Imagine yourself stepping out of your lodge suite and being immediately overtaken by the sounds of the rainforest. Howler monkeys wail throughout the canopy above you and Scarlet Macaws screech as they glide throughout the trees. A cautious three-toed sloth slowly eyes you as you carry your fishing gear towards the dock. You soak in the sensory overload of this tropical paradise, step onto the boat, and within a few short miles, find yourself face to face with some of the most exciting and diverse fisheries on the planet. This is Panama.

Nestled between the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, with Costa Rican mountains to the West, and the notoriously impenetrable Darian Rainforest separating it from Columbia to the East, Panama offers some of the best sportfishing and adventure opportunities found anywhere in the world. A place where trophy fish, both inshore and offshore, are caught on a regular basis. Panamanian oceanic biodiversity is matched by the incredible ecological diversity of the densely jungled landscape that covers much of the terrain. It is a place where nature can be truly celebrated and admired, both on and off the water.

Today’s Panama is where you will find yourself immersed in an increasingly rare habitat where flourishing rainforest meets the sea. A warm, welcoming environment full of friendly locals and rich in culture exists here. For those seeking to experience world-class fishing, the rain forest, surfing, and outdoor adventures in a safe, thrilling, and action-packed setting, look no further than Panama. Your only regret is wishing you had planned a longer trip.


If you travel to Panama for vacation, you do not need to obtain your own personal fishing license. Therefore, you don’t have to worry about applying for any license or permit before your trip or when you arrive in Panama.

Spanish is the official language of Panama and is spoken by the vast majority of the people. Although fewer than one-tenth of the people speak American Indian languages, all of Panama’s Indian groups preserve their native tongues, and many Indians also speak Spanish.

Panama’s official currency is the balboa. The rate of exchange for the balboa has always been tied to the US dollar—one dollar equals one balboa. Panama does not, however, print its own paper currency and instead uses the US dollar as legal tender. Panamanian coins come in 1, 5, 10, 25, and 50-cent pieces. They are the same size, color, and weight as U.S. coins and both are used frequently. While shopping or eating out, you may see prices with either a “$” or a “B/” before them, corresponding the dollars or balboas. They mean the same thing and have the same value.

Some vaccines are recommended or required for Panama. The CDC and WHO recommend the following vaccinations for Panama: hepatitis A, hepatitis B, typhoid, yellow fever, rabies, meningitis, polio, measles, mumps and rubella (MMR), Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis), chickenpox, shingles, pneumonia and influenza.

No visa is required for this destination for a stay of up to 180 days. Please keep in mind that while a visa is not required, you must: Hold a passport valid at least six months on entry with one blank visa page. Hold proof of onward/return flights. You will also want to have with you a bank statement showing a balance of at least $500.

International flights arrive at Tocumen International Airport (PTY) in Panama City. Services arrive daily from the US (most are routed through Atlanta, Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston or Miami) and other Central and South American cities; KLM and Iberia fly from Amsterdam and Madrid, respectively. Flights from San José, in neighboring Costa Rica, often stop in David before continuing on to Panama City. The recently upgraded airport in David is expected to see direct international flights from and to the US at some point.

For traveling within Panama, there a couple different options. Taxis are popular throughout the country and prices are all negotiable. To get past the language barrier, you can use google maps or other apps to communicate where you would like to go. Buses are the most cost-efficient way to travel the country and you can buy a transit card for the buses at Tocumen airport. Uber and Lyft are currently only available within Panama City but offer a more familiar way to travel. Renting a car is another option, however, do not get too excited when looking at the very cheap prices online ($2-$8 per day). Mandatory insurance will result in rental car prices ranging from $25-$50 per day.


