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14 Best Things to do in Panama: 101 Travel Guide

14 mins read
By Zdeněk Macháček/ Unsplash/ Copyright 2022



When you read Panama and things to do in Panama, the best picture is sand beaches, palm trees, tropical forests, and the ravishing beauty surrounding Panama. This post serves as an ultimate travel guide about things to do in Panama and its natural attractions.

To drive out that covid gloom and jump on some exciting adventures and travel after two years of misery and uncertainty sounds like the best plan that could ever exist. Not only does it offer a sense of relaxation but also a pure bliss experience for a stress-free life.

In recent years, the attractions of Panama have gained prodigious attention worldwide, not because it is the perfect coalescence of dreamlike beaches and twilight nights but because the alluring sceneries offer a whole other escapade to the visiting tourists with unbeatable modern-day facilities. Visit Panama and enjoy things to do in Panama like hiking, snorkeling, and horse-riding.

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By Zdeněk Macháček/ Unsplash/ Copyright 2022

If you are tired of searching the net for the things to do in Panama, let’s dive right into what Panama holds for tourists.

Things You Should Know Before Your Trip to Panama

The wide array of things to do in Panama makes it even more famous amongst nature lovers worldwide. Biodiversity that captures your eyes and hooks your soul, clear skies to clear your mind without any pressure, and blue water sceneries to help you add a new chapter of adventure in the book of your ultimate journeys!

The magnificent beauty of Panama offers everything in one spot, from waterfalls and fun things to do in Panama like hiking and diving to visiting tons of national attractions with a unique history.

Surrounded by the Atlantic and Pacific ocean, Panama is a beautiful country. Its capital is a place for tourists who expect beyond expectations, seek the thrill, love modern-day facilities, and enjoy a place that’s a mix of culture and rich heritage.

Not only it is one of the most diverse countries in Central America, but the natural attractions like lush jungles, active volcanoes, splendid sceneries of cascading waterfalls, and the best of it all: Beaches, the sound of crashing waves, people laughing, and enjoying the sun, sand beneath your feet, the sight of beautiful sunsets, and smell of sea air.

Is that all? Heck No! If you are wondering about things to do in Panama, you are at the right spot. This post discusses all you need to do about things to do in Panama and their tourist attractions.

Top 14 Things to Do in Panama: Only Cure to End All Your Shit-tastic Days

In addition to miles of coastlines, Panama is known for its erudition, and the rich lifestyle doesn’t matter if it’s cosmopolitan cities or old rural towns with glamorous history.

If you are looking for a place where you can experience nightlife like LA, a unique atmosphere like Switzerland, and the culture of Goa, look no further! Hundreds of fun things to do in Panama will convert all your surreal adventurous dreams into reality.

Are you wondering about the selling points of Panama and things to do in Panama? Look no further, as this post discusses all you need to know about Panama and things to do in Panama.

Spectacular tourist attractions? Check. Tropical Forests for amazing hiking and camping experience? Check. Renowned waterways? Check. Golden Beaches? Double-check.

1. Boquete: Know Panama’s History and Plan the Best Family Vacations

As the name suggests, Boquete Panama is a cute little town located in the Chiriquí Territory, known for many things. From scenic locations to the best coffee in town, cool climate, and close proximity to an active volcano known as Volcan Baru, Boquete will not disappoint you.

It is located at 3900 ft above sea level at an elevation of 1200 meters, making it the best place for picturesque sceneries and thus gets the title of Panama’s top haven.

The temperature is moderate and ranges from 25C in the daytime to 15C at night. The town is also rich in cultural heritage and historical places relating to the Spanish colonization era. In addition to that, it is a mix of history, rural remains, and the modern world.

With the prime settlement of farmers depending on agriculture and coffee cultivation, Boquete is the best place for a simpler yet luxurious lifestyle.

From wildlife centers, public markets, hiking in rain forests to more cheerful and natural reserve lands of Chiriquí province, the place is the best for mingling with various people and from different professions.

If you are visiting in the summer months, prepare for a welcome visit and plan for the coffee fair and Blue Festival.

At this culturally rich place, you can go hiking, horse-riding, water rafting or rock climbing, and bird watching at amazing spots during the evening. So, what are you waiting for? Pack your bags and take a trip to Panama asap.

2. Bocas del Toro: Heaven with Diversity and Beauty

At Bocas del toro archipelago, beginners and advanced eco-travelers, divers, backpackers, and eco-travelers are most welcome.

It is a collection of islands rich in biodiversity with many places to visit, fun activities to do, interact with friendly locals, and get an idea of the best places to visit, cultural music, and mythological stories.

