Panama charm as a tourist destination grows more and more powerful each year. With over 1.5 million tourists in 2019, Panama is, by all means, a great place to spend on your vacation. Frankly, whether you’re going to Panama for fun or culture, there is something for everyone.
From the marvel at the Panama Canal to its diverse range of landscapes, beautiful beaches & islands along the Pacific, coffee plantations, wildlife, and waterfalls, Panama has countless vacation possibilities.
In this article, I’ll highlight the best places to visit in Panama.
- The Canal
The canal is a 48-mile waterway that connects the Pacific Ocean with the Atlantic Ocean. It was built between 1903 and 1914 with an aim to reduce the costs and time taken to ship goods between the Pacific and the Atlantic. Each year, over 14,000 ships transit through the canal, this takes about 8 to 10 hours.
For the best views of the ships and the Canal at large, you should visit the Miraflores Lock Museum and the Visitors Centers. The Miraflores museum has a restaurant on top that offers a clear view of the canal. The best experience, you can take a full or partial tour of the vast canal.
- The Playa Las Lajas
Playa Las Lajas is a 13km beautiful beach that stretches in the Gulf of Chiriqui, along Panama’s Pacific coast. The water along the beach has excellent temperature and little current, making it perfect for swimming and bodysurfing.
From the beach, you can see two islands from a distance – the Ensenada and Isla Silva de Afuera. Furthermore, there are numerous luxurious hotels, cabins, and cheap restaurants along the beach, where you can enjoy delicious local food.
- Bocas Town
Bocas Del Toro is a small town and a top tourist destination in Panama. It’s located about 301km from Panama City, and it is popular with hikers and beginner scuba divers thanks to its awe-impairing shoreline.
For a more enjoyable experience in Bocas town, I recommend visiting the Starfish Beach, the Plastic Bottle village, the coral reef (it houses thousands of colored fish), Boca del Drago, and Dolphin Bay Preserve.
- Isla Bastimentos
Isla Bastimentos is the perfect Island to visit after Bocas Town. It’s only 10 minutes from Bocas town via boat and only 20km from Panama City. The island is approximately 52 km, and it’s covered with rainforest. The island also has a National Marine Park, which houses sloths, crocodiles, and other reptiles.
On top of the island, you will enjoy a panoramic view of Panama City. The Island has a handful of luxurious hotels and resorts to relax, including the Red Frog Beach Resort, Palmar Tent Lodge, Al Natural Resort, Casa Cayuco, Bocas Bound Hostel, and much more.
- Santa Catalina
Our list would be incomplete without Santa Catalina. Best known for surfing and fishing, Santa Catalina has exceptional vocation possibilities. The beaches are lovely, with locals selling numerous fresh fruits, vegetables, and fish sold along the beach.
For the best surfing experience in Santa Catalina, I recommend you try out La Punta. You can also go kayaking in Santa Catalina Island, horseback riding, hiking in Coiba National Park, and much more.
Whether you’re passionate about history, fashion, food, surfing, or birding, Panama is an enthralling, safe, and affordable City to spend some time off your daily life.