaches that usually border calmer waters. These colors change to pearl grays, purples and pinks at sunset. Best of all you can have them to yourself if you wish.
National marine parks and many other areas offer incredible diving and snorkeling experiences. One interpretation of the name “Panama” in a local Indian language is said to be “an abundance of fish”. Panama provides opportunities for world class sport fishing. Boating, sailing and sea kayaking are popular pastimes. Many of the unique diving, surfing and fishing areas have been well kept secrets by serious aficionados; however they are now beginning to gain popularity as more discerning travelers discover the unique opportunities Panama offers.
Follow in the footsteps of explorers such as Christopher Columbus, Vasco Nuñez de Balboa or Francisco Pizarro who all anchored off the Panama coast. Maybe you will find the treasures of pirates and buccaneers like Henry Morgan and Sir Francis Drake, or find wrecks of Spanish galleons resting on the sea bed waiting to be discovered. Modern explorers are discovering treasure in beachfront property they can purchase at a fraction of prices they would expect to pay in other areas on the Pacific and Caribbean coasts.
According to National Geographic and Financial Time Magazine, Panama is number one among the top 10 tourist destinations to be visited during 2012. Such information was spread in January late in 2011 around the world and that greatly increased the flow of tourists to the country. Panamanian beaches, mountains, flora and fauna, and particularly bird and monkey watching attract travelers' attention.
Chagres National Park stands out among tourist attractions, from which is possible to see the Panama Canal. Regarding the fact of changing status from tourist or visitor to resident, 78% of the real estate projects is registered, with reference to the Province of Panama, in San Francisco, Juan Díaz and Arraiján, and in Chiriquí on beaches and mountains areas.
There is a great variety of units, from beaches condominiums, villas and duplex to beach or mountain residences.
Pacific Coast close to Panama City
Approximately one hour’s drive west of Panama City along the Pacific Coast, you will find miles of pretty beaches. These beaches are popular on the weekend with Panama City dwellers but during the week you may have the beaches to yourself. Your choice of lodging is as varied as the beaches, from smart all inclusive resorts such as the Royal Decameron to small seaside lodgings, cabins and an RV park. The beaches are easily reached from the Panamericana Highway. These small ocean side communities stretch from Punta Chame (popular for wind surfing) to Santa Clara in the Cocle Province. Many of the beaches have salt and pepper sand and safe swimming, however surfing is popular at El Palmar, Rio Mar, Santa Clara, Punta Barco, Santa Catalina and Playa Venao.
One of the recent investment projects is Malibu Beach Park & Resort. A life refuge with all the natural attributes of Eden: River, Beach, Mountain, Ocean, First Eco Park, with more than 60% of its land destined to green areas, a quiet place where your dreams come true. Located in Chame District, next to Nuevo Gorgona. The project is considered one of the most important tourism-residential projects in Central America. With its 190.48 hectares of natural beauty; it offers security to its residents and visitors by means of controlled access and round-the-clock vigilance, spectacular lake views, swimming pools with beach sand, a network of walking paths and trails, parks, green areas and open spaces.
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Panama’s wealthier families enjoy coming and spending time in this marvelous coast project. With its large equestrian center and seaside golf course designed by Tom Fazio, it is a place to see and be seen.
The Coronado Hotel and its beach club are known for elegance and service. This community continues growing with the opening of Coronado Mall earlier, the first one on the beach, and with the clinic founded by San Fernando Hospital, which includes a drugstore and a medical emergency area. This medical institution has been operating in the City of Panama for more than 50 years.
This area has still much to offer to the commercial, real estate and tourist areas. Right now the Bern Enterprise, which is one of the major developers in Panama,is working on the projects like Coronado Golf Community and there are several other which excel with ultimate quality of life and unique conditions.
Pacific Coast close to David, Chiriqui
This Pacific coastline boasts beaches with black sand or white sand. There are few hotels but the beaches are easily reached from the town of David. Playa Barqueta is a black sand beach with a Barcelo hotel and some development, but it also borders a wild life refuge created for nesting birds. The Gulf of Chiriqui is where you will find the 14,740 hectare national marine park that protects coral reefs, islands and beaches that abound with wild life.
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The most stunning beaches are to be found on the islands of Panama. The Pearl Islands and Bocas del Toro have been in the spotlight recently as the choice location for a number of “Survivor” television programs from twelve countries.
Crystal clear waters, coral reefs, rainforests and coconut palms are back drops for sailing, diving, fishing, or merely soaking up the sun in your own piece of paradise. On the line of Panamanian islands, the project being developed by ICA, builder and administrator of Corredor Sur, stands out. The Panamanian real estate company working together with ICA is Grupo Los Pueblos who built Los Pueblos Mall and Albrook Mall.
