Panama Kayaking Guide

With a geography consisting of hundreds of kilometers of pristine coastline, picturesque backwaters, and rivers replete with rapids and falls, Panama is a haven for kayaking enthusiasts. Regardless of your kayaking experience and proficiency, Panama has something to offer for everyone; from calm and pleasant ocean waters to grade IV and V white water rapids. In fact, it is one of the few countries in the world that offers both ocean and river kayaking experiences. With the captivating natural and wildlife spectacles you are sure to see while kayaking, it is considered the most adventures and exciting way to explore Panama. While there are an abundance of places for kayaking and canoeing in Panama, listed below are a few of the most popular kayaking and canoeing destinations in the country.

Panama Kayaking Destinations

Sobernia National Park

Located on the banks of the Panama Canal and only 25 kilometers from Panama City, Sobernia National Park is the most well-developed kayaking and canoeing destination in Panama. It is the only location in Panama that offers visitors the experience of travelling through the Panama Canal and exploring the dense jungles and exotic wildlife of the region. Many kayaking tour operators begin this journey from the banks of the Chagres River, which is acclaimed for hosting some of the country’s most challenging grade II and III white water rapids.

Kuna Yala

The San Blas Archipelago is one of the few destinations in Panama that offers the experience of both white water and ocean kayaking. With its unique geography of 365 islands that contain mountains, rivers, beaches and verdant forests, kayaking in the San Blas Islands is an adventure unlike any other. The islands are also home to the Kuna tribe – the indigenous tribe of Panama that still clings to their age old, traditional way of life. Kayaking deep into their scattered settlements and exploring their unique lifestyle and culture is an experience that only San Blas Islands can offer. Kayaking in the San Blas Islands is a year-round activity, but it is recommended to visit between November and March because the days are cool and breezy and there are less chances of rain. 

Coiba National Park

Located in the Gulf of Chiriquí on the Pacific Coast, Coiba National Park is another excellent kayaking destination in Panama. With the exception of a few regions, the location has calm and pleasant waters, which makes it ideal for inexperienced kayakers. Besides its magnificent waters, the islands are also home to some of the rarest species of marine wildlife in Panama. The islands also have one of the largest coral reef farms in the Pacific, which makes paddling through the turquoise blue waters even more enjoyable.

Kayaking for Beginners

Like all adventure sports, kayaking can seem daunting at first. However, the fact is that with professional guidance and equipment, paddling in calm and stable conditions is simple. Moreover, modern equipment is user friendly and safety oriented, making the process much more comfortable for beginners. A quality sea and river kayaking operator will also ensure adequate security and supervision during training. Your hospitality partner in Panama can offer a good number of recommendations of experienced kayaking operators.