Most travellers see the shorter dry season (verano, “summer”), which runs from late December to the end of April, as the best time to visit Panama, and with good reason. The reduced rainwater run-off ensures clearer waters to swim in. The dry season also includes the lively holiday periods of Christmas, New Year, Carnaval and Holy Week. You’ll avoid the crowds and the mark-ups in the rainy season (invierno, “winter”), which stretches from May to December. If you stick to the lowland areas on the Pacific coast, the downpours, while frequent and intense, rarely last more than a few hours at a time, leaving plenty of sunny, dry periods to enjoy.


Considered by many to be epitome of a fishing paradise, Panama should be a bucket-list destination for any die-hard saltwater angler wishing to experience the bounty of waters abroad. Considered by many to be the pinnacle of saltwater fishing, it is a place where trophy Marlin, Yellowfin Tuna, Dorado, Roosterfish, and Snapper are landed with consistency. Popularized and documented early on by legendary fishing figures such as Zane Grey and Guy Harvey, the fishing off the coast of Panama is downright spectacular. Today it is a fishing holy land for those on the search for the dream saltwater experience. Year-round you will find a healthy, diverse saltwater and fresh water fishery home to some of the most sought-after species.























Hot spots on the Pacific coast of Panama such as Pinas Bay and the Gulf of Chiriqui feature more than 20 pelagic and inshore game fish species throughout the year. During the dry season from December – April, there are few places in the world like Hannibal Bank where the chance at a 250-400lb+ yellowfin tuna is considerably high. During the wet season May-October, it’s wahoo galore. Year round, a host of offshore islands offer excellent fishing for resident reef species like Roosterfish, giant Almaco Jacks, Bluefin Trevally, and a variety of Grouper and Snapper. The array of species available is unmatched. Lastly, lets not forget the billfish. Blue, Black, and Striped Marlin all inhabit the Pacific Coast of Panama in astonishing numbers and in even more impressive sizes. Catching a “grander, or a fish of 1,000lbs is not out of the question, neither are the prospects of a “Grand Slam”

 If you love casting into foamers of Yellowfin Tuna that can engulf the entire boat in a feeding frenzy, this place is for you. Looking for insane topwater fishing action for huge Cubera Snapper, Roosterfish, or Almaco Jacks that explode out of the water absolutely inhaling a popper? Well, this is where you do it. If you love heading downstream into the remote jungle, pitching baits between fallen trees for truly monster peacock bass, well, look no further. Maybe trolling offshore for that monster black marlin to pop up in the spread is more your style? During the season it’s one of the best places in the world to land one! Starting to see the picture?

The country of Panama is a fisherman’s dream come true, no matter what your preferred style of fishing. Just pick a target and GO!


Panama undoubtedly has the fishing you are looking for, but as with any vacation where you stay is of the upmost importance. This is particularly true when factoring in the critical nature of having a skipper with local knowledge guiding your trip. The following lodges are excellent choices to stay who provide a beautiful and hospitable atmosphere along with incredible captains and guides who know Panamanian waters as well as anyone.

(800) 682-3424

Pinas Bay, Panama


Tropic Star is one of the finest fishing-oriented lodges in the world. Located in Pinas Bay, Panama it offers inshore and offshore fishing packages and boasts more IGFA world records and any other resort, worldwide. Located adjacent to the famous Zane Grey Reef, and less than 5 mi from the fishing grounds, it is one of the few places where Black Marlin can be targeted successfully on a consistent basis. Billfish galore, and host to innumerable species of inshore and offshore gamefish ranging from Roosterfish and Snapper to massive Dorado and Yellowfin Tuna, it is truly a fisherman’s paradise and can cater to nearly any angler’s species preferences. Not to mention you will be riding in style! With both 31’ Bertrams and a 45 ft Hatteras Sport Fisherman, all of the Tropic Star’s fleet vessels are rigged perfectly for a comfortable, safe, and incredible experience.

The Lodge, itself, is carved into the pristine Darien Jungle and offers world class amenities in a remote jungle local. Tropic Star offers personalized service to up to 45 guests from a dedicated staff of over a hundred. Featuring 23 guest rooms, all with ocean or tropical garden views, a family-style dining area, a beautiful pool, jacuzzi, and full service spa- it is truly a 5 star experience. We give Tropic Star our full BD badge of approval and highly recommend this establishment.

