Hey SR, I'm originally from Laguna Beach, Ca so I believe I am a bit of an authority on great Beach Towns. I have lived in the Bocas del Toro archipeligo of Islands on the Caribbean coast of Panama for going on 8 yrs and can tell you, you won't find more of a magical beach setting in all Central America. The combination of scenic views, nature exploring both under and above water, nite life, Hotel settings clear blue waters with unbelievable beaches cannot be surpassed in either countries. Most travelers will tell you Panama is relatively safer and less expensive than Costa Rica, and in "Bocas" the language Barrier is less pronounced. You will be amazed by the choices in restaurant fares and drinking establishments, also we are known for being a popular safe haven for single travelers, especially Europeans, and you will love the International flavour of the area. When in Bocas, consider staying on one of the outer Islands for a true Caribbean experience.