Panama is so much more than its famed canal. The country’s curvy, narrow land mass serves as a physical—and cultural—land bridge between North and South America. But despite its global significance, Panama is often overlooked by tourists.
While Panama is more expensive than the rest of Central American countries, its natural beauty is unsurpassed. Imagine hundreds of idyllic, deserted islands scattered through warm seas; densely forested wilderness; creatures as incredible as those in Dr. Seuss’s most imaginative books. Panama’s skinny isthmus holds all this, and much more.
When Should I Go ?
Panama’s rainy season usually between June and November, with rainfall much higher on the Pacific side of the country.
In Panama, Holy Week (the week of Easter) is similar to Semana Santa in Guatemala, with colorful religious processions and festivities. In February or March, Panama celebrates Carnaval, a boisterous nationwide fiesta most notable for its lively water fights. Visit Kuna Yala in February to see the grand Independence Day celebration of the indigenous Kuna people. Book a room early during any holiday, and be prepared to pay extra.
Where to go?
BOCAS DEL TORO
This Islands of Bocas del Toro are the essence and reflection of the Panamanian Caribbean.This paradise will delight you with its coral reefs,its multicultural diversity,its natural beauty that surrounds the archipelago and its exotic species of flora and fauna. The happy lifestyle of the bocas people will capture your senses with their music,their Afro-Caribbean flavors and their mythological stories. Bocas del Toro will become your best experience to tell.
Cocle is the origin of ancient stories in its immaculate painted stones,the sunrises at the sleeping India mountain , the song of birds , the taste of fish by the shore of the beach,the radiant light of the sun reflected in its waters , the flow of rivers and beaches meeting and the sound of its waterfalls waiting to be discovered by an adventurous soul.
The beauty of its landscapes, its exuberant beaches , its historical routes full of fortresses, canyons and stories of pirates , its exquisite cuisine , its diversity of races and colorful culture , the warmth of its people , its international shopping Centre ( Free Zone ) are some of the charms that will surprise you when visiting Colon. This province, historically characterized by welcoming different cultures has become the center of a melting pot of races in Panama.
Get ready to enjoy each day of an awakening with the trilling of fascinating birds,the opportunity to explore trails and unique hanging birdges on the mountains,as well as the chance to taste an exquisite cuisine. Come and embrace the clouds at the top of the Baru Volcano and discover the beauties of the sunrise on the shore of the “Playa Conectate “ and the hospitality of the Chiriqui people.
Panama is a cosmopolitan, dynamic city , where the modern and the traditional come together to create a cheerful and relaxed atmosphere. Here you can walk on the Cinta Costera and contemplate the beauty of the modern city,and you can discover the past and have fun at the Old Town of the capital city. The Panama Canal will amaze you with its engineering and its relevance in the global economy.If you are looking to make your purchases , Panama offers a wide range of shopping centers , with excellent offers on their merchandise.
In Los Santos , the past and tradition remain latent in the hearts of its people.The people of Los Santos will surprise you with their religious excitement when celebrating “El Corpus” where you can experience folklore in a different context. From June to October , you will have the opportunity to witness a wonderful show: Whale watching. In this province you will be able to wake up with the sun touching your window and you will enjoy its amazing waves with your surfboard. This magical and unique land invites you to be part of its advanture.
Visit “The Pearl between tow Oceans “ and get ready to conquer the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean. Let yourself be carried away by its majestic mountains , its biodiversity ,its imposing waterfalls and beautiful beaches with perfect waves to venture into them with your surfboard. Veraguas’s gastronomy and the warmth of its people will become the perfect complement to your great adventure.
Enjoy “La Perla “ ! An advanture , one day at a time.
Herrera , the land where no one is stranger , is characterized by the kindness of its people. Their colonial houses witnessed fascinating historical events. Surprise yourself with Ocu and its love for folklore, la pollera and the hat. Live the joy , the charm and the majestic dances of traditional festivities such as corpus Christi , in Partia and the carnivals, Taste the unforgettable flavors and smells of the artisan bread from La Arena and discover the beautiful valley of the town of Pese.
Top 5 Things to See and Do in Panama
The Panama Canal
Opened in 1914, the Panama Canal is 50 miles long and raises ships up from the Pacific through Panama, before lowering them back down again to the Caribbean. The canal uses three sets of locks: Miraflores and Pedro Miguel Locks on the Pacific side and Gatun Locks on the Caribbean side. Most tourists visit the Miraflores Locks from Panama city.
Hang out in Bocas del Toro
Bocas is Panama’s most popular tourist/backpacker destination, combining a laid-back Caribbean attitude with the beautiful natural setting of jungles, forests and mangroves.Surfing is extremely popular here and there are always water taxi around to take you to a secluded cove or to the best snorkeling spots.
Relax in Boquetes
Boquete is a charming little village located in the mountainous region of the Chiriqui Highlands. There’s a ton of coffee plantations,’Mi Jardin es Su Jardin’ (one of the top three private gardens in the world) , great hiking opportunities and some world class food.
Sale the san Blas Islands
This collection of Island is a popular spot for sailing and best tours, through there are resorts in case you want to be in one place. The islands are very rustic and a great off-the-grid place. There are many great and beautiful spots for good sailing,diving and snorkeling. A 4-5 day cruise will cost around 425 USD per person.
Tour a coffee Plantation
Panama is up with Colombia, Peru and Costa Rica when it comes to quality coffee. Consider visiting a plantation in Boquete , such as Café Ruiz or Finca Lerida,both of which have good tours and give you a detailed history. Prices for tours range from 10-25 USD and include a coffee tasting.
Local Panamanian food
Panama has delicious food! Panamanian food is great (and has a Caribbean twist with a focus on seafood) but you’ll also find Italian, Mexican, and more here. A simple dish here would be beans, rice, some chicken with spice on it, and some plantain chips or the famous Panama chicken stew (which is yummy!). Everything is very fresh and locally made. If you don’t like seafood you might struggle in the San Blas islands where they don’t have meat. There is no electricity to keep it cold). You will need to pack snacks if you don’t eat meat or seafood.
Souvenirs in Panama
Panama has a great number of handicrafts and souvenirs for travelers to purchase. Panama’s indigenous groups make some of the best souvenirs, including molas (handmade blouses), decorative baskets, carved tagua nuts, wooden figures, and beaded jewelry. Other popular souvenirs include coffee, paintings, t-shirts, and hats. There are street vendors in places like Panama City and Bocas del Toro, as well as small souvenir shops scattered across the country. However, don’t wait until the last minute to buy something — the Tocumen International Airport has very few options.