Two artificial islands are being built on the coast near Punta Pacífica (on the Pacific Ocean coast). This is the project called “Ocean Reef Islands”, comprised by “Santamaría” of 10,3 hectares and “La Pinta” of 8,8 hectares. Both islets are linked between each other and linked with Punta Pacífica area by means of a bridge of more than 100 meters. More than 130 residences, several lots and other facilities will be on sale on this area. Currently, these islets are considered to be the first human-built urban islands in Latin America.
From Panama City, a fifteen minute plane ride (Aeroperlas) or a two hour ferry ride to Contadora takes you into the land of pirates and pearls where over 90 islands and 130 islets make up the Archipiélago de las Perlas, named by Balboa in 1513. Buccaneers hid out here to attack Spanish Armadas laden with treasure. Oysters and their pearls are still found in these aqua colored waters. Over the centuries, pearls harvested here have adorned kings and queens of Europe, they include the 400 year old, 31-carat famous “La Peregrina” pearl now owned by Elizabeth Taylor. The calm waters are great for fishing sailing and snorkeling. Only a few of the islands are inhabited.
The largest islands are “Isla del Rey” and “San José”.
From Panama City, a fifteen minute plane ride (Aeroperlas) or a two hour ferry ride to Contadora takes you into the land of pirates and pearls where over 90 islands and 130 islets make up the Archipiélago de Las Perlas, named by Balboa in 1513. Buccaneers hid out here to attack Spanish Armadas laden with treasure. Oysters and their pearls are still found in these aqua colored waters. Over the centuries, pearls harvested here have adorned kings and queens of Europe, they include the 400 year old, 31-carat famous “La Peregrina” pearl now owned by Elizabeth Taylor.
The calm waters are great for fishing sailing and snorkeling. Only a few of the islands are inhabited. The largest islands are “Isla del Rey” and “San José”. As a consequence of their natural wealth, the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) has focused its scientific researches on this area to study coastal, marine and terrestrial ecosystems. As a result of these researches, now it is known that 15 endemic species of birds live there (only existing in this area) and it has been discovered at least 37 beaches where turtles make their nesting period. Tourist activity is also being developed there. Between 2006 and 2008 the government approved eight environmental impact assessments (EIA) for the development of projects.
The intention is to build little towns with residential areas, malls, marinas, and golf courses on several isles of the archipelago, always seeking for the preservation and respect for the environment as the main concern. A land demarcation plan is being created in order projects do not affect the ecosystem, which has great and wealth biodiversity. The Civil Aeronautic Authority pointed out that Las Perlas, a sector of the Archipelago, represents a tourist potential to Panama as developers of several projects have considered building their own landing strips, improving connections and thus competing on the international market.
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This largest and most visited of the Pearl Islands was named as the counting house for the pearls. There are 13 spectacular beaches on three sides of this 1.2 sq.km island. The five coral fields around the island offer incredible snorkeling where fascinating marine life includes white tipped reef sharks, schools of tropical fish, rays and turtles in profusion. Contadora has the only officially designated nudist beach in Panama.
Here are the homes of the rich and famous. The Shah of Iran once owned a home nearby. Excursions by boat or jet-ski can be arranged to visit other islands such as Pacheca Island where magnificent frigate birds roost and bird watching is memorable. Panamanian and Nicaraguan investors will invest up to 1.200 million dollars in a period of 10 years to build a real estate and tourist complex which will also comprise a mall, a marina, restaurants, bars and a Trump club. There will be prices for all budgets, from hostel-type locations to great luxury rooms.
The project started with an investment of two million dollars to build villas. Several projects of that investment program have already been completed on the island. If you visit Contadora, do not miss visiting: The Point Hotel with its luxury environment, located on a cliff dominating the Pacific Ocean; the Sweden Beach (remember: it is just for nudists) and the beautiful Galeón Beach.
San Blas Islands
The San Blas Indian reservation includes not only the San Blas Islands (a total of 378), but also a strip of Caribbean coastline from the Colon Province. The Kuna Indians have governed this autonomous province since the 1920s.
They maintain their own economic system, language, customs and culture with their distinctive dress, music, dance and legends. There is a feeling of being in another world - straight out of the pages of National Geographic. The men still fish from canoes and climb for coconuts as they have done for centuries. Stunning golden sands and blue-green waters are edged by the coconut palms, the idyllic islands of your dreams. These islands do not belong to a single person; in many cases they belong to a whole family or to a community. Daily Flights serve several of the islands so don’t be surprised if you find yourself island hopping. You are advised to make reservations as the small planes tend to get crowded. Air Panama offers flights from Albrook airport.
