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If you are looking for that perfect family beach, then Playa Panama Costa Rica is it. Located near the entrance to the Gulf of Papagayo in the province of Guanacaste, this beach is protected from the waves by the long point to the south and also the western peninsula of the Gulg of Papagayo. It is nearly impossible and a very rare occurrence, for large swells and waves to impact this beach.
The beach is large, shallow and gentle sloping. Rocks are only present on the far south and north ends of the beach. This is not one of those white sand beaches as the sand is darker and can get very hot during prolong sunshine, especially during the months from December to May when there are few clouds and very warm air temperatures.
Playa Panama is located about 6 miles (10km) and 15 minutes north of Playas del Coco on route 159. If accessing from the south, as most do, you will pass by Playa Hermosa on the way to Playa Panama.
The road is a paved, 2 lane road in excellent condition. Four wheel drive is not required to access this beach.
There are three entrances to access Playa Panama. Traveling north, the first one that you will come across is the "oeste" or west entrance, even though it is really on the southern portion of the beach. Turn left on the paved street and after a short distance, you will see the entrance to the Occidental Papagayo resort. Park on the side of the street as close to the entrance of the resort as you can. The beach access trail is located right next to the entrance to the Occidental resort and is about 400m or 1/4 mile long.
If you continue to drive north, the next entrance is called the "centro" or central. It is located right next to the police station.
My personal preference is to continue driving north to the "este" or east entrance. This is where the Mangroove hotel is located. This entrance turns into a dirt road with lots of trees providing shade. By entering here, you really end up in the perfect spot, the center of the beach.
All parking lots have parking attendants that charge between 2,000 and 3,000 colones. It doesn't matter how long you plan on staying, 10 minutes or 10 hours, still the same rate. In general, the attendants look over the area to insure that your car is safe. However, don't assume that something left out in your car in clear sight won't be stolen. It is no different in Costa Rica than any other country in the world, including the United States. Leave it out and you have a good chance of it being gone upon your return. Always put things away and out of sight before arriving to your destination.