If you are traveling with your board tucked under your arm or want to try surfing for the first time, be sure to visit the Pacific Coast of Veraguas. This natural paradise, located in the center of the country, has 5 beaches that offer you all kinds of surfing experiences: huge waves, tubes, moments of tranquility and, above all, great vibes.

Separated by the Gulf of Montijo, you will have three beaches in the east and two to the west. Moving between them is very easy and you can explore them all. Here’s a list for you to plan your surfing trip.

1. Punta Santa Catalina

  • Location: Santa Catalina.
  • Level: medium to expert.

Santa Catalina Beach, Veraguas

If we talk about surfing, Punta Santa Catalina will always be among the best beaches in the country to visit. Its waves are so significant that they have hosted the ISA international surfing event on 2 occasions.

The waves in Santa Catalina are powerful and constant. They are large, and create a perfect tube to do your best tricks in. If you want to enjoy it to the fullest, go during medium tide up to high tide. This point has a coral and rock bottom, so you must have some experience to master it. Follow the recommendations of those who know these waves and you will have a great time.

Here you can find world-class waves throughout the year. In the rainy season, which stretches from April to November, the beach will be less busy, but you will see the waves in all their glory with swells that can reach up to 15 feet (4.6 meters). 

During the dry season, between the months of December and April, the beach will be a bit more crowded and you will have waves that are smaller and less powerful.

Santa Catalina is a little more than two hours from Santiago de Veraguas, east of the Gulf of Montijo. Although you can get there from Santiago, Santa Catalina has hostels, boutique hotels and rental houses. Some accommodations are even dedicated to this sport and you can find surf academies, yoga schools and retreats.

2. Playa Estero

  • Location: Santa Catalina.
  • Level: all levels.

Playa El Estero, Santa Catalina, Veraguas

On this beautiful little beach, you will have a much more relaxing experience with a sandy bottom and variable waves that are a little slower at low tide than at high tide.

The waves at Playa Estero depend on the season. In summer, the waves are smaller, and in the rainy season, the waves grow so large that they can reach up to 10 feet (3 meters) high.

In the summer, it is a very fun beach where you can learn and practice this amazing sport. If you come for the highest waves, you should be very careful with the currents, since with the rains, the sea gets very rough and is not at all ideal for surfing. If what you want is to practice your tricks and turns, though, the point known as La Coquita has the perfect waves.

Summer in Playa Estero is the best: The ambiance takes on a very cool air, there are many surfers touring the area and the surf schools enjoy their high season.

Playa Estero is a half hour walk from Santa Catalina Beach. Between the 2 beaches you will find the entire hotel and culinary offerings; plus you will be able to move from one side to the other very easily. When the sun goes down, you can watch spectacular sunsets with a drink in your hand and music in the background.

3. Punta Brava

  • Location: Santa Catalina.
  • Level: expert.

This secret part of Veraguas is full of somewhat strong waves that only break when the tide is almost high, whether rising or falling.

With the perfect conditions, you will find some impressive tubes that have made this little corner into experts’ choice spot. Keep in mind that surfing here requires experience and technique. It has a coral bottom and large stones that are visible, so it is reserved for experienced surfers.

If you’re looking for new challenges, Punta Brava is the place for you. Here you can enjoy the excitement and challenge on a beach that tests your skills.

This is a small place that’s hidden away. To get to the exact point you must walk approximately 20 minutes from Playa Estero. If you visit, try to go with someone to experience it in the safest way possible.

4. Playa Morrillo

  • Location: Morrillo.
  • Level: all levels.

Morrillo Eco Resort, Morrillo, Veraguas

This is another beach for all levels. Here you can find a lot of peaks with a sandy bottom which changes with the currents and the seasons. The fun thing about surfing here is that you will never have the same experience twice.

The waves in Morrillo are strong and tube-shaped, so you can practice a lot. If you’re an expert, you’ll be able to conquer faster waves full of adrenaline and challenges. If you are just starting out, you can find calmer places to learn in a very safe way.

When you’re enjoying the waves in Morrillo, keep in mind that when there is a good swell, there can also be strong currents. Be very careful, especially if you are a beginner. This beach is usually not crowded and is very large, so you can practice without worrying about getting close to other surfers.

Morrillo is an hour and a half from Santiago de Veraguas by car and 15 minutes from Malena. On the beach, you will find several hostels and hotels where you can stay and even plan a super nice trip to a turtle reserve.

5. Malena Beach

  • Location: Malena, Palo Seco.
  • Level: all levels.

If you want something a little more chill, Malena is the place for you. This sandy bottom spot has softer waves which are perfect for practicing turns and carvings.

Many times, whenever the waves in Playa Morrillo are very strong, Malena becomes the ideal alternative. As it is a bay, the swell is more protected, meaning you will be able to experience a different style, enjoy calmer surfing, and for those who are just starting out, learn more safely. Here you will find much fewer people and a more family-friendly atmosphere.

This beach is a turtle reserve. During the season you can take a guided night walk to see mother turtles nesting on the beach or newborns rushing into the sea for the first time at dawn.

Malena is an hour and a half from Santiago de Veraguas and 15 minutes from Morrillo. On either of the 2 beaches, or along the way, you can find community hotels, hostels and even a resort.

On your way along the Pacific Coast of Veraguas, don't miss out on living the experience of surfing some of the best waves in the country. If you’re an expert, challenge yourself in the most demanding areas and if you want to start getting to know this sport, dare to do it on the beaches with the best vibes.

Where to Stay in

Pacific Coast of Veraguas

Where to Stay in

Pacific Coast of Veraguas