Helicopters are also used to reach the islands. Traffic between islands is by motorized boats. Another way to visit Kuna Yala Islands, and a very fashionable way, is through sail boats or crewed catamarans which may be chartered. There are also cruisers which sail around the islands until reaching the Panama Canal locks. Ask for information to your travel agency or hotel. Accommodations are generally in simple and rustic cabins, with palm thatched roof and walls, some have hammocks instead of beds. Sailing and snorkeling around these coral islands is superb. Diving conditions are best between April and June.
The arts and crafts of the Kunas are famous. The bright tropical scenery and wildlife is reflected in the colorful molas, a rainbow of reverse appliqué embroidery in geometric designs made by the Kuna women that are popular souvenirs for visitors. Most islands require visitors to pay a registration/visitation fee that varies usually from $3 - $5 and usually the Kuna require a $1 for permission to photograph them. While moving about the islands, away from the beach, it is appreciated by the Kunas that no swimsuits or short shorts are worn, men should not go shirtless. Some of the islands get crowded when the cruise ships arrive so it is as well to try to check the schedules. A tour operator should be able to help you plan your trip accordingly and a good guide will also help you get the most out of your once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Bocas del Toro
Follow in the wake of Christopher Columbus who found safe anchorage here in 1502. Bocas is for the free spirit! This is a Caribbean paradise with an international flavor. Bocas del Toro, or the “mouth of the bull” is the name of the province that borders Costa Rica in the North West corner of Panama. The islands of the archipelago of Bocas del Toro have had a more peaceful existence than some areas of the country. They were not colonized by the Spanish as little gold was found here so the Indians were left in peace. Buccaneers came here but mainly to repaired their boats and, if legends are true, bury their treasure. French Huguenots settled here in the 17th century. Later when the banana industry flourished, former slaves from other Caribbean islands and Colombia came to work. This is a diverse community indeed, where English is widely spoken and life is lived to a Caribbean beat. The area is now being discovered by international tourists (particularly since the Survivor programs) and more and more people are staying for retirement or building a second home. This may be some of the last affordable Caribbean beachfront property in the world. Business Panama will be pleased to assist you in the purchase of a home anywhere in Panama, please click here to contact us. Check out the properties on our real estate listings for this area.
This spectacular archipelago consists of six large islands and numerous small ones in an area that mostly caters to ecotourism. The emerald waters are edged by silvery sand against a back drop of the dramatic peaks of the Cordillera hills. Isla Colon is the most visited and developed island with a number of small hotels and boasts an airport with daily flights to and from Panama City and David by Air Panama. This is the only island with roads as most of the traffic throughout the area is by water. Most families go shopping by boat or water taxi. The best times to visit are February to April and September/October. According to reports of the Civil Aeronautic Authority more than a million dollar has been invested in 2007 and 2008 on the Colón Island Airport, in the Province of Bocas del Toro.
This investment is a consequence of a policy for improving the national airport net in matters of safety, infrastructure and facilities. The investment on this project includes the construction of a fire station, the extension of the passenger terminal, the construction of a control tower and the construction of a perimeter fence. Other works of equal important are the construction of the shoulders of the landing strip, extension of the plane parking platform, and installation of the ground light system for the landing strip. All of these tasks are aimed at improving the experience of tourists and visitors who have increased their stays here. Furthermore, this commercial and tourist investments on this province is a consequence of its famous beaches and islands and because English is spoken.
On these islands, you will find gorgeous beaches, where the rainforest reaches the sea and the only access is by boat, perhaps mangroves full of wild life, or with coral fields near their shores. Some of the islands are within the marine ParqueNacionalBastimentos, this provides protection for nesting turtles, aquatic birds and mammals, and consequently has terrific spots for diving, snorkeling and swimming. However, the best places for diving are Hospital Point, Coral Key, Dark Wood Reef and Punta Juan buoy. For snorkeling, the Garden near Cayo Nancy, Hospital Point and Punta Juan buoy are excellent. Boating, sport fishing and kayaking are popular everywhere. One of the most spectacular beaches is Red Frog Beach, so called because it is the only home to a thumbnail sized species of dendrobatids, bright red with black spots.
Surfing is popular at Punch Beach on Isla Colon, and surfers are excited about a big reef break called Silverbacks on Bastimentos Island. If you just wish to chill out and enjoy the pleasures of sand and sea then you have miles of beach to choose from. There is something special for everyone in Bocas! A good souvenir from Bocas del Toro is hot spices which may be found in decorated bottles and at a very good price. It is a West Indies-style hot spices for food.
