If Patrick and Wingnut from the 1994 surfing movie Endless Summer II surfed a time machine to present-day Tamarindo, they'd fall off their boards. A quarter century of hedonism has transformed the once-dusty burg into 'Tamagringo,' whose perennial status as Costa Rica’s top surf and party destination has made it the first and last stop for legions of tourists.
Santa Catalina is one of Central America's top surf spots. Indeed, the right and left breaks here are comparable to Oahu’s Sunset Beach on a good day. The fishing village has a laid-back feel, with limited dining and nonexistent nightlife. Enjoy it while it’s still remote, undeveloped and home to some seriously wicked surf.
Palm trees and white-sand beaches form the backdrop to this lovely little island, just 15km from Portobelo. A popular getaway for Panama City folk fleeing the urban grind, Isla Grande is an ideal setting for snorkeling, scuba diving or simply soaking up the island’s relaxed vibe. There are no roads, just a path along the eastern island perimeter.