What to see in Panama

Known as the “Heart of the Universe,” Panama is a treasure for travelers seeking a compact yet enriching experience. This diverse country hosts a captivating blend of modernity and authenticity, where the skyscrapers of Panama City embrace the lush jungle and paradisiacal beaches.

Discover the iconic Panama Canal, an engineering marvel that connects two oceans and tells stories that changed the course of world history. Immerse yourself in the cultural and artistic life of the Casco Antiguo, declared a World Heritage Site, where cobbled streets narrate centuries of history.

Where is Panama?

Panama is a country located in Central America, bordered to the north by the Caribbean Sea, to the east by Colombia, to the south by the Pacific Ocean, and to the west by Costa Rica. Its capital is Panama City and it is strategically situated in the Panama Strait, connecting the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, giving it great geographical and economic importance.

Explore tropical jungles, hike mountains, and discover virgin islands. Bocas del Toro offers dreamy beaches and a relaxed atmosphere that will captivate you. Venture into the highlands of Boquete, where you can enjoy the best coffee and the most breathtaking views. And to relax, nothing beats its hot springs and spas that will allow you to rest and rejuvenate.

Get ready for a journey full of contrasts and surprises in Panama!

Interactive Map of Panama

Map drawing

Welcome to Panama, a country full of natural wonders, vibrant culture, and unique experiences. Today, I invite you to explore this beautiful corner of Central America through our interactive map, where you’ll find the most fascinating destinations not to be missed on your adventure through this country, which I will detail in this travel guide.

What language is spoken in Panama?

Translation drawing

In Panama, people primarily communicate in Spanish. Yes, that elegant and passionate language that makes even ordering a simple sandwich sound like a work of art. But hey, don’t worry if you don’t speak it perfectly. The people here are super friendly and will be happy to help you unravel your words like a ball of yarn.

In addition to Spanish, you’ll also find many people speaking English, especially in the more touristy areas. So get ready to practice your language skills and make friends in both languages! 😉✨

Banana tree

Religion in Panama

Iglesia dibujo

In Panama, religion plays an important role in the daily life of many people. The majority follows Catholicism, thanks to the influence of Spanish colonization. 🌟🙏

But it’s also a diverse country in terms of beliefs, so you’ll find Protestant, evangelical, and Seventh-day Adventist communities, among others. And don’t be surprised if you come across indigenous rituals in some regions.

Time Difference with Panama

24-hour Clock drawing

If you’re planning a getaway to Panama, it’s important to consider the time difference. The standard time in Panama is UTC-5.

        * 5 hours behind Coordinated Universal Time (UTC-5). 

If it’s 7:00 PM in Madrid, it would be 1:00 PM in Panama. So, make your plans and adjust your clock to make the most of your adventures under the Panamanian sun! ☀️🌴

Sonia Panama

What Currency is Used in Panama?

Currency Exchange drawing

In Panama, the reigning currency is the balboa (PAB). But wait! Here’s the catch: although the balboa is the official currency, it’s actually used less than the US dollar (USD). So, when you travel there, you’ll notice that many prices are in US dollars.

If you want to take some money from home, I recommend exchanging currency with RIA as they offer the best commission-free exchange rate and send and collect the currency at your own home.

Cambio de Divisa Dolar

RIA Currency Exchange:

  1. Key Services:
    • Currency Exchange: RIA provides currency exchange services for various currencies, including US dollars, yen, pounds, and many more.
    • Money Transfers: In addition to currency exchange, RIA is known for its international money transfer services.
  2. Exchange Rates:
    • Ria stands out for offering competitive exchange rates. You can compare their rates with other options to ensure you get the best possible exchange rate.
  3. Physical Offices in Spain:
    • RIA has a physical presence through its offices in Spain. You can visit one of their locations if you prefer to conduct transactions in person.
  4. Home Delivery:

Pay with Fee-Free Cards in Panama

Credit Cards drawing

In Panama, paying with cards is super common and convenient. Many establishments, especially in urban and tourist areas, accept credit and debit cards. But, be cautious! It’s important to check with your bank for any special policies regarding international transactions.

Some banks offer cards that do not apply fees for foreign transactions, those are the ones you want to have in your wallet!

With the Revolut Card, forget about those extra expenses, because the currency exchange fees that bank cards usually have are around 3% or 4%, no joke!

TERJETA REVOLUT

Get yours now for free and discover a world of advantages for your travels. Sign up here with no fees. Don’t miss out! 🌍✈️

Sonia in Panama

What is the best time to travel to Panama?

Climate drawing

The best time to travel to Panama depends on your preferences regarding the weather, the activities you want to do, and the regions you plan to visit, as the country has various climate zones and ecosystems. Here is information about the seasons and climate in Panama so you can choose according to your interests:

Dry Season (December to April)

  • Summer drawingAdvantages: Dry and sunny weather: During these months, most of the country experiences dry weather with clear skies and pleasant temperatures. It’s an optimal time for outdoor activities, exploring beaches, practicing water sports, and visiting tourist sites.
  • Disadvantages: It’s the high tourist season in Panama, so there may be more visitors, and accommodation and activity prices may be higher.

Transition to the Rainy Season (May to June)

  • During these months, the weather begins to shift towards the rainy season, but you can still enjoy mostly dry and sunny days.

Rainy Season (June to November):

  • Clima dibujoAdvantages: Intense rains make the vegetation lush, and landscapes become greener and more beautiful. This is the low season, so there will be fewer visitors, and it’s possible to find deals on accommodation and activities.
  • Disadvantages: Precipitation is more common during these months, which can affect certain outdoor activities.

Panama is a pleasant destination year-round due to its warm climate, but if you prefer to avoid rain and humidity, the dry season (December to April) is the best option. However, if you’re interested in experiencing lush vegetation and fewer tourists, the transition to the rainy season (May and June) or the rainy season (June to November) can also be excellent times to visit the country.

