Things to do in Panama City & Beyond
Surely Panama is a nation with incredible places and there are a lot of things to do in Panama City you should not miss.
Panama is abundant in culture, background, practice, art, and also lush nature loaded with vegetation as well as fauna.
The funding, Panama City, is the largest city in the nation as well as is loaded with attractions that are enjoyable for the entire household.
Site visitors can start their exploration at Panama Viejo to see the damages of the site of the original settlement.
Well known for the Panama Canal, visitors can learn more about this renowned river and also obtain an up-close and also individual check out the many vessels that traverse it daily.
Whether discovering the country’s past, appreciating its golden coastlines, zip-lining via the lush woodlands or eating the tasty foods, there’s something for everybody in Panama.
In Panama City, you’ll find a contemporary metropolitan area with shopping, dining, and a variety of attractions and also points to do, including the nation’s most famous website, the Panama Canal.
Many first-time visitors head to Casco Viejo, the Old Town, to absorb the ambience and also see a little of the city’s background.
However, for many site visitors, Panama City is just a starting factor before they go out on experiences with other components of the nation.
For suggestions to help intend your trip, see our listing of things to do in Panama City.
Visiting Panama Tips
There are too many Things to do in Panama City indeed.
First of all, here are some recommendations for planning your visit to this amazing Central American destination.
When to visit Panama
An ultimate exotic country, Panama has 2 periods: the completely dry season from December to April, as well as the rainy period.
Going to Panama in the rainy period implies more difficult conditions when driving, but additionally less expensive costs.
SUGGESTION: Please note that while on the Pacific shore the distinction between dry and stormy seasons might make sense, it won’t on the Caribbean side of the nation.
Guided tours of Panama
Not a fan of preparation, or you do not have time for it? Fret not!
Among the best things to do in Panama City, is check these extremely great directed excursions of Panama and leave the planning to the experts:
- Best of Panama– an 8-day G Adventure trip that takes you to one of the most beautiful areas to see in Panama;
- Costa Rica and Panama quest– 16 outings with G Journey’s ideal for adventure and also nature lovers;
- Panama experience: cloud woodland and also canals– a 2-week G Experiences tour that goes to Panama and also Costa Rica as well as is excellent for a more youthful crowd.
Arriving in Panama
The only international airport terminal in Panama is that of Panama City.
You will certainly be issued a 90 days visa yet will be required to reveal evidence of separation from the nation in the kind of an aircraft ticket back to your house country.
Crossing the border
The only border going across in Panama is that with Costa Rica.
The procedure of crossing the border is reasonably easy, offered that you reveal evidence that you are leaving the nation.
There is no border going across in between Panama and Colombia– going across the Darién Gap threatens and also would certainly need outstanding making it through abilities.
The location is under the control of guerrilla competitors as well as drug traffickers, not to mention dengue high temperature is also a concern, along with other diseases that are spread in tropical countries as well as for which I recommend obtaining travelling vaccinations.
The only means to get from Panama to Colombia is therefore to either take a flight or to sail throughout San Blas (which anyways is one of the leading points to do in Panama).
There made use of to be a ferryboat solution however it was later put on hold till more notice.
Viva Colombia is a spending plan airline company that links Panama City with Bogotà and Medellin at really reasonable prices.
Safety in Panama
I did not have any kind of troubles when I travelled in Panama, nor did I experience any type of risk.
Having said so, crime is certainly a concern in some parts of Panama, such as in Colón (which is the major link point between Panama City and Portobelo, and a significant complimentary port) and also in the above pointed-out Darién Space.
I also observed that medications were streaming freely in Bocas del Toro.
TIP: Make sure to avoid roads that have little or no illumination in the evening as well as not to stroll around alone in the evening.
Transportation in Panama
Panama City has a great public bus system that connects almost all of the community, as well as a newly opened up underground system.
Long-range buses are typically comfortable as well as punctual, as well as tickets can be purchased in development using firms and even online.
Shorter ranges are typically covered by poultry buses, common in all of Central America.
These have a repaired route as well as they quit to allow passengers on and also off along the road, so they can be fairly slow-moving– yet a very excellent method to blend in with the residents, not to point out extremely inexpensive.
