Rainy Season Surf Guide

The Pacific surf season is here. While the rain coaxes the coastline back to the tropical lush green that suits it so, the breeze still blows slightly. Surfers wait patiently, watching the ebb and flow of the tide ever so methodically. One thing I’ve realized about being a surfer on the Pacific is that you need to be committed. In recent years, surf season (starting mid-April and picking up in June, July & Aug) hasn’t been very consistent in the dry arc – a small price to pay for the empty *line-ups that remain for the most part, friendly. The Pacific coast of Panama, ripe with ever changing surf *breaks, also boasts a couple of world-renowned surf *spots, (What is the difference? See the legend below). The most consistent and powerful waves on the Pacific coast are typically *beach breaks, this is of course with a few exceptions. One of the most notable, is perhaps the most popular *point break in Central America, La Punta, Santa Catalina.

Each spot or break is different, requiring a specific set of conditions; waves depend on storms, swell and the angle, direction and power of that swell.  “You have to be flexible” Say’s Ricardo Salomon surfer and surf photographer, “because the waves don’t wait for anyone.”


Santa Catalina is full of powerful waves for experienced surfers. Waves are typically consistent throughout the season, usually ranging from 4 – 12ft and have been seen to push 20 ft. in peak season, which come a bit later to the peninsula, then the rest of the Pacific.

La Punta is a point break with a powerful hollow wave breaking over the volcanic rocks below.
Level: *Advanced
When to surf: Best at high and mid tide. If you plan to surf at low tide you should be an experienced surfer who knows this spot well.

El Estero beach offers is a long beach break with a nice sandy bottom, great for learning.  
Level: *Beginner
When to surf: Best at mid-tide, but can be surfed at any tide.


Rolos Cabins
(507) 6494-3916

Santa Catalina Hotel
(507) 6244-8122

Playa Venao is offers growing community of surfer, fresh food and good vibes. The main beach break is in the large sandy bay in front of El Sitio. The spot gets consistent swell with waves typically ranging between 4 – 10ft.
Level: Intermediate
When to surf: Low to mid-tide.


El Sitio
(507) 832-1010

Morrillo is a consistent and heavy beach break that works best in smaller conditions. The beach is secluded with little development… as of yet.
Level: Advanced
When to surf: low coming up to mid-tide.


Villa Vento

El Palmar’s point doesn’t always break, but when it does it can offer clean and long ride that goes both left and right.
Level: Advanced
When to surf: mid-coming up to high-tide (dependent on the tide swing)

El Palmar beach break
The beach break breaks over sand and rocks. The area can be great for learning on smaller days.
Level: Beginner
When to surf: low to mid-tide.

Manglar Lodge
(507) 345-4014

Palmar Surf School
(507) 6615-5654

Panama Surf School
(507) 6673 0820

Surf Photography
Ricardo Salomon
(507) 6510-7036

Surf Shops
Malibu Surf Shop – Gorgona

Surf Lingo Legend -

A Break is a place where swell meets shoreline and waves topple over. (SurferMag.com)

A surf spot comes with cultural trappings—history and legend—which transcend national borders and linguistic barriers. Also 99.9 percent of the time, a really good wave. (SurferMag.com)

* Swell
The significant wave event arriving at a surfing location created by a storm out to sea, as all of the waves from the storm arrive over a period of time consisting of hours or extending over days.

The area where surfers sit waiting for waves. Generally just outside of the break line or impact zone.

A wave breaking towards the right from the vantage of a surfer riding the wave.

*Beach break
waves that break over sandy ocean floors where sand bars/banks form to create waves with shape, they are usually prone to a lot of movement during storms, rips and long shore drift currents.

Learn to surf here.

There are sections of this wave for both those learning and avid surfers.

For skilled surfers only.