This is a small group of Pacific islands that can be reached in approximately 1 hour by boat from Panama City (Amador Pier, $11 round trip, twice daily departure schedule: 8:00 and 10:00 a.m., return schedule: 3:00 and 5:00 p.m.), on a weekend you will probably require a reservation on this ferry. The island is quieter during the week. Isla Taboga at 571 hectares is the largest island, also known as the ´Island of Flowers”.
It is a popular weekend destination for residents of Panama City who come to enjoy the slower pace of island life, the flowers, the beaches, and the water sports. As in most areas of Panama an island is more than its beaches, Taboga has its own area of protected rain forest and is home to one of the largest breeding colonies of brown pelicans in the world. Taboga is older than Panama City and its tiny church is reputed to be the oldest in the Western Hemisphere. From 1515 the Spanish colonized the island until it was used by the pirates and buccaneers in the 17th century to attack the Spanish ships. Pizarro set said from here to discover Peru.
You can still see ships today lining up to enter the Panama Canal and on your return to Panama City you will have an incredible view of the Bridge of the Americas. In this oasis of tranquility there are no cars, tropical flowers are the only ones jostling for position, beautiful beaches and a green mountain rising out of the sea. Watch for humpbacks during August to October when migrating whales can be seen from the shores. Swim where Gaugin swam and take time to smell the flowers! Visitors may buy low prices souvenirs offered by islanders, who have stands along the street towards the beach.
Coiba Island National Marine Park
This park is home to the second largest coral reef in the Eastern Pacific. The island of Coiba in the Gulf of Chiriqui is Panama’s largest island but it has not suffered from development. Until recently it was home to a penal colony for many years, avoided by most people. Today the prison is gone and the island remains as a pristine nature reserve. It is a unique area where marine life abounds and on shore many delights appeal to birdwatchers, naturalists, and biologists. Tours are organized to the park and tourist facilities are planned. Diving is superb and beyond the park limits there is world class sport fishing in famous Hannibal bank.
Nowadays the island is considered as a World Heritage and it is the largest island on the American Pacific Ocean. It has a unique value as a fish farm and humpback whales arrive to spawn at its waters. It is a spectacular and splendid event which can be seen from the sea or during the tours to the island. It is a valuable asset to a careful development of ecological tourism. Monkeys, parrots, macaws, giant rodents, butterflies, snakes, insects, felines and giant tress of natural beauty comprise the landscape. It is an ideal place for nature and adventure lovers.
Isla Grande & Portobelo
15 km east of the historic town of Portobelo is another popular weekend destination for Panama City dwellers, particularly those who like to party. Here you can relax and enjoy the usual delights of a tropical Caribbean island, with diving and snorkelingspots, even wreck sites. You can sail from here to the San Blas Islands. The islanders are of African descent and since they make a living from coconuts and fishing, seafood and coconut milk are the main ingredients for the dishes served here. The island Grande can only be reached by boat from La Guayra. Buses from Portobelo run to this small the mainland village.
Portobelo was named “Puerto Bello” (beautiful port) by Christopher Columbus for its beautiful natural harbor. The area was fortified by the Spanish and, as usual, attached by pirates and buccaneers. Ruins of the forts and a watch tower can be seen today; some of the walls were constructed out of coral or reef rock. Fuerte San Jerónimo is the most well-preserved fort and the gateway and some buildings together with original cannons can be seen today. The restored Royal Customs House of Portobelo dates from 1630 and was constructed as a counting house for the Spanish King’s gold. Much of the treasure from the Incas was brought here to be counted and stored until galleons could transport the riches back to Spain. Today this building houses exhibitions and a museum. A wreck site nearby is believed to be that of Columbus’ ship, the Vizcaina, currently being explored by marine archeologists.
The Festival of the Black Christ is held here on October 21st each year, the focus for pilgrims from all over Panama. There are still little-known places as the so called “Puerto Francés”, a perfect inlet for adventures, snorkeling practice and camping. The boat trip takes about 12 minutes; dolphins can be seen very close from the boat during the trip, as well as some fortifications from the Spanish colonial period. Once arrived at Portobelo, leave your car on the parking of Fuerte Santiago where some attendants will care of it. On the dock say you are interested in going to Puerto Francés.
The fee is seven dollars per person. In case of groups the fee may be negotiated to obtain a cheaper price. Ask for life jackets. In addition, tell them the hour you like them to pick you up and ask for the cell phone number of the person in charge of the boat. Portobelo is also seat of sport events such as “extreme triathlon”. Nowadays, several kinds of properties may be found to buy or rent in Portobelo, inclusive on the bay.
To view properties, farms, homes, condos, islands in different parts of Panama, visit our Real Estate Marketplace.