Last Updated on December 21, 2023
Panama is a country located on the border of Central and South America, it has become a popular tourist destination for many enthusiastic travelers. For those looking to sate their wanderlust, Panama could be the perfect getaway.
In this article, we are going to be looking at some of the very best things to do whilst staying in the culturally rich and vibrant country of Panama. This will ensure that any trip taken to this wonderful nation, will be filled with happy memories for many years to come,
First of all, let’s take a little look at the country of Panama. Panama is home to over four million people, its capital city is called Panama city which is a diverse and interesting place for anyone visiting the country, to begin their journey of exploration.
1. Panama Canal
When thinking about the nation of Panama, one of the first things that one might associate it with is the world famous Panama canal which runs straight down the middle of the country. It is one of the most loved tourist attractions in the country and should be on the travel bucket list of anyone visiting.
The canal stretched over 80km and connects the two oceans on either side of Panama, the Pacific and the Atlantic. Why not take a drive down its length and see Panama at its best.
2. San Blas Islands
For those who love to take part in activities such as snorkeling and sailing, the San Blas islands which are located off the north coast of Panama are a tropical haven where adventurers can take part in a variety of exciting activities.
The shores of the islands are met by crystal clear blue oceans which add to the luxurious feel of these beautiful islands. For that little bit of relaxation during your Panama experience, why not travel to one of these 365 glorious islands.
3. Panama Viejo
If history is more your thing, perhaps consider visiting the heritage site known as Panama viejo (meaning old Panama in Spanish.) This historical site is the remains of the original and old city of Panama and is located within the suburbs of the current and new Panama city.
The ruins date back to the early 1500s when the settlement was first laid and visitors to the site are free to check out the intriguing building blocks of this city that remain today.
4. Fonda Lo Que Hay
When visiting Panama, it would be a crime not to try out some of the best places to eat. One of these is the Fonda lo que hay restaurant which has received rave reviews all over the internet. Set in a dual level dining room which is filled with decor that tells the story of the Panamanian culture, this top quality eatery offers a wide menu selection and a great range of drinks.
5. Turtle Island
Heading back over to the San Blas islands, tourist can visit the remote Turtle island, this island is uninhabited and houses no hotels or tourist attractions. There is a daily boat to the island on which tourists can wile away the hours taking in the stunning tropical scenery and relaxing the day away.
6. Volcan Baru
The Volcan Baru is the tallest mountain in Panama and is also, excitingly an active volcano. It stands at over 11 thousand feet tall and is one of the best known tourist attractions in the entire country. On a clear day, visitors are able to see out over to the Caribbean sea as well as getting beautiful views across the Pacific ocean.
The mountain sits in a national park of the same name and so tourists are able to explore the surrounding areas as well as the local town at the bottom of the mountain, making for a great weekend trip. There are a selection of bars and restaurants in the local area, perfect to fill up after a long day of hiking…
This port city is a great place for tourists to enjoy a wide range of activities. The area is famed for its silver exports and this has been the case for the last few hundred years, giving the town a very detailed and interesting history which can be seen in much of the architecture of the area.
There are the Spanish colonial ruins nearby which have been designated as a UNESCO world heritage site and a particular point of interest for those visiting the city.
For those who wish to explore the Panama canal in much more detail then Minaflores is a good place to begin. This is the name of one of the groups of locks which can be found on the canal and also the name of a lake which separates the group of locks from the ones which are further upstream. If you are interested in engineering of any sort, then these locks might be of particular interest to you.
Boats are lifted over 50 feet through three different levels and depending on what time of day you visit, you will see either ships going to the Pacific to the Atlantic or vice versa. It is usually in the morning that they will travel in one direction and then for the later part of the day they will travel in the opposite direction.
9. Soberania National Park
If getting back to nature is your jig then perhaps a trip to the Soberania national park would suit you down to the ground. The park is located near to the Panama canal and around 25km from Panama city making it very accessible to those staying in the capital. The park covers an astonishing 55 thousand square kilometres and is home to over 500 species of birds, making it a favourite haunt of bird watches from all over the world.
10. Bridge of the Americas
The bridge of the Americas is an impressive piece of modern architecture, having been fully completed in the early 1960’s, this bridge is something that should be seen when paying a visit to this country. The bridge is used for road traffic near to the Pacific entrance to the Panama canal and connects the continents of North and South America.
There are other bridges which cross the Panama canal that are notable for tourist looking to take in some of the Panamanian engineering and architectural design that went into the building of these bridges.
11. Metropolitan Natural Park
Another great way to take a step back into nature whilst visiting Panama is the Metropolitan natural park. Visitors to this site are given the opportunity to take part in nature trails and get up close and personal to a variety of native animals and plants.
The park is the only one of its kind within the area and is known as a wildlife sanctuary after being successfully planned and opened in the late 1980s. This is another great place for lovers of birds since there are many species in habitation here as well as the much loved Geoffrey’s Tamarin monkey.
12. Starfish Beach
Starfish beach is a glorious sandy beach which is home to many starfish, as the name would suggest. It is a popular location for tourists and locals alike and it is little wonder when the beach gives such beautiful views of the scenery. The waters here are always very calm and so make the perfect place for those who would like to take a dip in the ocean.
There are many stands for tourists which sell everything from souvenirs to food and drinks. This is another place which is perfect for a relaxing afternoon in the Panama sunshine,.
13. Panama Canal Museum
Once you have taken in the views of the Panama canal itself, perhaps you might be interested in looking at some of the exhibitions featured at the museum which compliments this wonder.
Having opened in Panama city in the late 1990s, the museum is home to exhibits detailing the construction and history of the canal. The building itself was build in the 1800’s and used to be home to the French and American teams who first made attempts at building the canal. Both of these teams failed and the Panamanians took over the construction.
14. Playa Bluff
If you have a love of surfing then the Playa bluff might be the ideal beach for you. This quiet and scenic location is a favoured destination for many surfers and has some stunning views to take in. The beach is bordered by rows of tall green trees, giving visitors added privacy from the rest of the world.
15. El Nispero Zoo and Botanical Garden
The El Nispero zoo and botanical garden is known for its frogs, yes you read that right! Here, there are a variety of amphibian breeding programs and this is the only place to do this in the whole country. There are, of course a variety of other creatures here and visitors can take in the flora and fauna of the botanical gardens.
Panama is a country full of discoveries just waiting to be explored. There are many beautiful beaches and secluded areas and so is the ideal destination for those looking for a relaxing and quiet holiday.
That being said, there are plenty of more adventurous activities in the country and a lot of history, especially surrounding the construction and use of the world famous Panama canal. Tourists to this spectacular nation can expect to be left wanting more and enjoying every minute of their experiences here.