I would certainly say that hopping on a poultry bus is among the points to do in Panama.
Eating and drinking in Panama
Food in Panama is rather comparable to that of the rest of Central America– at least to my tastebuds.
The easiest (as well as least expensive) point to consume is poultry with patacones (fried plantains croquettes) and rice.
Yet, among the leading things to do in Panama is eat fresh seafood.
Panama City has a wonderful restaurant scene as well as the fish market is a wonderful place to have some good seafood.
Fruit in Panama is fresh as well as tasty so one of the very best points to do in Panama is to have fresh fruit or fruit smoothie mixes.
Water is not safe and clean, and it is a great policy to avoid it, particularly in Bocas del Toro.
Beer is the most usual alcoholic drink.
Apart from bottled beer, La Rana Dorada in Panama City is an excellent brewery– one of the things to do in Panama is be there!
What to pack for a trip to Panama
One of the smart points to do in Panama is take a trip with a knapsack instead of a travel suitcase.
Roads can be negative, making it tough to carry a travelling bag.
I love the Osprey Ariel 65 because it fits me flawlessly. The Berghaus Wilderness 65 +15 is fantastic too, yet bigger.
Best things to do in Panama City
Explore Panama City
One of the most effective things to do in Panama is to see its capital, Panama City.
This is the most cosmopolitan resource in Central America. I believe it is the most intriguing and gorgeous funding of the continent, indeed.
I wholeheartedly suggest going on a led excursion to Panama City, to begin with, to ensure that you get to know the city a bit.
You can then proceed to discover on your own.
These are the finest scenic tours of Panama City:
- Panama City day tour– most likely the most total option in regards to tours, as you reach see many of the city. Terrific value for cash.
- Hop On Hop Off sightseeing bus– this is an outstanding method to see all the highlights of the city.
- The Panama Canal as well as City Strolling Scenic tour with a regional– an excellent means of finding the historic parts of town with somebody who understands the city within out.
- Panama City and also Canal half-day tour — you should visit the Canal, and also this is the very best tour that takes you there as well as to the city.
- The Panama Canal Miraflores Locks trip– a great tour of the Panama Canal, with views of Miraflores Locks.
- Panama City layover scenic tour — if you are tight promptly, this is the tour you want.
- Delicious Panama City food trip– a superb excursion to find the city with its numerous flavours.
Panama City is a continuous job in development. It is a substantial building site where new high-rise buildings continue filling in the horizon.
The city is rather much separated into 2 almosts: the modern town, with the skyscrapers, the contemporary structures (and also the web traffic) and the old city, or Casco Viejo, where repair jobs have been continuous to bring it back to its original splendour.
You will enjoy this comparison between contemporary and also antique: the minute you are strolling through history as well as the next you leap back into the future.
Among the leading things to do in Panama City is admiring the skyline from the Paseo las Bóvedas in Casco Viejo.
From there you can likewise see the Puente de las Américas (Bridge of the Americas), which curves over the waterway and where the ships line to get into the Panama Canal.
Also understood as San Felipe or Casco Antiguo, Casco Viejo is Panama City’s historical district.
The settlement was completed in 1763 and also was built following a terrible pirate attack that had destroyed the previous buildings.
The district was named a UNESCO World Heritage Website in 1997 and also houses many websites as well as destinations for visitors to delight in.
A of one of the most visited are the El Palacio de las Garzas, which is the governmental workplace as well as the residence of the President of Panama.
Another favourite is La Catedral Metropolitana, which is the main Catholic temple in Panama City, as well as the church and also convent of Saint Francis of Assisi.
Attend the Panama Jazz Festival
Panama City is the jazz funding of Central America, and also among the ideal points to do in Panama there is going to the Panama Jazz Festival which generally occurs yearly in January.
If you love jazz, it is a must!
Visit the Panama Canal
The Panama Canal is among the unmissable places to go to in Panama.
Not much from Panama City, it is among those attractions that anybody visiting Panama will certainly love.
There is an extremely intriguing museum that has a wonderful display of photos as well as documents on the building of the Canal.