(866) 245-1492

Isla Parida, Gulf of Chiriqui, Panama


Since 2005 Sport Fish Panama Island Lodge has been ground zero to Panama’s World Class saltwater fishery! Get ready for a real “trip of a lifetime” as your group fishes with Capt. Shane Jarvis and crew from our upscale “off the grid” sport fishing lodge. We are located 12-miles off the Pacific coast on the undeveloped jungle island of Isla Parida, inside Panama’s Chiriquí National Marine Park, in the heart of the Gulf of Chiriqui. Although very remote, we offer upscale island accommodations with all the amenities: private guest houses, exquisite gourmet food prepared by our chef, and friendly personalized service. We operate FOUR top-of-the-line 33’ Center Console Catamaran fishing boats all outfitted with only the best in fishing gear and equipment. We are the closest fishing lodge to the Tuna and Marlin action offshore at Hannibal Bank and Isla Montuosa…also with some epic inshore fishing right at our doorstep. No other fishing lodge in Panama can say that!


(507) 6432-7533

Boca Brava Island, Panama


As featured on Local Knowledge, Tucan Lodge is family owned and run by Captain Juan Spragge, a good friend of BD. Juan grew up fishing the local waters of the Hannibal Bank, Montuosa Island, and Coiba Island. The knowledge he has of the local waters will help make your trip on to remember and one to gain valuable fishing experience from. From live baiting Marlin to casting poppers at Snapper, he can customize a trip for whatever you are after. His goal has always been to provide his clients with the best service and experience possible. With incredible fishing, comfortable rooms, and beautiful surroundings, Tucan Lodge is an excellent choice when planning your fishing adventure in Panama. The lodge can accommodate up to 6 anglers or two families of 5 members in ocean view bungalows and the boat used for your trips is a beautiful 32’ Sea Vee Open Center Console, getting you to the grounds quickly.


(716) 868-4432

Marina Puerto Pedregal,
Chiriqui, Panama


Guests stay aboard an 80′ floating lodge. This provides our anglers with a clean and comfortable base camp. The mobility of the lodge allows you to travel to remote tropical settings where the fishing begins right at your front door. Newly renovated, the lodge can accommodate up to 16 guests. With four beds each, the four air-conditioned cabins share two clean bathrooms with hot-water showers and plenty of fresh water. Also to be enjoyed is a very comfortable, air-conditioned salon, as well as an on-the-water dining area along the front of the lodge, complete with a friendly cash bar. Delicious Panamanian/American cuisine is prepared daily by our wonderful chef Irina.


Wherever your final Panamanian destination may be, chances are you will find yourself first stopping in Panama City before catching a short flight towards one of the smaller airports around the country.

Encompassed by thick jungle on all sides, seemingly out of nowhere a modern city skyline emerges. Skyscrapers tower through the clouds. A bustling metro population exceeding 1.5 million people gives much more of a Miami feel at first glance. Aside from the busy city vibes, here you will find a rich and exciting atmosphere, a culturally vibrant mecca, filled with world class dining and hotels, and a plethora of local artistry, centuries old architecture, as well as a vibrant, unique history which makes for a unique vibe unlike anywhere else in the world.

But more importantly, it’s the gateway to fishing paradise to be found in any which direction you point from there. Once outside the city you are instantly engulfed by lush rainforest which blankets most of the country. No matter which way you go from here, a host of world-class fishing lodges and charter operations offering many western style amenities and comforts await.

Maybe it’s a Caribbean-Style surf town vibe you seek. Bocas Del Toro on the Atlantic is only a short plane ride from Panama City. There you will find some of the best waves on the planet during the wet season from December-April. These generally range in difficulty from intermediate to advanced with some of the top surf breaks such as Silverbacks attracting pros from all over the world.