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By Pablo García Saldaña/ Unsplash/ Copyright 2022

With more than two national parks, white-sand seashores, approachable hosts, and even creepy Bat Caves, Bocas town has something for each one of you.

If you are a party animal, this place has another experience awaiting you. The Filthy Friday Bocas Island Party crawl will offer a temporary escape from your life.

A floating bar, DJ all night long, special swimming area, and floaty races all in just 40$ tickets seems like a good idea. Isn’t it?

Experience the beaten path and visit Panama to enjoy the best beaches. All you need to do is pack your shades, sunscreens, and cute bikinis for Instagram-worthy pictures.

Also, the Dive shops in Bocas Town are the best place if you want to experience bioluminescent plankton while diving at night.

3. Soberania National Park: Exploring Panama 101

An easy 30-minute ride from Panama City lies Soberania National Park, rich in flora and fauna. Not only it’s perfect for your picnic like Pinterest dreams, but it also offers an unforgettable excursion to tourists passionate about nature activities and biodiversity.

Soberania National Park is known as the best and most accessible national park in Panama City. Along with dry rainforest, exotic species, and Chagres River, the place offers the best atmosphere and a cool favorable climate to relax and wander around. This national park also offers private kayaking tours on the Charges River.

Start from Pipeline Road, and from then, take plantation road and begin exploring exotic species and birdwatching while you hike into the valley of beauty. If you are a history buff, you can choose the Camino de Cruces trail, which dates back to 1527.

It was originally created to facilitate the transport of textiles, spices, gold, and wood from Old Panama City to the Chagres River.

4. Santa Catalina, Estero Beach, Read by Seaside and Enjoy Light Tanning

With golden beaches, the sound of waves crashing, and people snorkeling and diving, Santa Catalina is nothing less than a paradise for tourists worldwide. Charming accommodations and exquisite scenery of birds chirping, waves crashing, and small gift shops all around the town inflict a mix of metropolitan culture and a hint of historical heritage.

The fishing villages in Santa Catalina grant the best memories, especially if you are a surfer! It is the best place for barreling waves, breathtaking landscapes, and a cool climate; it is known as the best surfing destination in Central America.

Another place worth visiting on this island is Estero Beach. Estero Beach is a must-visit if you want to enjoy some peaceful sunsets by the beach!

Up for some daring and daunting adventure? Visit La Cresta. The trek of La Cresta is a steep path, and upon the top is the most beautiful scenery you would have ever seen. With the authentic local atmosphere and deep moist smell of soil, Santa Catalina is nothing less than a paradise.

5. The truth of Hidden Gem-Coiba Island: Take a Sailing Trip and Enjoy Premium Village Tours

Coiba Island is quite a striking place for nature lovers and tourists who want to dive right into the adventures the place has to offer.

It is one of the best places in Santa Catalina. Hub of lush green flora, exotic species, and untouched biodiversity is what makes Coiba Island another best place to visit. It is also an extremely rich habitat for humpback whales, sea turtles, marlins, and tropical fish.

If you want to visit a place with exquisite sea life, Coiba Island is it! Go bay sportfishing, spot alligators, go for a freediving session, and enjoy a great day trip while snorkeling in Coiba da Isla.

6. Taboga: Downtown Panama City or The Best Idyllic islands?

Taboga Island is also known as the Island of Flowers and is popular for the rich plant life, scenic white sand beaches, and beautiful palm trees surrounding the beaches.

Taboga Island is located in the Pacific part of the country, residing in the Gulf of Panama area. From Panama city, it is a 20 minutes ride and most definitely is the best weekend getaway.

Taboga Island is prismatic with colors, rich in towering palm trees, and has a wide variety of booze for tourists, with coconut mocktails topping the list.

Houses painted in pastel masquerades blending with tropical forests are a delight for everyone’s eyes. Sip your favorite mocktail by the sea, beat the hit by dipping into calm water, enjoy a wide variety of water sports, and go on a private boat trip for a more intimate experience.

To plan the trip to Taboga, one can start with Cerro de la Cruz, i.e., Cerro Vigia, the highest point on the island. Explore the towns and remains of the Spanish colonial era and magnificent churches.

Taboga being a little tropical island Paradise, never shatters your expectations and offers tons of amazing things to do in Panama. It is all about splendid things doesn’t matter if it’s beaches, trails, history, or the unbeatable natural attraction.

7. Pearl Islands: Best Island of Central America?

Islas de Ias Perlas, also known as Pearl Islands, is a collection of more than 250 small islands. In the Spanish colonization era, many pearls were found on these islands and thus the name.

