Soft sand between your toes…
A gentle breeze on your face…
The sounds of swaying palms and lapping waves…
There’s a reason that Caribbean beaches are known as some of the best beaches in the world. They offer unparalleled natural beauty and an environment that almost anyone would agree is paradise.
But what most people don’t realize, is that some of the best Carribean beaches are actually in Panama.
We’ve spent plenty of time soaking up the sun and swimming the crystalline waters of these tropical beauties. You could say we are well-versed in Panama’s Caribbean beaches and these are our absolute, hands-down favorites.
1. Red Frog
Topping our list of best Caribbean beaches is Red Frog Beach. Never heard of it? That’s part of the reason why it’s number one on our list!
Not only does Red Frog beach offer a tropical oasis with everything you expect from a Caribbean beach. But it’s still relatively unknown, which makes it even more enjoyable.
Located on Bastimentos Island in the Bocas del Toro region of Panama, Red Frog Beach is a “secret beach” accessed only by those lucky enough to be in the know. While the island has a handful of private hotels and restaurants, this is one beach area that hasn’t seen much development.
There are countless perks to this. For one, Red Frog’s remote nature means that you don’t have to share the white sand beach or turquoise waters with swarms of tourists.
Red Frog’s relative anonymity also means that you can own your own slice of paradise here without the hefty price tag you would expect at a more well-known beach.
In fact, potential investors have a unique opportunity to own a little of the magic of Red Frog Beach before it gets popular.
The small development of Blue Pearl Island Suites was recently completed at Red Frog Beach. It includes three buildings that share a beautiful pool area and are surrounded by lush tropical landscapes. There are units available starting from as low as $200,000 which is a fraction of what you might pay for a condo in the Bahamas or the Cayman Islands.
And in addition to the great price, the Blue Pearl offers buyers the opportunity to invest in the environmental and cultural preservation of this region. As a Green Globe certified project Blue Pearl Island Suites has been thoughtfully designed to have minimal impact on the surrounding landscape and resources.
The resort includes one of the largest solar power plants of any island resort in the world, helping to make the development eco-friendly. And the foundation associated with this beach development is committed to promoting cultural preservation, environmental protection, and sustainable improvements in public education and health throughout Bocas del Toro.
So when you purchase a home at the Blue Pearl, you’re also investing in the preservation of this magnificent region.
Want to learn more about having the best “undiscovered” Caribbean beach right outside your front door? Find out more about Blue Pearl Island Suites here.
2. Bocas del Toro
While Red Frog is in the Bocas del Toro region, no list of the best Caribbean beaches would be complete without paying homage to the rest of Bocas del Toro as well.
Bocas del Toro is a group of islands that offer numerous beaches. All of which look like they’re straight out of a movie. You’ll find powdery white sands, turquoise waters in every direction, and in the offseason, you could have a whole beach to yourself.
Bocas is also a great destination for snorkeling and scuba diving enthusiasts. Many of the beaches provide access to exotic coral reefs that are teeming with fish and even sea turtles. There’s no doubt that Bocas del Toro provides one of the best Caribbean beach experiences that money can buy.
While you really can’t go wrong here, one must-visit beach is Starfish Beach located on Isla Colón. This relaxing beach is the epitome of serenity. Here you can wade in calm waters, enjoy one of several beach-front cafes, and take in the sight of the hundreds of starfish who call the beach’s shallow waters home.
3. Isla Playa Blanca
Playa Blanca, one of the most beautiful Caribbean beaches there is. One of the closest beaches on this list to Panama City, it’s about 20 minutes from the port of Portobelo.
The beach is accessible only by boat, making a trip here all the more alluring.
While the sand might not be as white as on Red Frog beach, some of the best sights at Playa Blanca are actually under the water.
Here you’ll find some of Panama’s most colorful coral reefs, making it a popular destination for snorkeling. On a sunny day, the water is crystal clear and you’ll be rewarded with spectacular sights under the sea.
Playa Blanca is an especially great option for kids. The shallow waters and abundance of shade available make this a perfect place to spend a whole day with the family.
Do know, however, that there are no restaurants or stores accessible from the beach. So be sure to pack a picnic and plenty of water to make the most of a day there.
4. Isla Grande
Also in the Portobelo region of Panama, but further to the East, you’ll find Isla Grande. A five-minute boat ride from the harbor town of La Guaira will reward you with a beautiful Caribbean island surrounded by azure waters and tropical vegetation.
Here, you can spend a day lounging in a hammock, wading in the warm waters, or strolling on the beach. Then, when you’ve worked up an appetite, you can enjoy a cold beer and freshly cooked fish at one of the colorful beach-front palapas (thatched-roof huts).
Isla Grande also has a number of rocky points that break off its shores, which means there are some great surfing spots that draw surfers from across Panama and beyond. The wave break is not too hard and the waves are very consistent. Making this a great spot for both experienced surfers and amateurs.
While you can certainly visit Isla Grande as a day trip, it’s worth staying a few nights. Especially if you really want to soak in the calypso culture and stunning beaches. There are a handful of simple lodgings available including the highly-rated Macondo Hostel that is popular with surfers and Bananas Village Resort that includes a beach-front pool.
5. San Blas
Which of our top beach destinations includes 378 islands of white sands, swaying palms, and secluded relaxation? If you guessed San Blas, you’d be right. San Blas definitely has some of the best Caribbean beaches anywhere. These beaches are a little harder to access than the rest on this list.
But the islands’ remoteness helps to keep large scale tourism at bay. If you’re willing to make the trip here, you might be rewarded with a whole island to yourself.
Not sure where to start exploring these beautiful islands? There are a handful of tour companies that can help you navigate (quite literally) your stay in San Blas while suggesting activities and providing transportation between the different islands.
While you could easily spend all of your days gazing out at the postcard-worthy vistas, there are a number of activities to keep you busy.
Consider a kayaking expedition where you’ll be able to appreciate the variety of aquatic life around the islands from comfort. Or for the real adventurers, you can partake in a multi-day camping excursion. A local guide will lead you to some of the more remote beaches in the archipelago.
6. Isla Escudo de Veraguas
Isla Escudo de Veraguas is likely the most distinctive island on this list. This virgin island is completely devoid of commercial development. Apart from a few cabins for local fishermen, there is no other development on the island to speak of.
What it lacks in amenities, though, Isla Escudo de Veraguas makes up for in natural beauty. Thick with mangroves and coral reefs, Isla Escudo de Veraguas is the perfect place to be at one with nature.
So much so, in fact, that this island was featured on the first episode of Planet Earth 2 as the home of the Pygmy Three-Toed Sloth.
For those who are really looking to immerse themselves in the wildlife of this island, you are permitted to camp overnight on any of the island’s beaches. Playa de Karen on the island’s northern shore is the most popular option for camping. Due to its wide and relatively flat beach and stunning views in every direction.
Whether you’re pitching a beachfront tent under the stars, surfing Isla Grande’s great waves, or buying your own piece of paradise at Blue Pearl on Red Frog Beach, you have unlimited opportunity for adventure at any of these remarkable destinations.
We hope you love these Caribbean beaches as much as we do.