Yet, it is undeniable that of the leading things to do in Panama is admire the massive ships that go across the Panama Canal at the Miraflores Locks.
They currently also market watercraft excursions of the Panama Canal online.
These are the most effective excursions of the Panama Canal:
- 6 hr Panama Canal cruise — this trip lets you see the canal from the viewpoint of the boat: a really special experience.
- Panama City as well as Canal half-day trip — this is the very best tour that takes you to the Canal as well as to the city.
- Panama Canal Miraflores Locks tour– a really good excursion of the Panama Canal during which you obtain incredible views of Miraflores Locks.
Bridge of the Americas
Puente de las Americas, or Bridge of the Americas, was originally called the Thatcher Ferry Bridge.
Located in Panama City, the bridge covers the Pacific Sea entrance to the Panama Canal and has a total length of over 1, 654 meters.
Until 2004, it was one of the only non-swinging bridges attaching North and also South America.
The bridge played a large role in the global profession, as its addition enhanced roadway website traffic across the canal.
Visitors can appreciate the excellent site of the bridge as well as go through the pedestrian walkways to get stunning sights of the environment.
Cerro Azul is a mountain community that’s a quick 40 mins away from the bustle of Panama City.
Looking Like the Swiss Alps in terms of weather as well as views, this small town is perfect for a sudden weekend escape.
The trip takes site visitors to an elevation of roughly 3, 000 feet and also uses spectacular sight of the valleys listed below.
In the process, site visitors will find an abundant screen of blossoms such as large bougainvillaea and also orchids in varying colours and sizes.
Outdoorsy visitors will love checking out the rivers and also streams that cascade down to Chagres National Forest.
Coronado is a beach community in Panama that’s popular with tourists as well as living deportees.
The seaside community is only an hr far from Panama City and provides fantastic black and also white sand beaches that lead bent on the Pacific Ocean.
Among one of the most well-developed hotel towns in Panama, Coronado uses greater than simply a rejuvenating ocean dip as well as sun showering.
Visitors can spend their time playing a round of golf or even finding out if they wear ‘t understand how.
They can likewise go horseback riding on the coastline, browse, go shopping for keepsakes, and also eat at some outstanding restaurants.
Nightlife includes live music as well as beachside bars that keep the event going up until well into the night.
The Ancon Hillside book is a 654-foot-high foothill that was as soon as used as an administration website for the Panama Canal.
The untaught hill is the greatest factor in Panama City and supplies outstanding breathtaking sights of the hub below.
Visitors can reach the top with a 30-minute walk and afterwards take place to explore the forest areas.
The walking can take 1.5 to 2 hrs and also is finest done early in the early morning to prevent the heat.
Visitors will certainly encounter wild animals such as nine-banded armadillos, sloths, deer, and also Geoffroy’s tamarins.
Ornithology enthusiasts will certainly take pleasure in recognizing the 39 various bird varieties that see the hill.
Biomuseo – things to do in Panama City
Intending to develop and also maintain a bio-diverse tropical centre for people to much better understand, appreciate, and also discover, the non-profit Amador Structure opened up the Biomuseo.
Backed by the prestigious Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, this is a terrific place for visitors to better comprehend the country’s waters, woodlands, and various other natural resources.
The building was developed by world-renowned engineer Frank Gehry and has 8 galleries and a biodiversity park.
Site visitors of all ages will certainly take pleasure in walking around the park, a living expansion of the gallery, real estate native to the island and also native plants of the land.
Edificio 136, Calzada de Amador, Amador Causeway 136, Panama City, Panama, Phone: +507-830-6700
Where to Sleep and Eat in Panama City
Where to sleep in Panama City
Panama City is the sort of location where you truly need to publish well ahead of time.
I truly did not have any kind of when I got here, as well as additionally invested over an hour walking Casco Viejo, bringing my knapsack, to inevitably situate a dorm bed in a distressing hostel called The White Lion.
I would certainly not suggest that to anybody!
If you intend to remain in Casco Viejo, La Concordia Store Resort is a terrific alternative: it has fantastic decoration as well as it lies close to all the nicest Panama site visitor destinations.