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Seguro Intermundial Ingles

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Los Embera Tribu

Things to do in Panama

I want to share with you a gem for travel enthusiasts: GetYourGuide is much more than a tour booking site, as it gives you the opportunity to discover every corner in English or Spanish, with passionate guides sharing the best of each destination.

Excursión dibujo

If you’re planning your next getaway, I recommend GetYourGuide. The quality of experiences and the convenience they offer are unparalleled. I’ve always found options that suit my tastes and preferences.

Get ready to live unforgettable adventures as you explore the world! ✈️🌍

 

Get your comfortable shoes and adventurous spirit ready because Panama has an endless array of exciting things to do. Here’s a diverse menu of experiences that will surely leave you saying, “I want more!”

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coche de alquiler entre montañas y pinar
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Panama Canal

You cannot miss visiting this marvel of modern engineering. Watch as ships cross from one ocean to another and learn about the history and operation of this essential waterway.

The Panama Canal is one of the most remarkable and recognized engineering feats worldwide. Located in Central America, it connects the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean, allowing the transit of ships and vessels between the two oceans without having to go around the southern tip of South America.

Panama canal

History and Significance:

The idea of a canal connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans through Panama has existed since the time of the Spanish conquistadors. The construction of the canal began in 1881 by the French but faced health and financial challenges, leading to the project’s abandonment in 1889. The United States resumed construction in 1904 and completed the canal in 1914. They controlled and operated the canal until December 31, 1999, when administration was transferred to Panama.

Structure and Operation:

The Panama Canal is approximately 80 kilometers long and utilizes a series of locks to raise and lower ships to different levels along its route. It consists of three sets of locks: Miraflores and Pedro Miguel on the Pacific side, and Gatun on the Atlantic side. The locks lift vessels about 26 meters above sea level in the artificial Gatun Lake and then lower them again at the exit.

Economic and Commercial Impact:

The Panama Canal is crucial for global trade, significantly shortening maritime transport routes and reducing transit time and costs for ships. It is a major source of income for Panama, contributing substantially to its economy through tolls and activities related to transportation and tourism.

Panama Canal lock

Expansion of the Panama Canal:

The expansion of the canal, completed in 2016, allowed the passage of larger ships, known as neopanamax or postpanamax vessels. A third set of larger and deeper locks were added at the Atlantic and Pacific ends, along with the expansion and widening of the existing channels.

Tourism and Visits:

The Panama Canal is a major tourist attraction, with guided tours of the locks and the Miraflores Visitors Center, where visitors can learn about the history and operations of the canal. The Panama Canal represents an engineering feat, a key connection for global trade, and an iconic tourist attraction that showcases human ability to overcome geographic challenges. It is a must-visit point of interest for those exploring Panama. 🚢🌎

Remolcando canal

Casco Antiguo de la Ciudad de Panamá

This historical district is an architectural treasure with cobblestone streets, restored colonial buildings, and a vibrant nightlife. Perfect for a charming stroll!

🚀Are you ready to travel in a time machine, but without ‘Doc’ and Marty McFly? Welcome to Casco Antiguo, Panama’s real-time machine!

🏰Imagine walking on cobblestone streets where every stone has a story to tell. Oh, and the buildings! They are like the city’s art gallery, with their colonial architecture and flowery balconies.

🍲Ah, the food! From the moment you enter, the aroma of Panamanian delights seduces you. Have you tried ropa vieja? No, it’s not worn-out clothes, it’s shredded beef, and it’s delicious!

💃Get ready to shake a leg! Because in Casco Antiguo, nightlife is a real carnival. The music, the people, the dances! Salsa, reggaeton, or maybe a mix of both?

🌅And if you’re one who loves a good sunrise, Casco gives you spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean. A place where the sun and the sea put on a free daily show!

🎭 In summary, Casco Antiguo is like a treasure chest full of history, flavor, and joy. Ready to open it and discover the secrets of Panama in a fun way? Let’s explore!

Isla de los Monos

Islas de Bocas del Toro

🌴Immerse yourself in a tropical paradise with crystal-clear waters, white sandy beaches, and colorful marine life. Snorkel, surf, or simply relax under the Caribbean sun. It’s time to put on your sunglasses and explore the fabulous Bocas del Toro Islands, where fun and relaxation come together in a continuous tropical party!

🚤First, let me introduce you to the stars of the show: the islands. Here you don’t have one, not two, but an archipelago of virgin islands with crystal-clear waters! You can hop between them in boats or kayaks and explore paradise beaches.

🏄Surfer at heart? You’ll love the famous Bocas del Toro beach, known for its perfect waves. Surf until your legs say, “enough!” and then relax on the sand with a piña colada in hand!

🐡Underwater world lovers, your treasures are unveiled here! Snorkeling and diving are must-dos. Dive into reefs full of marine life and discover a colorful spectacle underwater.

✨If you prefer the tranquil life, head to Isla Bastimentos, where you’ll find a bioluminescent paradise. Yes, you heard it right! When night falls, the water lights up with magical flashes. A show only Mother Nature can create!

🦎 Explore the mangroves by kayak, venture into the jungle, and discover exotic creatures. This is like a real-life aquatic safari!

🌅And to end on a high note, don’t miss the sunset in the Caribbean Sea. With your cocktail in hand, enjoy the warm tones painting the sky and the sea. Instagram will be on fire!

🌊In summary, the Islands of Bocas del Toro are the tropical paradise of your dreams, where the fun never takes a break. So, put on your swimsuit and join the island party in Panama! 🎉

Panama Bus

The Starfish Beach in Bocas del Toro

Let’s explore the magical and wonderful Starfish Beach in Bocas del Toro, a place where the ocean becomes a stage full of stars.

🏝️ A Sea of Stars: Starfish Beach, also known as Estrella Beach, is famous for one reason: the starfish that dot its shore. Imagine walking through crystal-clear waters and encountering starfish of various sizes and colors beneath your feet!

🌟 The Magic of the Stars: These marine creatures, also known as red starfish, have a magical appearance and can vary in shades of red, orange, and yellow. It’s a unique and exciting experience to interact with them and observe them in their natural habitat.

