One of the best things about living in Panama City, Panama is that within 2 hours drive or ferry you can be sitting on your choice of beautiful Pacific or Caribbean white sand beach with crystalline waters. On the Pacific Coast you got Isla Taboga 30mins by ferry, the Islands of Las Perlas and Contadora 2 hours by ferry. Then you have all the local beaches like Veracruz, Punta Chame, Malibu, Gorgona, Coronado, El Palmar, Santa Clara, El Farallon and Playa Blanca all within 2 hours drive west of Panama City. On the Caribbean Coast, drive just 55kms North of the City on the Corridor Norte which will take you to Colon and the Portobelo Area and Isla Grande. Further to the west you have Playa Blanca and not to mention the archipelago of over 365 pristine islands in Guna Yala/San Blas.
#1 Isla Taboga
Taboga is the closest island escape to Panama City; only 30mins by ferry and a popular weekend destination for tourists and Panamanians. Taboga Express Fast Ferry leaves the Causeway Amador every hour starting at 8am and the last ferry leave’s Taboga at 4pm in the afternoon. The “Island of Flowers” as its known has plenty of shops, restaurants, bars, hotels and hostels. You can also contact the guys @Highlife Panama for your perfect private yacht charter, birthday party or corporate event to Taboga or Las Perlas.
#2 Punta Chame
Punta Chame, known as the best kite surfing beach in Panama, is only 1.5 hours drive from Panama City to the west across the Bridge of the Americas. The original location for Nitro City, the world’s first extreme sports resort, which has a cable wakeboard lake, a skate park, swimming pool, closed in 2019 and has being taken over by the new all inclusive Maalaea Resort. Keeping the cable wakeboarding pool open, you'll still find plenty to do out here.
#3 Las Perlas & Contadora
The Pearl Islands is a group of 200 or so islands and inlets (many tiny and uninhabited) lying about 48kms off the Pacific Coast in the Gulf of Panama. Jump on Sea Las Perlas fast ferry leaving at 7.30am - returning at 3.30pm for $98 return.The most notable island in Contadora known for its beautiful resorts, hotels and some of the best fishing spots in the world. This is the actual location used to shoot the famous TV series Survivor Island which can be visited on a day trip with Pearl Island Day Tours. Whale Watching season stretches from July - October in the Pearl Islands with the chance.