One of the famous islands is the Contadora island renowned for recreational activities, sophisticated resorts, and comfortable stay. Wondering about things to do in Panama? Pearl Islands can be on your top bucket list.

It is a wealthy island where many Panamanians stay, and thus the island is lively and rich in hotels, luxurious resorts, restaurants, and cabins. On Pearl islands, one can go whale watching, scuba diving, and wander into the jaw-dropping ecosystem of these white sand beaches.

8. El Valle: Paradise of North and South America That No One Talks About

Ever heard of the hidden gem and secret paradise of Panama? Well, look no more, El Valle is the best place that explains the meaning of a hidden gem. El Valle de Anton is two hours from Panama City.

It is a small village located in the valley of an extinct volcano, besieged by forests and rugged hills. Multiple local haunts, wildlife reserves, famous waterfalls, and zoos exist in El Valle.

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By Cristhian Carreño/ Unsplash/ Copyright 2022

If you are hanging by a thread and want a much-needed break, this mountain town can be the perfect spot for your little weekend getaway trip. It is known for its surroundings, fresh gust of wind, and scenic view.

Along with being a popular weekend getaway place, it is also the best place for retirement. One gets the mix of adventures like birdwatching, hiking, horseback riding, and walking into the wild, along with the comfort of waterfalls and natural pools.

Some of the top-notch natural attractions of El Valle are Butterfly Haven, Zoologico El Nispero, and Churro El Macho.

Imagine walking between 250 butterflies as they sway their wings and fill the flight house with vibrant colors. Are you dreaming? Don’t worry, and the wonderful butterfly dream is a reality at butterfly Haven!

As the name suggests, Butterfly Haven is a top attraction where one can take a tour amongst hundreds of butterflies fluttering around.

Another top attraction is Zoologico El Nispero, the famous zoo in town, which harbors exotic creatures from monkeys to capuchins, a wide variety of birds, and some endangered species.

Lastly, Churro El Macho is the best-renowned waterfall in town. Being a 15 minute walk from the road, El Macho offers an experience like no other.

A natural swimming pool ringed in rainforests and short hiking trails into the wildlife is the best plan to enjoy the beauty Panama offers.

9. Ancon Hill: What’s More to Beauty and Nature

Adjacent to the township of Ancon, Ancon Hill is the 199 meters high mountain from where you can catch sight of the entire Panama City. Wonderful views from this large hill in town are what make tourists visit this place again and again.

Historically, Ancon hill was used to administer the efficiency and scalability of the Panama Canal, how the ships are anchoring, and at what location.

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By Franklin Canelon/ Unsplash/ Copyright 2022

Panama Canal is of great importance and holds a political, financial, and strategical authority in the country, and the best place to administer that is Ancon hill. Thus, this large hill became famous for two reasons: beautiful views and government residential.

From the top of the hill, one can overlook the entire Panama City, radio towers, buildings along with Panama Canal, new locks being built, ships waiting for their turns, and larger ships entering the canal.

Panama Canal is an artificial waterway constructed for premium transportation facilities, and the three locks, i.e., Miraflores locks, Gatun locks, and Pedro Miguel locks, are wonders in themselves.

Hail or cab or get into an uber to drive up to Mi Pueblito or the Panama Canal Administration building. From there, the hiking trail is easy and only takes 30mins to reach the top.

The place is known for its magnificent views, enormous flag summit, and a prodigious statue of a renowned author, Amelia Denis de Icaza. If you are wondering about accommodation, don’t worry, the place has tons of apartments with furniture and brand-new appliances.

Tick off Ancon Hill from your Panama Bucket List, and come here to enjoy the best views from your balcony and get a hint of adventurous experience in the wildlife.

10. Trip to San Blas Islands: Fun Things and Top Places to Visit

San Blas Islands is a group of indigenous islands known as Guna Yala Islands. San Blas islands are all about embracing the heritage, culture, and cuisine of the modern world.

The beauty of the San Blas islands is unmatchable, and that is the only reason why it attracts thousands of tourists per month.

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By Azzedine Rouichi/ Unsplash/ Copyright 2022

With rich marine life, go for a boat ride in the sea, deep-sea fishing in the rainy season, and a few American chain restaurants on-site, San Blas islands offer a rich experience to anyone visiting for a few days. Visit Panama’s capital city and enjoy the hiking trails and serenity of national parks!

11. Casco Viejo: Top List of Natural Beauty and Famous Attraction

It has the Hippest neighborhood, colorful walls, old colonial accommodations, and cute brick streets, which is enough to turn your dream Pinterest vacation board into reality. The best thing about Casco Viejo is the wide range of coffee.

