Home to the famous canal, Panama is the southernmost point of the North American continent - sandwiched between Columbia and Costa Rica.
What sort of waves?
Flanked by both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, Panama is home to a diverse range of waves, lots of which are still to be discovered.
On the Caribbean side, the islands around Bocas Del Toro are home to a nice selection of peeling reef breaks and points Ã¢â‚¬â€œ one of the best known spots in the area is the left hander, Carenero. The wave breaks for about 150 yards and can throw up some nice tubes. Nearby Dumpers is a more challenging option for the experienced as the hollow left hand reef break is shallow and sharp Ã¢â‚¬â€œ watch out for Sea Urchins too!Ã‚Â
The Pacific coast is home to the famous Santa Catalina, a bowling right hand reef break that on its day can produce world class waves. Crowds are obviously a factor thanks to its reputation, but there are a couple of other options in the area if youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re feeling intrepid.
For uncrowded surf, the island of Morro Negrito is another worthy option as there is a limit to the amount of people who can stay at any one time. Nestled off the South West coast, the area boasts around 10 different breaks (some of which are reputedly good), however these are only accessible if you are a paying guest at the camp.
Where does the swell come from and whenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s best to go?
The Pacific side works best from April to October with the majority of the swell being generated by weather systems in the Roaring Forties and Hurricanes off North West Mexico.
The Caribbean can also be good during the months of July to August but will also be blessed by surf from December to February.
What else is there to do?
The Panama Canal is a Ã¢â‚¬ËœmustÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ on your list of places to visit.Ã‚Â
If youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re feeling more active, the list is endless Ã¢â‚¬â€œ sport fishing, diving, snorkeling, white water rafting, climbing and of course, partying!
How do I get there and where do I stay?
As always flights are worth shopping around for, but generally they weigh in about Ã‚Â£550 and upward, usually from London Heathrow via the US.
Be warned, some airlines will not accept boards into the country or as we were told Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Ã¢â‚¬Ëœanything measuring longer than five feetÃ¢â‚¬â„¢. Check with the airline and airport staff before paying the fare.
Accommodation is readily available at fairly reasonable prices. If you check on the internet you could go for the option of paying a pre-booked guide who will sort out all the sleeping and transport arrangements for you.
However, if you plan to do it yourself, there are a stack of options available in the known surfing areas; otherwise it might be an idea to take camping equipment if you feel like exploring.
Will I score uncrowded, world class waves?
If you travel in the right season and to the right places there is a real possibility. Santa Catalina is one of the few known spots, but if you have the time and inclination there is a stack of potential for virgin surf.