🏖️ A Dreamlike Landscape: In addition to the starfish, the beach itself is a paradise of white sands and calm waters, perfect for swimming, snorkeling, or simply relaxing under the Caribbean sun. The surroundings are lush and picturesque, adding an even more special touch to your experience.

🐠 Snorkel Among Stars: One of the major attractions is snorkeling to get up close to these starfish and the marine life that inhabits the crystal-clear waters. It’s like exploring an underwater world full of color and life.

📸 Photos for Memory: Playa de las Estrellas is a place where you’ll want to take out your camera and capture every moment. The starfish create a perfect setting for memorable and dreamy photos.

🍹 Relax and Enjoy: After exploring and marveling at the starfish, you can relax on the beach with a refreshing coconut or a tropical drink while contemplating the horizon and the stars above the sand and underwater.

The Playa de las Estrellas de Mar in Bocas del Toro is an experience that will transport you to a magical marine world and make you feel like you’re walking on stars. Prepare your snorkel goggles and immerse yourself in this wonder of the Panamanian Caribbean! 🏝️🌊

Starfish

Barú Volcano National Park

Embark on an exciting trail that will take you to the top of Panama’s highest volcano. Enjoy breathtaking panoramic views and feel the adrenaline.

It’s time to explore the majestic Barú Volcano National Park, a natural gem in Panama that will take you to heights and leave you breathless (literally, due to the altitude!) 🌋🌲

🗻 Panama’s Summit: Barú Volcano is the highest point in Panama, reaching approximately 3,474 meters above sea level. Climbing this volcano is a unique experience that will literally take you to the country’s summit!

🥾 Scenic Trails: The park features several trails that wind through the lush cloud forest and offer stunning panoramic views. One of the most popular trails is the Quetzales Trail, where you might be lucky enough to spot this elusive bird.

🌳 Abundant Biodiversity: Volcán Barú and its surroundings are home to an incredible diversity of flora and fauna. From orchids to resplendent quetzals and howler monkeys, this park is a true natural treasure for nature lovers.

🌄 Spectacular Sunrises: One of the most epic experiences is ascending the volcano before sunrise. Imagine being at the summit when the sun begins to illuminate the horizon, offering panoramic views of both oceans, the Pacific and the Atlantic.

🏞️ Camping Under the Stars: The park has camping areas where you can spend the night under a starry sky. Imagine snuggling in your sleeping bag with the relaxing sound of nature in the background.

📷 Scenic Photography: If you’re a photography enthusiast, this park is your paradise. Every angle offers a perfect postcard: from the trails to the viewpoints, each photo will be a memory to cherish.

So get ready for an adventure that will take you to new heights, make you feel the fresh mountain breeze, and offer breathtaking panoramic views. Pack your backpack and let Volcán Barú dazzle you with its greatness! 🌄🌿🌟

Embera Tribe

Soberanía National Park

Perfect for nature lovers, this park offers opportunities to birdwatch, hike trails, and learn about the country’s fauna and flora.

Let’s dive into the wonders of Soberanía National Park, a natural paradise in Panama that invites you to discover the lush biodiversity and history that lies within its trails. 🌳🦜

🌿 The Green Lung of Panama City: Soberanía National Park is like the green lung of Panama’s capital. Located about 25 kilometers north of Panama City, this park is a window into Panama’s unique biodiversity.

🦋 Amazing Biodiversity: This park hosts an incredible variety of flora and fauna. From colorful butterflies to exotic birds, such as toucans and parrots, the biological diversity here is simply stunning. It’s an ideal spot for birdwatching and nature photography.

🚶 Trails to Explore: There are several well-maintained trails that allow you to explore this wonderful natural reserve. Trails like Pipeline Road and Plantation Trail are famous for their abundant wildlife and birdwatching opportunities.

🌳 Educational Visitor Centers: Visitor centers provide detailed information about the park’s fauna, flora, and history. They are excellent starting points for your exploration and learning about this unique ecosystem.

🌅 Scenic Views: From various viewpoints in the park, you can enjoy panoramic views of the Panama Canal and Lake Gatun, offering an incredible visual experience.

🏞️ Connection with History: The park has a historical connection to the construction of the Panama Canal. The trails used to be traversed by canal workers. This adds an additional layer of meaning to your experience in the park.

📸 Nature Photography: Every corner of this park is a gift for photographers, as you can capture the essence of wildlife in its natural habitat.

So, prepare your binoculars, camera, and comfortable footwear, and embark on an adventure in Soberanía National Park to explore the wonderful nature and rich history of Panama. 🌲🦎📷

Mangrove

San Blas Beaches

Visit these pristine beaches in the Caribbean, home to the Guna indigenous community. Swim in turquoise waters, enjoy overwater cabins, and learn about their unique culture.

Let’s take a journey to the paradisiacal beaches of San Blas, a dream archipelago in Panama where turquoise waters and palm trees will welcome you with open arms. 🏝️🌅

🌴 An Immaculate Paradise: San Blas, also known as Guna Yala, is a collection of over 350 islands and islets in the Panamanian Caribbean. What makes these beaches so special is their untouched and underdeveloped nature, maintaining their authenticity and natural beauty.

🏖️ Crystal Clear Waters and Dreamy Beaches: Imagine walking on white sandy beaches, caressed by the turquoise and transparent waters of the Caribbean. San Blas beaches are ideal for swimming, snorkeling, and simply relaxing under the tropical sun.

🚤 Island-Hopping by Boat: One of the best ways to explore San Blas is through a boat tour between the islands. The Guna, the indigenous community inhabiting this paradise, offer excursions on their typical sailboats called “ulu” so you can explore and discover the secrets of each island.

🐠 Snorkeling and Diving: The coral reef of San Blas is a paradise for snorkeling and diving enthusiasts. Dive into the waters and discover a colorful underwater world inhabited by tropical fish, vibrant corals, and other marine creatures.