Casco Viejo is known for a plethora of things. While some love the most expensive Geisha coffee, some can’t stop talking about the rum-packed drinks, open-air restaurants, rooftop bars, top-notch citrus-sharp ceviche, live dance, and hottest nightclubs.

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By Ángel López/ Unspalsh/ Copyright 2022

Even if you wander aimlessly, you will encounter beautiful colonial buildings, mansions, and Cathedral churches with the surprising history behind them.

Casco Viejo is a mix of cultures from the best museums to art galleries and jazz bars and represents the symmetry between wild nature and wild nightlife.

Unbeatable glamour of the nightlife of Panama with stunning picturesque sceneries, Casco Viejo serves as one spot for tourists wanting to introduce themselves to a crazy nightlife and discover traditions through food, art, and colonial establishments. Pack your bags and visit the famous tourist attractions of Casco Viejo.

12. Lax Lajas: Fun Things to Do in Panama City

Nothing beats a Luxurious resort, turquoise water, calm atmosphere, and cool climate on vacation. For a cozy and convenient stay, Lax Lajas is the best place.

Whether you are in Panama for your honeymoon or a usual boy’s trip, Lax Lajas is the perfect combination of serenity and good food.

Being located in the Chiriquí province, the town is 5km away from the beach. Good food and premium established restaurants never disappoint any tourist.

Along with food, cute grocery stores, furnished rentals with oceanfront lots, and no bugs and mosquitoes to disturb your peaceful stay, Lax Lajas speaks of beauty and comfort all at the same time.

Next to Lax Lajas Beach, one can get a relaxing massage at Beach Massage Panama. If you’ve stumbled across this hidden gem, all the hiking and scuba diving have made you extremely tired.

Considering that, the place best Lomi Lomi Nui and Shiatsu Massage while you enjoy the salty air breeze and ocean view.

Calm water, picturesque views of palm trees all over, and beer watching the sunset? There could not be any other better vacation idea than this. Thanks to the premium transportation facilities, visiting Panama has never been easier.

13. Portobelo: Hot Springs, Charming Sandy Beach, and Much More

Puerto Bello, located in east-central Panama, is situated about 32km northeast of Colon. As the name suggests, i.e., Beautiful Harbor Porobelo is a gorgeous place with rich culture, historical background, display of traditions, and immense beauty.

Not only is it popular for the Spanish fortification ruins that are assigned as UNESCO World Heritage site, but it is also popular for the annual fair and festivities.

This small town offers a serene atmosphere with quaint fishing boats swaying in the sea, lush flora and fauna with calm turquoise water, and relics of the legacy and history behind colonization. From cute Spanish colonial-era houses to fun things to do in Panama, Portobelo is a must-visit destination.

At Portobelo, the famous forts that speak of history and display the colonial towns’ efforts in building an exquisite marvel piece are Fort Santiago and San Jeronimo. One can explore cannons, watchtowers, and colonial-era weapons dating back to the 1600s.

Now that you know how fun Portobelo can be get there from Panama City in a car, bus, or a taxi in two hours or less. Portobelo is also known for its congo culture. While visiting this small village, prepare to pack your comfort boots and camera to record and enjoy the special celebrations like theatrical dances, Congo Game dance, and annual fairs.

14. Biomuseo: A Day Trip to Boutique Hotels, What Else?

Are you more of an aesthetic artist type and wondering about the best things to do in Panama? Don’t worry; Panama holds something very special for you, and that is the most exquisite museum ever built- Biomuseo.

The building was created keeping in mind the educational needs of people in general. The main objective was to create a tourist attraction that helps tourists understand the country’s natural heritage. From water resources to forests, the building is a hub for people who wants to know how and why Panama became so famous amongst people.

The museum is responsible for bringing the top-notch scientific resources to one spot and attracting more than a million tourists per year.

Biomuseo inflicts the story of colonization, its natural history, biodiversity, and the events that inspired the change. The educational session reference from Biomuseo addresses thousands of students, and that too is free of charge.

Conclusion: Visit Panama Canal and Get an Experience in The Pacific Ocean

In Panama City, go for a visit to Coiba national park, enjoy the sceneries of Bocas del toro, enjoy the red frog beach, visit costa Rica, go to Santa Fe national park and enjoy their hiking trails or go to the Panama Canal Museum. No matter your plan, visiting Panama City will be the best decision ever.

Now that you are well acquainted with the fun things to do in Panama come and relish every minute of your journey in Panama. Tech and trek! Hike and explore native creatures! Experience the glitz and glamour of prodigious casinos and the unbeatable luxuries of many skyscrapers hotels. Go kayaking and get the best of your adventures!

Also read: Pink Sand Clearwater Beach Florida.

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