Panama offers a remarkably diverse range of fishing opportunities combined with an endless supply of outdoor activities for the whole family to enjoy. Fresh/Saltwater fishing, Surfing, Spearfishing, Jungle Tours, Zip-lining, Photography Opportunities, World-Class dining and hospitality options, and endless adventure awaits you in Panama!

(507) 6747-4346

Pedregal, Panama


When it comes to big game sportfishing, you can look forward to an epic adventure with Panama Pacific Fishing Charters. Panama’s Gulf Of Chiriqui is one of the top destinations in the world for catching a variety of species in one day. While fishing is fantastic year round, you’ll find the some of the best boating conditions during the dry season which run from December through June. Panama Pacific’s captains average over 40 year of experience fishing. Captain Will and his team will help set up an amazing day of fishing, surfing, spearfishing, or exploring Panama on land.


(507) 6173-5191

Pedasi, Panama


WORLD CLASS SPORT FISHING – Come and experience some of the most exciting saltwater sport fishing available on the planet with FISH PEDASi. Situated on the South-East corner of the Azuero Peninsula, the quaint fishing village of Pedasi lies at the heart of Panama’s famous ‘Tuna Coast’. This is one of the most prolific fisheries in the Eastern Pacific and you have a serious chance of ticking Roosterfish, Cubera Snapper, Amberjack, Tuna, Wahoo, Mahi Mahi, Groupers, Billfish and many more off your bucket-list. The variety of species here is simply mind-blowing. Whether you want to target them in comfort from our custom-designed boat or try your luck from the shore, FISH PEDASi has got you covered!

Images provided by: Hannes Ribner & Matilda Leijon


With over 1,500 miles of coastline spanning both the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, Panama has countless hidden gems of waves for surfers of all skill levels. Consisting of point, reef, and beach breaks, these often-uncrowded waves can provide world-class surfing opportunities with some of the most beautiful backdrops in the entire world. With warm water year-round and unnumbered options, you’d be hard pressed not to find a Panama wave that suits you.


Playa Santa Catalina is an A-Frame wave that sits on a South/Southwest facing bay. The right breaks off the peak with a high and tight barrel followed by a speedy section into a thicker barrel section. The left is a shorter wave that breaks best on smaller swells. There is a quick barrel section, but not nearly as long as the right hander. This wave can get big, but it is not considered a hard wave to surf. Be weary of low tides at this spot, the jagged volcanic reef can make the inside section dicey.


Careneros is a located on the north end of Isla Carenero, and island just off of Bocas Del Torro. When Panama surfing comes ti mind, surfers know the term “Bocas.” These islands provide heavy barrels and long rides. Careneros favors an east/northeast swell, and has been made famous from multiple video edits from world class surfers.


Punta Rocas a high performance left hand wave that breaks best on a low or medium tide. This rocky bottom point break sits in an area known for some of the best surf in Panama. When the tide drops out at Playa Santa Catalina, Punta Rocas is walking distance away.


Punta Teta is a rock bottom break located directly to the left of the river mouth of the Rio Teta. On a tide pushing from medium to high, you can expect to get barrelled on both the left and the right hand breaks. This beach offers not only great waves, but enough sand for a relaxing afternoon on the sand.


Playa Caracol is a beach break that is known for being manageable for all skill levels of surfers. This famous sand bottom break produces waves year round. When surfing Playa Caracol, your are more than likely to catch some good waves, unless you are surfing at peak high tide. One thing this break has that others might not, is a surf club on the sand for surfers to rent boards and chill in the air conditioned cafe.


Paunch is located on a eastern facing beach on Isla Colon just outside of the Bocas Town on Bocas Del Torro. This wave is known for being friendly to beginner surfers, but not friendly to your feet. The coral reef that sits underneath this break warrants most surfers to wear booties to protect their feet from sure destruction. While this wave can produce hollow barrels on large swells, it breaks its cleanest on low to medium swells.

Images provided by: Hannes Ribner & Matilda Leijon