🌅 Magic Sunsets: You can’t miss the sunsets in San Blas. Every evening, the sky is painted with warm and golden tones, creating a visual spectacle that will leave you speechless.

🥥 Local Cuisine: Take the opportunity to taste the delicious Guna cuisine. Fresh fish, lobsters, and coconut-flavored dishes are some of the flavors that will delight your palate.

📸 Memorable Photos: The beaches of San Blas are so beautiful that every photo you take will be like a piece of paradise. Make sure to capture every unforgettable moment.

So, get ready to explore a terrestrial paradise where nature offers its best version. San Blas beaches are the perfect place to disconnect, relax, and enjoy the beauty that only the Caribbean can offer. 🌞🌊

Starfish

Discover Emberá Culture

Immerse yourself in the jungle to meet the Emberá indigenous community, learn about their traditions, music, and crafts. It’s an enriching experience!

Emberá culture is rich and fascinating, rooted in the history and traditions of the Emberá, an indigenous group native to Colombia and Panama. Here is an overview of their culture:

🌿 History and Origins: The Emberá are an indigenous people who have inhabited the regions of Colombia and Panama for centuries. Their traditional way of life is intrinsically linked to nature and harmony with their surroundings.

🏞️ Living in Harmony with Nature: The Emberá’s relationship with nature is fundamental. They depend on the jungle for their sustenance, using sustainable practices for hunting, fishing, agriculture, and fruit gathering.

🎶 Traditional Music and Dances: Music and dance are central elements in Emberá culture. They use traditional instruments such as the marimba and cane flutes to create melodies that accompany their dances, expressing a connection with nature and their spiritual rituals.

🎨 Craftsmanship and Body Painting: Craftsmanship is an integral part of Emberá culture. They are known for their intricate weavings and basketry, as well as their body painting designs representing elements of nature, animals, and spiritual symbols.

👨‍👩‍👦 Social and Community System: Emberá society is based on community structures, with a social organization that includes a council of elders and tribal leaders. Respect for elders and community cooperation are fundamental values.

🌅 Spiritual Beliefs: Spirituality plays an essential role in Emberá culture. They believe in the connection between the natural and spiritual worlds. Rituals and ceremonies are essential to honor their gods and spirits, as well as to seek guidance and balance in life.

🏠 Traditional Dwellings: Emberá homes are typically built with natural materials, such as wood and palm leaves. These houses are often elevated from the ground to protect against floods and animals.

👗 Traditional Clothing: Emberá traditional attire includes tunics and skirts for women, and loincloths and shirts for men. They adorn their clothing and bodies with natural elements and traditional symbols.

Through their rich culture, the Emberá keep their traditions alive and pass down their ancestral knowledge to future generations. It is essential to respect and value their culture, contributing to the recognition and preservation of cultural diversity in the world. 🌎🌱

Emberá Village

Stroll through Boquete and its Coffee Route

This is paradise for coffee lovers. Take a tour of a coffee plantation, learn about the cultivation process, and enjoy tastings.

Let’s travel to Boquete, a special corner of Panama where the aroma of coffee floats in the air, and picturesque mountains set the perfect scene for the Coffee Route. ☕🏞️

🌿 Welcome to Boquete, the Land of Coffee: Boquete is known as the heart of Panama’s coffee industry. Located in the mountains of the Chiriquí province, this town wraps you in its cool climate and pure air.

The Coffee Route: An Aromatic Experience: The Coffee Route is a sensory journey where you can immerse yourself in the world of coffee, from the plantation to the cup. You can visit coffee farms and learn about the cultivation, harvesting, drying, and roasting process of coffee.

🌱 Coffee Farms: Learn the Origin: Visit farms like Finca Lerida and Finca Dos Jefes, where the owners will guide you through the plantations, explaining the history and techniques behind the cultivation of high-quality coffee.

🍵 Coffee Tasting: A Pleasure for the Palate: The Coffee Route allows you to taste various coffee varieties, from the well-known Arabica to local varieties. You’ll discover flavor nuances that make Boquete coffee something special.

👩‍🌾 Interaction with Local Producers: One of the gems of the route is the opportunity to interact with local producers who share their stories, challenges, and passion for coffee.

🛍️ Local Markets and Coffee Souvenir Shops: You can’t miss visiting local markets where you can buy fresh coffee and other coffee-related products, such as handmade cups and unique souvenirs.

🍴 Gastronomy and Cozy Cafés: In Boquete, enjoy cozy cafes where you can indulge in local dishes and, of course, a freshly brewed coffee. Try typical dishes with a touch of coffee.

🚶‍♂️ Hiking and Nature: If you want to stretch your legs, Boquete also offers picturesque trails and waterfalls to explore, giving you a perfect balance between coffee culture and natural beauty.

In summary, the Coffee Route in Boquete is an invitation for coffee lovers and adventurers to delve into the magical world of coffee beans, all while enjoying the spectacular mountainous landscape of Panama. ☕🌄🌿

Sail through the Gulf of Chiriquí

Take a boat tour of this beautiful gulf, where you can spot whales, dolphins, and enjoy snorkeling in coral reefs.

Let’s embark on an exciting journey through the Gulf of Chiriquí, an aquatic paradise in Panama that will leave you breathless with its tropical islands, crystal-clear waters, and lush marine life! 🛥️🏝️

🌊 Welcome to the Gulf of Chiriquí: An Aquatic Treasure: The Gulf of Chiriquí is a gulf on the Pacific coast of Panama, renowned for its natural richness and diverse marine ecosystems.

🏝️ A Fascinating Archipelago: This gulf hosts a spectacular archipelago with over 30 islands and islets, each with its own unique beauty. From white sandy beaches to coral reefs, there is much to explore.

🛥️ Sailing Among Islands: Navigating the Gulf of Chiriquí is an adventure in itself. You can rent a sailboat, a catamaran, or a boat to explore the islands, anchor in peaceful bays, and discover hidden coves.

🐬 Encounter with Marine Life: During your journey, you might come across playful dolphins approaching the boat, turtles swimming alongside, and if you’re lucky, even whales during the sighting season.