In the new community, Baru Lodge is an amazing location to continue to be: comfortable spaces with a/c (which is a true blessing in the warm of Panama), great wifi, remarkable breakfast and also an extremely terrific team.
The area is ‘ t the most effective as it is a little bit far from the main visitor destinations of Casco Viejo, but it is well attached utilizing bus and also absolutely silent, making particular an excellent night remainder.
This is a choice of areas to stay in Panama City:
- La Concordia Boutique Hotel
- Central Hotel Panama
- Villa Palma Boutique Hotel
- American Trade Hotel
- Lunas Castle Hostel
- Baru Lodge
Where to eat and drink in Panama City
Panama is more costly than the remainder of Central American countries, so eating out can be expensive.
A great area for a yummy and also low-cost meal is the Mercado de Mariscos.
The first stage is lined with little eateries where USD 1 can acquire a portion of ceviche (marinated raw fish) as well as a beer, whereas on the top flooring there is a good restaurant that offers cooked dishes at an affordable cost.
For an excellent craft beer head to La Rana Dorada.
There are two areas in the area– one in Casco Viejo and one in the brand-new town. They additionally serve pub-style food.
Bastimentos, in Bocas del Toro, is believed to be one of the locations to go to in Panama
Find more exciting things to do in Panama City
Hang out in Bocas del Toro Archipelago
Considered to be among the best Caribbean destinations, Bocas del Toro is absolutely amongst the areas to go to in Panama.
This exotic island chain is a favourite of backpackers, to the factor that it can obtain very crowded at particular times of the year.
The very best method to uncover Bocas del Toro is by boat.
Panama has spent a whole lot on Bocas del Toro, however, while several of the islands have been developed in a sustainable method, various other locations have endured the results of uncontrolled development.
It is not uncommon to see huge stacks of rubbish around Bocas Community, the largest town on the island chain– something that takes away a little bit of Bocas del Toro’s beauty, in my viewpoint.
In Bocas del Toro you can exercise all sorts of water sporting activities such as kayaking, snorkelling as well as searching.
There are some trekking trails (though trekking in the damp warm is not ideal) too.
Several of the very best Panama beaches are to be found in Bocas del Toro, such as Wizard Beach and also Red Frog Coastline (on Isla Bastimentos).
Red frogs are found on Red Frog coastline– among Panama beaches
If Bocas Community is crowded and also unclean, Isla Bastimentos is everything about nature and also incredibly quiet.
The main village there is Old Financial institution– no greater than a couple of houses along a dirt road, no cars, and whole lots of jungle.
It is a wonderful location to relax, walk (though it usually rains and also it is much better to put on rain boots or great walking footwear, or else it is impossible to stroll) as well as admire nature.
Make certain to likewise go on a watercraft trip that walks around different coastlines and also some of the best spots for snorkelling and also admiring the marine life.
Where to sleep and eat in Bocas del Toro
Bocas Town has a wide range of accommodation options available.
However, most budget options do not accept reservations, making it seriously troublesome to find a bed during peak season.
A fairly good place that takes reservations and is run by a lovely Italian couple is Hotel Cala Luna. Old Bank, in Bastimentos, has some fairly good options which include Al Natural.
This is a selection of places to stay in Bocas del Toro:
Maroa Beach House Hostal Hansi Casa Abundancyah Hotel Cala Luna Al Natural Oasis Bluff Beach
With regards to eating options, there are some good and pricey restaurants in Bocas Town, as well as many small eateries where the quality of the food is sparse.
Old Bank options are more limited.
A good place in Bocas Town is Alberto’s Pizzeria, run by a Sardinian couple and which makes some good quality pizza.
Relax in Las Lajas
Las Lajas, on the Pacific coastline, rarely makes it on the checklist of locations to check out in Panama.
Yet, of all the Panama beaches, this is one you are most likely to take pleasure in a lot.
It is off the ruined course compared to the remainder of the nation as well as satisfying.
Playa Las Lajas is a 20 km long beach of fine light brown sand, lined with hand trees.
The water is cosy so it hardly supplies a break from the warmth, yet it is enjoyable to play among the waves.
You can likewise bike along the beach and also observe the crabs as they entered and also out of their holes.
