Panama Summer Surf?

Discussion in 'Surf Travel' started by foamieswithmyhomies, May 29, 2019.

  1. foamieswithmyhomies

    foamieswithmyhomies Well-Known Member

    379
    Sep 18, 2014
    Not the Van Halen song, the country. Looking to book a trip there in July - anyone scored on the Pacific coast before? I'm specifically looking by El Palamar, I'd like to still be within driving distance to Panama City for the non-surfers of the group.

    It seems that the summer is better swell-wise but also the rainy season. I'd rather take waves over the weather, but also interested to see how "rainy" the rainy season tends to be.

    Thoughts? Suggestions?
     
  2. antoine

    antoine Well-Known Member

    Mar 10, 2013
    I surfed both sides of panama last july and had good to great surf Boca del toros in particular
     

  3. Mitchell

    Mitchell Well-Known Member

    Jan 5, 2009
    About 15 years ago I went with a friend to the Pacific side of Panama in April...I would go back there for sure, but would spend as little time as possible in Panama City. Very easy country to get to, easy to get around and tranquilo once out of the capital city. I'm not sure what your non-surfers in the group have in mind, but i hated Panama City. It just seemed like a huge dirty city, like you were in a crappy section of Houston or any other large american metropolis. The nearest surf worth traveling for is at least 3-4 hours away.

    The weather was great in April, but I'm no help on July.
     
  4. Kyle

    Kyle Well-Known Member

    Sep 9, 2011
    I was in Panama early last August. The areas within driving distance to PC are not the best spots. Way more crowded and less quality waves compared driving a few hours up the coast to the Azuro Peninsula. That area catches way more swell, it sticks way out into the deep water compared to near PC. I didn't score really while I was there (chest high on the best day) but I did surf a lot of spots along that coast. The best being around Cambutal (couple good points breaks, toughest to get to), Playa Venao (good beach break) and Santa Catalina (really good point break but the most crowded, nothing compared to my local on a good swell though).

    I also drove myself through the entire country without any issues aside from being searched by Federales at a drug trafficking checkpoint leaving Playa Venao. The biggest problem driving are the slow speed limits. But it is beautiful country to drive thru with a modern highway system for the most part. Around Cambutal starts to be 4x4 country in some spots.

    The rainy season wasn't that bad for our trip. A couple of the afternoons were stormy but the mornings are the time to surf anyways.

    Can't give a ton of advice of PC because we only stayed one day there. But from what I saw, Mitchell is spot on. Not a city to spend time unless you're on the beach and even then there are way better beaches all over the country. Better have your wits about you especially if you're going out at night. There is a ton of great hiking, whale watching, zip lining around those areas, and a full skate park in Playa Venao if your non-surfers are into any of that.
     
  5. La_Piedra

    La_Piedra Well-Known Member

    Oct 9, 2017
    This is solid shit, thanks Kyle.

    I've been interested in the Pacific side too. I guess landing in the capitol is the only way to go. One of my buds told me about an island in the NW part of Panama called Quebrada de Piedra in the Chiriqui province. It's called Surfer's Paradise or similar and they supposedly limit the number of surfers that get boated out to the prime spots.

    Could be my next surf trip, which may be awhile since I got hit with a new roof and a new car. arrgh

    But either side of Panama would be a check off the bucket list. I tend to look for uncrowded waves over "name" waves.

    They still use the U.S. Dollar there?
     
    Notaseal and Kyle like this.
  6. Kyle

    Kyle Well-Known Member

    Sep 9, 2011
    No problem, I loved that country once I got outside of Panama City. Although I did notice outside of the casinos in PC they are handing out flyers advertising the hot Colombian prostitutes they bus across the borders on the weekend, if that's your thing of course.

    Yes, I used dollars everywhere and your buddy is spot on. I should have mentioned that. I haven't been or seen the resort myself, but when we left Boquete, we drove down to Chiquiri for a whale watching trip and the guide for the trip told us about it when he found out we surfed. You can fly into PC and take a jumper to the airport in David. Although if you are staying in Chiquiri and are into hiking, there is Volcano Baru an hour north in Boquete which is a really good hike (almost 12,000ft). So it might be nice to have the rental car (4x4 preferably).

    If any of you guys decide to go and are going to any of those areas, feel free to PM me.
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2019
    La_Piedra likes this.
  7. foamieswithmyhomies

    foamieswithmyhomies Well-Known Member

    379
    Sep 18, 2014
    Great insight! Def will hit you with a PM when flights are booked.
     
  8. eatswell

    eatswell Well-Known Member

    980
    Jul 14, 2009
    Panama is a place that's intriguing to me. Looks pretty suite in pictures, but never thought of it as premiere surf destination.

    So I've been enjoying reading up on it. Not to mention, there seems to be some cheap real estate there (especially in comparison to Oahu) if our Oahu dream falls apart, but I also wouldn't really wanna buy internationally, either.
     
  9. Bluehorizoncr

    Bluehorizoncr New Member

    1
    Oct 9, 2019
    Nice post sharing.
     
  10. La_Piedra

    La_Piedra Well-Known Member

    Oct 9, 2017
    So, que paso Foamie? Did you ever make it down there?

    a friend of mine that always goes with Thunderbomb at The Boom in northern Nica told me that Thunderbomb is opening a camp on that island in Chiriqui, Panama that was limiting the number of surfers.

    I don't know if they're taking over the existing camp, or if they're making a new one to add to the existing one. Hoping they bought the old guys out and continue to limit the number of surfers.

    speaking of limiting surfers: does anyone have any scooby on the Cardon surf ranch near Mazatlan? There was a lot of hoopla several years ago about how the surf ranch and local citizenry (including cops) were intimidating and chasing off everyone who wasn't a registered guest. My kind of resort lol, what a great way to limit people on a spot. Trying to find out if they're still using their blend of crowd control tactics.
     
  11. Kyle

    Kyle Well-Known Member

    Sep 9, 2011
    P, I stay at Cardon twice a year, every May and September, since 2014. Just got back. Love this place. A crazy long peeling left right out front and a shorter but punchier (hollow) waves a half mile north. I read all that stuff about the Cardon "thugs". I've never seen any of this. From what I've seen, Monday-Friday the waves are empty all day. On the weekends you will get some locals in the afternoon but rarely in the AM when the surf is best. Seems like Jeff has got the locals in line when it comes to that. I couldn't recommend any better place in Mexico. It is away from everything so it's very peaceful. The camp only holds 16 so that is the max you will have in the lineup, but it is always split because a lot of people walk up to Milagros. So it thins the already small crowd. The only problem now is they have a ski to bring the old guys out to the point, that gets annoying sometimes, but the food there is incredible. They bring in world class chefs during the off season and do culinary functions so the kitchen there is top notch. Feel free to PM with any specific questions.
     
    La_Piedra and antoine like this.
  12. ukelelesurf

    ukelelesurf Well-Known Member

    368
    Apr 25, 2007
    Yep. Cardon......if you are a kook and you are afraid to travel alone for some reason it's a great place for you. Mexico is an amazing place and there are great waves all over that area but the "surf campers" think there are only two options and the surf camp feeds the narrative that it's super dangerous around there but it's not. Also the owners of that camp absolutely pulled tons of shady crap and I have surfed with a few locals who used to surf there and can't anymore. As the guy above says "jeff has the locals in line." So if those are the kinda guys you want to support have at it. It's basically a barn wave anyway...but the wave close by gets really classic. Clearly I hate people that privatize waves.
     
    antoine likes this.