🐠 Snorkeling and Diving in Submarine Paradises: The Gulf of Chiriquí is a paradise for snorkeling and diving enthusiasts. Dive into crystal-clear waters to discover vibrant coral reefs and a diversity of tropical fish.

🏞️ Exploration on Solid Ground: Don’t limit yourself to the water alone. On land, you can explore natural trails, take island excursions, and enjoy activities such as kayaking and bird watching.

🌅 Unforgettable Sunsets: Each day ends with a dazzling display of colors in the sky as the sun sets over the Pacific. Sunsets in the Gulf of Chiriquí are magical and will leave you speechless.

🍴 Seafood Cuisine and Local Gastronomy: Take advantage of your journey to savor delicious seafood cuisine, especially fresh seafood. Local restaurants and beach huts offer authentic sea delights.

In summary, sailing through the Gulf of Chiriquí is an invitation to immerse yourself in a fascinating aquatic world, full of natural beauty and unforgettable adventures. Let the waves guide you to this marine paradise in Panama! 🌊🌴🐚

Pearl Archipelago

Explore the islands of the Pacific, known for their pristine beaches and crystal-clear waters. Let’s set sail to explore the Pearl Archipelago, a natural treasure in Panama that shines like pearls in the Pacific! 🏝️⛵

🌴 A Glimpse of the Pearl Archipelago: This archipelago, located in the Pacific Ocean, is a collection of over 200 islands and islets, known for its turquoise waters, white sandy beaches, and abundant marine life.

🐬 Encounter with Marine Fauna: The waters of the Pearl Archipelago are a paradise for marine life lovers. You may encounter dolphins, turtles, manta rays, and, if you’re lucky, even humpback whales during their migration season.

🏝️ Island Exploration: Each island in this archipelago has its own charm. Isla Contadora is one of the most famous, with beautiful beaches and resorts. Isla del Rey offers natural trails and archaeological remains. Isla San José is a paradise for snorkeling and diving.

Aquatic Adventures: Sailing is one of the best ways to explore the Pearl Islands. You can rent a sailboat or catamaran to hop from island to island, discovering hidden coves and anchoring in crystal-clear waters.

🏖️ Relax and Beach: The beaches of the Pearl Islands Archipelago are like something out of a dream. Playa Cacique on Isla Contadora is one of the most popular. If you’re looking for a quieter atmosphere, Playa Sueca on Isla del Rey is perfect.

🍽️ Marine Gastronomy: Don’t miss the opportunity to try fresh seafood and traditional dishes at local restaurants. Ceviche and fresh fish are true delights.

🌅 Unforgettable Sunsets: Every sunset in the Pearl Islands Archipelago is a spectacle of dazzling colors in the sky, reflecting in the calm waters. Don’t forget to capture this magical moment.

The Pearl Islands Archipelago is a tropical paradise inviting you to explore its natural beauty and immerse yourself in a world of aquatic adventures. May the winds guide you to this precious treasure of Panama! 🌅🐠⛵

15-Day Itinerary in Panama

Calendar drawing

A 15-day journey allows you to discover the wonders of Panama in more detail. Here’s an exciting itinerary to immerse yourself in the cultural richness, lush nature, and unique experiences that this country has to offer:

Days 1-3: Panama City

  • Day 1: Arrival in Panama City, settling into your accommodation, and initial exploration of the surroundings.
  • Day 2: Visit to the Panama Canal and a tour of the Old Town. Enjoy local cuisine at a typical restaurant.
  • Day 3: Further exploration of the city: Museum of the Interoceanic Canal, Metropolitan Natural Park, and enjoy the nightlife in the Old Town.

Days 4-6: Bocas del Toro Archipelago

  • Day 4: Flight to Bocas del Toro and a day of relaxation on the beach.
  • Day 5: Excursion to Isla Zapatilla and water activities such as snorkeling and kayaking.
  • Day 6: Excursion to Red Frog Beach and exploration of marine life. Free time to relax on the beach.

Days 7-9: Boquete

  • Day 7: Journey to Boquete and a walk around the town.
  • Day 8: Hiking in the Barú Volcano National Park to see the sunrise from the top.
  • Day 9: Visit to a coffee plantation and a tour of the mountains of Boquete.

Days 10-12: Valle de Antón

  • Day 10: Journey to Valle de Antón and free time to explore the area.
  • Day 11: Excursion to the El Valle Crater and the hot springs.
  • Day 12: Hiking in the surroundings and visits to local points of interest.

Days 13-15: San Blas

  • Day 13: Journey to San Blas and check-in to an overwater cabin.
  • Day 14: Day of relaxation on the beach, snorkeling, and exploration of Guna culture.
  • Day 15: Return to Panama City and departure flight.

This itinerary is flexible, and you can adjust it according to your personal preferences and available time. We hope you have an incredible journey in Panama full of unforgettable memories! 🌴✈️🌞

Hire the Best Tours in Panama

Binoculars drawing

It’s an ideal place to engage in a variety of activities as mentioned, and here you can hire them directly, hassle-free, and at a good price, including Free Tours that are free of charge.

The best Tours in Guatemala, you can also hire transportation from the airport to the hotel or to the final destination you need to reach.

Health in Panama

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It is essential to know information about health and medical care when traveling to a country. Panama has a mixed health system, which includes both the public and private sectors. The public healthcare system is provided by the Ministry of Health, while the private sector offers healthcare services with high-quality standards.

VACCINE

Vaccines and Disease Prevention: It is important to check the recommended vaccines before traveling to Panama. Generally, vaccines against yellow fever, hepatitis A and B, tetanus and diphtheria, typhoid fever, and tick-borne encephalitis are usually recommended. Consult with your doctor or a vaccination center for updated information on vaccines and prophylaxis.

Medical Insurance and Travel Assistance: It is strongly recommended to acquire travel medical insurance that covers medical expenses, evacuation, and repatriation. Make sure your insurance covers any activities you plan to do, such as water sports or hiking in remote areas.