Among the ideal things to do in Panama is admire the sundown on Panama coastlines along the Pacific Coast.
Where to sleep and eat in Las Lajas
When I saw Las Lajas, I tried to remain at Hospedaje Ecologico Nahual yet it was a little as well “ecologic” for me.
I left the same evening I showed up since I did not appreciate the company of cockroaches.
An excellent place to stay is Naturalmente Boutique Bungalows.
My suggestion if you do not want to make bookings is to take a trip early and get to Las Lajas when there is still light, to make sure that it is much easier to get to a good area.
This is an option of locations to stay in Las Lajas, some in the village, others at the coastline:
Johnny Fiestas Trip LC Bed and Morning Meal Las Lajas Beach Hotel Naturalmente Shop Bungalows
Fresh fish and shellfish are offered in the numerous small eateries along the coastline.
There are additionally some top-range restaurants.
Review much more concerning the disagreement I had in Las Lajas on my message “Exactly how to suggest while travelling.”
Portobelo is a lovely angling town with a good Caribbean feeling and an amazing, peaceful bay.
It’s an area where boats headed to San Blas on their means to Colombia dock.
The town itself is a nice place to discover and unwind and a good beginning point for brows through to neighbouring beaches and also websites, and also I recommend including it among the places to visit in Panama.
A good location to remain in Portobelo is El Otro Lado– it’s a wonderful location to wait on the separation of the sailing watercraft to San Blas.
Right here’s a selection of locations to remain in Portobelo:
El Otro Lado Casa Congo Cocoplum
Sail the San Blas Archipelago
Sailing across San Blas is believed to be just one of the unmissable things to do in Panama, but it is less complicated said than done.
Also on good days, the Atlantic ocean is harsh as well as it takes a great tummy not to feel ill.
USEFUL INFO: Numerous firms are doing the crossing employing sailing boat, and also depending on the season it might be essential to publish well ahead of time.
The common rate for the crossing is USD 550, which generally includes food yet not liquors, yet you can bring those aboard.
Some businesses supply cheaper prices, yet in my experience paying a less expensive rate might in some cases relate to obtaining scammed– having an small watercraft that brings way too many travellers, for instance– indicating that there is no room to move, to remain on the deck, etc
. TIP: Ensure to do your research as well as read all the reviews before booking your San Blas cruising trip!
There are additional firms that offer to do the going across through speed watercraft, where travellers just invest 3 hrs per day on the watercraft as well as rest and also eat on the small islands.
This is the ideal option if you do not delight in sailing a lot and also considering that even more time is spent on the islands, it’s an excellent possibility to reach satisfy the regional neighbourhoods.
San Blas Adventures used to have the monopoly of rate boats, now there is a lot more business supplying to do the journey, like Mia San Blas and also San Blas Frontera.
These firms operate in cooperation with the Kuna Yala, so these will certainly be benefiting directly from the tourist.
If you are limited promptly, you can take place a field trip to San Blas leaving from Panama City similar to this one that you can book utilizing Get Your Guide.
It’s a lengthy day– you leave the city at 5:00 am. But worth it as well as it comes very recommended.
If time is not a problem, publish this 4-day sailing trip.
Learn more regarding my ill fortunes in my article “How to be a not successful backpacker.”
Find out more about my devastating effort at cruising on my post “San Blas cruising.”
Where to rest and also consume in San Blas
Although San Blas is becoming a more popular destination in Panama tourism, there aren’t that many places to sleep in the archipelago.
One of the best things to do in Panama, where possible, is camping on a beach – but you need permission to do so.
People who visit San Blas usually do so during a sailing trip and they sleep on board, so accommodation is hardly a problem anyways.
Other than that, there are a few places scattered around, as well as some local eateries where the food isn’t great.
It’s interesting to note that although these are islands and seafood should be easily available, the main thing available is chicken!
Most places are very expensive for the kind of accommodation they offer.
These are some good places in San Blas:
Kuna Yala is definitely in line with the lifestyle of the locals: very modest. Similar is the style of San Blas Guanidup Cabins.
It’s also possible to secure a cabin on a sailing boat now.