Playa Santa Clara has the same pale sand with swaths of gray dirt as the adjacent, and more famous, Playa Blanca. The sea here is usually calm enough for swimming, but isn't a good spot for snorkeling. On those rare occasions when there are waves, you shouldn't go in any deeper than your waist, due to the danger of rip currents. Much of the beach is lined with vacation homes, but the Sheraton Bijao Beach Resort towers sits over its eastern end and the rambling Las Veraneras Restaurant sits behind its western end. The western end can get packed, and littered, on holidays and dry-season weekends, but this beach is quiet most of the year. Amenities: food and drink; parking ($2); toilets. Best for: partiers, swimming, walking.
111 km (69 miles) west of Panama City on CA 1, Santa Clara, Panama