Pharmacies and Medications: Panama has well-stocked pharmacies in urban and tourist areas. Major cities have 24-hour pharmacies. For prescription medications, it is necessary to have the corresponding medical prescription.

Have a safe and healthy trip to Panama! 🏥🌿🌞

Is it safe to travel to Panama?

Police drawing

Panama is generally considered a safe destination for travelers. However, it is essential to take into account certain safety considerations and take normal precautions that apply to any destination.

Safe Regions: Most tourist areas and major cities in Panama are safe for tourists. These areas usually have a constant police presence and adequate security measures.

Safe Transportation: Use reliable transportation services and avoid traveling alone in unfamiliar areas, especially at night.

Personal Health: Stay on top of your physical and emotional health. If you have specific medical conditions, make sure to bring enough medication and follow your doctor’s recommendations.

Travel Insurance: Consider purchasing travel insurance that includes coverage for medical expenses, evacuation, and trip cancellation in case of an emergency.

It is always essential to exercise caution and common sense during your trip. Stay informed and take necessary measures to ensure your safety and well-being in Panama. Have a safe and enjoyable journey! 🛡️✈️

Get Your Travel Insurance 

Travel insurance drawing

In this unpredictable world, don’t let the unexpected ruin your plans; you can get your Travel Insurance with a 5% discount just for being a reader of Viajera por el Mundo. If you experience a flight delay or cancellation, loss of luggage, you’ll have your insurance to assist you in every situation.

5% discount on your MONDO travel insurance

Do I Need a Visa for Panama?

Passport and visa drawing

Visa policies for Panama may vary depending on your nationality and the duration of your stay.

Tourist Visa for Most Countries: Most citizens do not need a visa to enter Panama if their visit is for tourism and is of short duration (usually less than 180 days). It is always advisable to check specific and current visa requirements before traveling, as policies may change.

I suggest contacting the Embassy of Panama in your country or visiting the official website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Panama for up-to-date and accurate information on visas and entry requirements. Have a smooth trip to Panama! 🌍🛂✈️

How to Get Around and Move in Panama?

Getting around and moving in Panama is relatively easy thanks to its constantly developing transportation infrastructure. Here, I provide you with information on how to get to Panama and how to move around the country:

Getting to Panama:

By Air:

Airplane and World Drawing

Tocumen International Airport (PTY): This is the main airport in Panama, located in Panama City. It is a major air hub with connections to many cities in America and Europe. It’s time to buy your flights; you can read the post about Cheap Flights to find affordable flights and all my tricks so that you can also save when booking your flights.

By Land:

From Costa Rica: There are several border posts between Costa Rica and Panama that allow land passage. The main ones are Paso Canoas, Sixaola, and Río Sereno.

From Colombia: The most common way to travel from Colombia is by sea or air. There are ships and cruises that connect Cartagena, Colombia, with Colón, Panama.

Moving Around Panama:

Public Transport:

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Panama Metro: In Panama City, the metro is a fast and efficient option for getting around the city and its surroundings.

Bus

Buses: Cities and towns in Panama have a bus system that is an economical way to get around. There are local and intercity buses.

Taxis and Travel Apps:

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Taxis: They are a common form of transportation in cities and are relatively inexpensive. Make sure to use official taxis and ones that use the meter.

Travel Apps: Apps like Uber and Cabify operate in Panama City and some other cities, offering private transportation options.

Car Rental:

Car drawing

If you prefer greater flexibility and autonomy in your trip, you can choose to rent a car. Major cities and airports have car rental companies. The Rentcars car rental company is a leader in the market. Whether you are planning a weekend getaway to a nearby city or an epic road trip through an entire country.

Planes and Boats:

To travel between islands or remote regions, small planes or boats are used. There are regional flights and boats connecting different parts of the country.

Cycling and Hiking:

Mountain bike

If you enjoy outdoor adventure, you can explore some areas by bike or on foot. There are scenic routes and trails for hikers in various regions of Panama.

Excursions and Tours:

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To explore natural areas and tourist destinations, it is often convenient to join organized tours that include transportation.

Always remember to use safe and reliable means of transportation. Plan your itinerary and select transportation options that suit your needs and preferences to make the most of your trip in Panama. 🚗🚌🚢✈️

How to Make Phone Calls from Panama?

Smartphone drawing

To make phone calls from Panama to Spain, follow these steps:

The format to call Spain would be: +34 [Phone Number] or 00 34 [Phone Number].

For example, if the number in Spain is 123456789, you would dial from Panama: +34 123456789 or 00 34 123456789.

Hope you have successful communication with your contacts in Spain! 📞🌍🇪🇸

SIM card or E-SIM for Internet during your trip

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I recommend that you learn about E-SIM cards. They are virtual cards; you download a QR code, install it on your phone, and you can have internet from the moment you get off the plane and throughout your stay to make calls without cost and without surprises on your bill upon your return from your vacation.

These cards cover practically the whole world, including Argentina, Australia, Cambodia, Colombia, Egypt, the Philippines, India, Israel, Montenegro, Oman, Peru, Sri Lanka, Turkey, Vietnam, among many others.

Physical and virtual, known as ESIM, and its activation is faster because you don’t have to wait for it to be sent by mail. Sign up in advance and make sure to stay connected on your trip!

SIM Card or E-SIM for Internet During Your Trip

Holafly Descuento por ser lector de Viajeraporelmundo
wifi dibujo

I recommend that you learn about E-SIM cards; they are virtual cards. You download a QR code, install it on your phone, and you can have internet from the moment you get off the plane and throughout your stay, allowing you to make calls without cost and without surprises on your bill upon your return from your vacation.

These cards cover practically the entire world, including Argentina, Australia, Cambodia, Colombia, Egypt, the Philippines, India, Israel, Montenegro, Oman, Peru, Sri Lanka, Turkey, Vietnam, among many others.

The physical and the virtual, known as ESIM Cards with Holafly, with activation that is faster because you don’t have to wait for it to be sent to you by mail. Sign up in advance and make sure to stay connected on your trip!

