Panama is an amazing place to visit. Like most of the countries in Central America, Panama has a lot to offer. Whether you like relaxing on the beach, hiking extinct volcanoes, or enjoying city life, you will find something to keep you busy.
We continue to hear about Panama throughout history books in referencing the Canal and nowadays as a hot spot to go for a girls’ trip. Here are some of our favorite spots to go in Panama:
If you are on a time crunch, Panama City and Bocas del Toro are the two most popular destinations.
Casco Viejo is the historical part of the city with a colonial feel. A lot of the buildings are modeled to look exactly like they did during Henry Morgan’s time. There are tons of restaurants and little bars, plus it’s right near the water where you can get an excellent view of the new city.
In the modern part of town, Uruguay Street is bustling with activity. During the day, you can ride bikes along the cornice or explore the fish market. There are also countless bars and restaurants and it’s safe to check out at night. Just make sure to taxi from your hotel/hostel and stick with a group. I recommend Habibi’s. It’s an excellent restaurant with delicious Arabic food, sheesha, and belly dancing.
Panama City also offers buses to other locations for cheap. It is easy to head to David, Bocas, or even San Blas (amazing island tours) from the city. Most hostels and hotels can help with booking.
Bocas del Toro
Bocas Town is known for being a hotspot for backpackers. It is a great place to station yourself so that you can explore all of the islands and beaches that surround Isla Colon. My favorite beach was Playa Bluff—a great spot for surfing. Red Frog beach was beautiful as well. All of the beaches are an easy shuttle ride away.
The benefit of staying in Bocas Town is that you are in the center of everything. There are a number of good restaurants and fun bars. Bocas also has a microbrewery, Bocas Brewing Company, which serves delicious beer and amazing bar food.
If you have more time or prefer to check out locations that are off the beaten path, these are some other great recommendations of where to go on your Panamanian holiday:
El Valle de Anton
El Valle de Anton is located in the central highlands of Panama. It is a gorgeous town famous for hiking and zip lining. This is a great place for adventure-seeking travelers.
The town of La Palma isn’t actually that impressive. However, it is a jumping off point to visit the Punta Patiño Nature Reserve and Emberá villages along the Río Sambu. If you are interested in experiencing true native culture and the beauty of Panama, this is a great spot to stop along the way.
Santa Fe is the perfect place for travelers who love nature, adventure and authentic culture. You can partake in swimming, rafting or tubing down one of the many unspoiled rivers, horseback riding, hiking through virgin rain forest as far as the Caribbean coast, bird watching, 4×4 adventure tours, visiting organic farms and orchid gardens and so much more. Santa Fe is about 5 hours from Panama City, but definitely worth the trip.
Traveling to Mogue is definitely not for everyone. But people who make it to this little village are rewarded with a true glimpse of what Emberá Indian life is like. Travelers often rave about their experiences here.
The small town of Volcán is located in Panama’s western highlands along the west side of the Barú Volcano. There is excellent hiking and bird watching in the area. You can also take a guided tour of the area, which is beautiful.
Have you booked your trip to Panama yet? Which spots would you visit on your itinerary?