Panama's Pacific Coast Hosts Best Surfers Across the Americas

PANAMÁ CITY, PANAMÁ – July 12, 2022 – The black sand beaches and big breaks of Playa Venao, the charming, picturesque beach town located in Panamá’s Los Santos province, will be hosting the XV Pan American Surfing Games August 7-13, 2022. The culture-rich, beach-lover’s haven offers some of the finest world-class surfing in Central America and a laid-back atmosphere for competitors and visitors alike.


Playa Venao, a scenic 5-hour drive from Panamá City, is one of Panamá’s top surfing spots on the Azuero Peninsula with the best waves in the area, thanks to consistent south swell, bi-directional breaks, and a safe sandy bottom. With its increasing number of hotels and hostels, restaurants, and bars popping up along the coast, it’s no surprise Playa Venao has become a rapidly growing destination for nature and water sports enthusiasts.

“Although this is the first time Panamá is hosting the PASA Games, we’re no stranger to title surfing events, having previously hosted international events like the World Championships of the International Surfing Association,” says Iván Eskildsen, Panama’s Minister of Tourism. “Playa Venao is an ideal place to host this event – it’s not only a world-class destination for surfing, the region has a great vibe with a diversity of hotels, food and a variety of activities immersed in its nature and culture.”

Panamá’s Caribbean and Pacific coasts pump incredible swells with daylong offshore winds depending on the season. With over 1,500 miles of beautiful coastline and more than 1,000 islands, there’s an infinite range of activities on land and water. Travelers can catch a glimpse of Panamá’s diverse marine life, including migrating Humpback whales, sea turtles, whale sharks, rays, crabs and colorful fish before splashing in the sandy beaches. Along the way visitors will see the historic enclaves contrasting against the modern metropolis of Panamá City, sample the country’s coveted Geisha coffee varietal, behold a rainforest waterfall and meet multiple indigenous groups – all before soaking in a pristine Panamánian shoreside sunset.

“We are honored to be hosting the PASA Surfing Games, where the best pro surfers from the Americas – alongside visitors and locals – will come together to celebrate the sport and the setting,” says Fernando Fondevila, CEO of PROMTUR Panamá. “Events like this allow more people to discover our country’s authentic culture, rich history and unspoiled nature.” For travelers looking to surf Panamá’s beautiful waters beyond Los Santos’ Playa Venao, here are other must-see surfing spots: 

  • Riviera Pacífica: Escape to Riviera Pacifica, offering an array of white-sand beaches on the Pacific Coastline. These beaches are the nearest to the city and easily accessible for travelers via a short drive. Chame and El Palmar beckon surfers with dreams of long rides and great tubes in its sparkling waters. The area offers various accommodation options, restaurants and more water activities such as kitesurfing, boating, and fishing.  

  • Veraguas: The Veraguas Province is known for its welcoming beach towns on the Pacific side of Panamá. Santa Catalina’s La Punta is the most famous and consistent point break in Panamá. Playa Morrillo is another surfing hotspot known for the famous “Morrillo Break” and considered one of Panamá’s most consistent breaks, regularly hosting international competitions in its year-round warm waters. Waves here can reach up to 15 feet in height with incredible tubes. Travelers also can find an array of eco-friendly accommodations to experience the natural surroundings and local Panamánian culture and cuisine.   

  • Bocas del Toro: The colorful, lush islands of Bocas del Toro on the northern Caribbean side have some of the best surfing in Panamá due to its various surf breaks and consistent and powerful swells, especially during the dry season. Playa Paunch, Dumpers and Playa Bluff are some of the favorite surf spots on Isla Colon, with long waves perfect for all levels. Due to the region’s relatively untouched and undeveloped landscape, travelers can expect a casual, laid-back environment to explore Panamá’s natural wonders, including tropical rainforests, bioluminescent waters, the Nivida Bat Cave, and diverse reef life.

The PASA Surfing Games’ location was finalized with a signed agreement between Pandeportes, the Panamánian Surf Association (APS) and the Tourism Authority of Panamá (ATP). The event, which will be sponsored by the ATP and take place with collaboration between the Panamánian Institute of Sports, APS and ATP, will help promote Sports Tourism in the country by highlighting Panamá’s world-class surfing spots and the country’s strong commitment to preserving its oceans and natural heritage.

To learn more about Panama’s world class surfing, please visit: https://www.tourismpanama.com/things-to-do/surfing/ For the latest information on Panamá’s health and safety protocols for international visitors, please visit: https://www.visitPanamá.com/information/travel-guidelines.  

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