What are the plugs like in Panama?

Plug drawing
  • Voltage: 120 V
  • Frequency: 60 Hz
  • Plugs: Type A / B

In Panama, the common voltage is 120 V. The frequency is 60 Hz. The plugs and outlets are of type A / B. In the following images, you can see the types of plugs.

The plugs to use in Panama are type A

Type A: Japanese plugs A can be used in the USA but often not vice versa.
The plugs to use in Panama are of type B

Type B: Sometimes valid for type A plugs
 

If you need to buy a Travel Adapter , I personally buy power plug adapters on Amazon, where you’ll find a great selection. Click directly on the link and you can buy yours.

The need for a power plug adapter also depends on the country you live in. If you need more information about plugs from any part of the world, you can visit the Plugs of the World page.

Typical Foods of Panama

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Panamanian cuisine is delicious and varied, with influences from indigenous, African, Spanish, and more cultures. Here are some typical foods of Panama that you should definitely try:

Sancocho: Considered the national dish of Panama, it is a thick soup made with chicken, yams, corn, onions, garlic, and other ingredients, cooked slowly until all the flavors blend.

Arroz con Pollo: A very popular dish consisting of rice, chicken, capers, vegetables, and saffron, all cooked together to create an explosion of flavors.

Carimañola: A kind of empanada made of grated cassava and filled with beef or chicken. It is fried until golden and crispy.

Patacones or Tostones: Green plantains mashed and fried twice until crispy. They are served as a side dish or snack with garlic sauce.

Ceviche de Corvina: White fish marinated in lime with onions, cilantro, and chili. It is a refreshing and popular option.

Ropa Vieja: Shredded beef cooked with onions, peppers, and tomatoes, often served with rice and beans.

Tamal de Maíz: Corn dough filled with chicken or pork, vegetables, and raisins, all wrapped in corn husks and steamed.

Hojaldras: Fried fritters made of dough and have a flat cake-like shape. They are served with cheese or custard.

Saril: Refreshing drink made from hibiscus flower, sugar, and water. It is popular throughout Panama, especially during the heat.

Guacho de Mariscos: A thick stew made with rice, seafood, and spices, similar to paella.

Yuca al Mojo: Boiled yucca seasoned with garlic, onion, lemon, and cilantro. It is a common accompaniment in many dishes.

Dulce de Tamarindo: Tamarinds cooked with sugar to make a sticky and delicious sweet.

Make sure to try these traditional dishes during your visit to Panama to experience authentic Panamanian cuisine and delight your palate. Enjoy your meal! 🍽️

Typical Drinks of Panama

drinks drawing

The variety of typical drinks in Panama is diverse and delicious. Here are some of the most popular and traditional drinks you should try during your visit:

Chicha de Maíz: A fermented drink made from corn, sugar, and spices. It is an ancestral beverage consumed by many indigenous cultures in Panama.

Seco Herrerano: A national liquor made from sugarcane. It can be enjoyed neat or mixed with coconut water, juices, or sodas.

Panamanian Rum: Rum produced in Panama is highly appreciated and enjoyed both in the country and internationally. Try different brands and special editions.

Guarapo: Fresh sugarcane juice, a sweet and refreshing drink widely consumed throughout the country.

Panamanian Beer: Local beers are popular, with Balboa and Atlas being the most well-known. They are ideal for accompanying typical meals.

Sevillano: A sweet and spicy drink made with ginger and spices. It is comforting and refreshing, especially on hot days.

Tropical Juices: Panama has a wide range of exotic fruits, and delicious juices are made from them, such as passion fruit, soursop, pineapple, and orange.

Panamanian Coffee: Panama produces some of the finest coffees in the world. Don’t miss the opportunity to taste a cup of Panamanian coffee, especially the famous Geisha variety.

Tesito: Infusion of aromatic herbs such as chamomile, mint, or lemon balm, often sweetened with honey or sugar.

Seasonal Fruit Drinks: During your visit, look for drinks made with local seasonal fruits such as nance, guava, mangosteen, and sapote.

Fruit Smoothies: Delicious smoothies made with a variety of fresh fruits and milk or water. They are nutritious and refreshing.

Explore these options and discover new and exciting typical drinks while enjoying your culinary experience in Panama. Cheers! 🍹🥤☕️

What to Wear in Panama?

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The choice of appropriate clothing for your trip to Panama will depend on the time of year, the region you plan to visit, and the activities you have in mind. Here are some general recommendations:

Clothing for Warm and Tropical Climates

  • Light and Cool Clothing: Wear lightweight garments, preferably made of cotton or breathable fabrics, to stay cool in Panama’s warm and humid climate.
  • Swimwear: Bring a swimsuit if you plan to visit beaches or pools.
  • Casual Attire: T-shirts, cool blouses, short-sleeved shirts, and shorts are ideal for most daytime activities.
  • Sun Protection: A hat, cap, or scarf to protect yourself from the sun. Sunglasses and broad-spectrum sunscreen with a high protection factor.
  • Comfortable Footwear: Sandals, flip-flops, or lightweight and breathable shoes for comfortable walking.

Clothing for Cooler Climates (higher altitude areas or rainy season)

  • Light Clothing with Additional Layers: Although it’s warm, in certain regions or times, it can be cooler, so bring a light jacket, sweatshirt, or shawl.
  • Waterproof or Raincoat: During the rainy season (April to November), it’s useful to bring a waterproof or raincoat.

General Considerations

  • Cultural Modesty: Respecting local customs is important. If you visit more traditional or religious areas, it is appropriate to dress more conservatively, especially for women.
  • Clothing for Specific Activities: If you plan to hike, wear appropriate clothing and footwear for walking. For evening outings or restaurant dinners, you can wear slightly more formal clothing.
  • Accessories and Equipment: A small backpack to carry your belongings while exploring. Insect repellent, especially if you visit rural areas or areas near bodies of water.

In order to facilitate the Organization of your Luggage,  you can print or view, the list you will find at this link, where you will find everything you need to take when you travel.

 I hope you have a comfortable and enjoyable trip to Panama! 🌞👗👕🩴👒

Where to Stay in Panama?

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These options offer a variety of prices to suit different budgets and travel preferences. I present several options in Panama City and Bocas del Toro:

Panama City

Punta Pacifica Area (High Range)

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Hotel: The Santa Maria, a Luxury Collection Hotel & Golf Resort 

  • This luxury hotel offers a breathtaking view of the golf course and the city. It features an outdoor pool, gym, spa, and various gourmet restaurants. It offers an elegant and sophisticated atmosphere, with first-class amenities and exceptional service.

Approximate Price: From $200 to $400 USD per night.

The Santa Maria, a Luxury Collection Hotel

Casco Antiguo Area (Mid Range)

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Hotel: Central Hotel Panama

Charming boutique hotel with colonial style, pool, restaurant, and terrace with views of the Old Town.

Approximate Price: From $100 to $200 USD per night.

Central Hotel Panama Casco Viejo

El Cangrejo Area (Moderate Budget)

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Hotel: Selina Panama City

Modern and welcoming hotel with options for shared and private accommodation, pool, bar, and cultural events.

Approximate Price: From $50 to $100 USD per night.

Selina Casco Viejo Panama City

Bocas del Toro

Bocas Town (Mid-Range)

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Hotel: Playa Tortuga Hotel Beach And Resort

Facing the beach, outdoor pool, bar, restaurant, and rooms with sea views.

Approximate Price: From $100 to $200 USD per night.

Playa Tortuga Hotel and Beach Resort

Isla Bastimentos (Moderate Budget):

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Hotel: Red Frog Beach Island Resort

Private beach bungalows, pool, restaurant, bar, and water activities.

Approximate Price: From $70 to $150 USD per night.

Red Frog Beach Island Resort

Carenero Island (Moderate Budget)

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Hotel: Swan´s Cay Bocas del Toro

Overwater cabins, private beach access, restaurant, bar, and water activities.

Approximate Price: From $80 to $150 USD per night.

Swans Cay Hotel
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Resort: Isla Palenque Beachfront Eco Resort

  • This eco-resort is located on a private island, offering privacy and a connection with nature. It offers beachfront bungalows and villas, providing an authentic and relaxing experience. It has a private beach, water activities, and excursions to explore the natural beauty of the surroundings.

Approximate Price: Ranges from $250 to $450 USD per night.

The Resort at Isla Palenque Member of the Cayuga Collection

Hope you find the perfect accommodation for your stay in Panama! 🏨✨

What to Buy in Panama?

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Panama offers a variety of local products that are ideal to buy as souvenirs or gifts. Here are some suggestions on what to buy in Panama:

Molas: Colorful and detailed handmade textile artworks by the Guna indigenous community in the San Blas region. You can find them in local markets and craft stores.

< strong>Sombrero Pintao or Montuno: The famous Panamanian hat, made of woven straw and known worldwide. It is a cultural symbol of Panama and an excellent gift.

Emberá and Wounaan Crafts: These indigenous communities create beautiful crafts from tagua (vegetable ivory), carved wood, and basketry. You can find masks, sculptures, and jewelry.

Leather Crafts: Panama is known for its leather goods, including belts, wallets, bags, and leather footwear. The quality is excellent, and prices are usually attractive.

Local Cuisine: Bring home some local spices, high-quality coffee, ají chombo (hot sauce), tamarind or chili sauces, and traditional sweets like coconut candies and pastries.

Gold and Silver Jewelry: Panama has a prominent jewelry tradition. You can purchase gold and silver jewelry with designs inspired by Panamanian culture.

Seafood Products: If you enjoy seafood, you can buy sea products such as dried shrimp or salted fish, which are popular in local gastronomy.

Pottery: Ceramics and pottery with traditional Panamanian designs are a unique option. You can find vases, bowls, and other ceramic objects.

Art and Paintings: If you’re interested in art, look for paintings and works by local artists. There are art galleries in Panama City and some tourist areas.

Panamanian Rum: If you’re a rum enthusiast, don’t miss the opportunity to buy a bottle of high-quality rum produced in Panama.

Enjoy your shopping experience in Panama and bring home unique memories. 🛍️🎁

National Holidays in Panama

Calendar drawing

In Panama, there are several national holidays that celebrate important historical, cultural, and religious events. Here are some of the most notable holidays in the Panamanian celebration calendar:

New Year’s Day (January 1): Like in many parts of the world, Panamanians celebrate the start of the new year with gatherings, parties, and fireworks.

Three Kings’ Day (January 6): Celebration of the Epiphany, commemorating the arrival of the Three Kings to the birthplace of Jesus. Families gather and share the traditional Kings’ cake.

Carnival (variable date, usually in February or March): It is one of the largest and most colorful celebrations in Panama, featuring parades, music, dances, food, and much entertainment.

Good Friday and Holy Saturday (variable dates, coinciding with Holy Week): These days are celebrated with religious activities and processions, marking the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ.

Labor Day (May 1): A day dedicated to honoring workers, with events and activities throughout the country.

Mother’s Day (variable date, usually in May): Celebrated to honor mothers and express gratitude and love to them.

Foundation of Old Panama (August 15): Celebrating the founding of the ancient city of Old Panama with cultural and recreational events.

Independence Day (November 3): Commemorating Panama’s independence from Colombia in 1903, with parades and festivities throughout the country.

Independence Cry of the Villa de Los Santos (November 10): Celebration marking the start of Panama’s independence movement from Spain.

Christmas (December 25): Celebration of Christmas, with family gatherings, gift exchanges, and special meals.

During these dates, you can experience the culture, tradition, and joy that characterize this beautiful country. Enjoy the Panamanian festivities! 🎉

I hope you enjoyed this Travel Guide, and to not miss future posts, don’t forget to subscribe! You can also follow me on my YouTube Viajera por el Mundo🙂

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