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Panama

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Why would Panama suit you?

National parks

The largest national park of Panama is National Park Darien in the east. With over 500.000 acers it is also the largest protected natural area of Central America and it’s where the Amazon region begins. Next to pure jungle there are beautiful beaches, mountainous shores and swamps. The national park is a must for nature lovers and there are different routes available. To discover the park, a local guide is recommended. Although it is the habitat of many birds, the national park is even home to several Indian tribes. With a bit of luck, you can spot the national bird of Panama, the Harpy Eagle.

Beaches

Panama has beaches on two different coasts. At the Caribbean coast you will find tropical beaches and a relaxed ambiance. The most beautiful beaches are those on the uninhabited islands of Cayo Zapatilla. Panama’s other beaches are located on the Pacific coast. Here, you can relax in the sun too, but it is a bit more crowded. This is mainly because the white, sandy beaches of Santa Clara, Farallón and the Las Perlas archipelago are close to Panama City. These beaches have stunning blue water, thatched huts in the sand and charming fish restaurants.

Nature

In terms of nature, Panama has it all. Beautiful national parks, mountains, indigenous communities and meadows. In the largest protected natural area of the country, and Central America, live all kinds of birds. You can also spot jaguars, snakes and tapirs in Panama. Since the country is situated between two oceans, the diversity of animals and plants is enormous. The highest peak of Panama is the 3474-meter-high Barú volcano. Very nice for the avid hiker, is a trail from mountain village Boquete to the top. From there you have a magnificent view. On a clear day you can see both the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea!

More Panama highlights ↓

Panama became famous for the Panama Canal, but nowadays the country is renowned for its versatility. It has a lot to offer in both scenery and flora and fauna. You travel from modern Panama City to the jungle in no time. To relax, you visit a tropical beach and for a great hike you climb the Barú volcano.

A cruise ship in the Panama Canal Image gallery
Time zone
In summer -7, In winter -6
Visa
Not required
Vaccinations
Recommended
High season
December – April
Currency
Panamanian balboa (PAB)

Where to stay?

Where to stay?

Panama is well-known for:

  • The world famous Panama Canal
  • Moderns capital Panama City
  • Tropical islands and beaches
  • Visit the original inhabitants of Panama

Keep in mind:

  • It’s not recommended to visit the border between Panama and Colombia

Alternatives nearby

Lake near the Poás volcano
Costa Rica →
Trinidad
Cuba →

Panama highlights Book now

National Park Darien
National parks

The largest national park of Panama is National Park Darien in the east. With over 500.000 acers it is also the largest protected natural area of Central America and it’s where the Amazon region begins. Next to pure jungle there are beautiful beaches, mountainous shores and swamps. The national park is a must for nature lovers and there are different routes available. To discover the park, a local guide is recommended. Although it is the habitat of many birds, the national park is even home to several Indian tribes. With a bit of luck, you can spot the national bird of Panama, the Harpy Eagle.

Caribbean beach at Bocas del Toro
Beaches

Panama has beaches on two different coasts. At the Caribbean coast you will find tropical beaches and a relaxed ambiance. The most beautiful beaches are those on the uninhabited islands of Cayo Zapatilla. Panama’s other beaches are located on the Pacific coast. Here, you can relax in the sun too, but it is a bit more crowded. This is mainly because the white, sandy beaches of Santa Clara, Farallón and the Las Perlas archipelago are close to Panama City. These beaches have stunning blue water, thatched huts in the sand and charming fish restaurants.

Volcano Barú in the Chiriqui highlands
Nature

In terms of nature, Panama has it all. Beautiful national parks, mountains, indigenous communities and meadows. In the largest protected natural area of the country, and Central America, live all kinds of birds. You can also spot jaguars, snakes and tapirs in Panama. Since the country is situated between two oceans, the diversity of animals and plants is enormous. The highest peak of Panama is the 3474-meter-high Barú volcano. Very nice for the avid hiker, is a trail from mountain village Boquete to the top. From there you have a magnificent view. On a clear day you can see both the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea!

Tropical fishes around Panama
Water sports

For water sport freaks there are more than enough possibilities at the Pacific coast. Isla de Coiba National Park is the best spot to dive, and surfing is very nice at Playa Santa Catalina. Go diving in the warm waters to spot tropical fish. With a bit of luck even dolphins and humpback whales swim by. Playa Santa Catalina is the place to be for surfers. The water is nice and warm and the waves can be five meters high! The Las Perlas archipelago, or the Pearl Islands, is a fantastic snorkelling spot. The best place for surfers in the Caribbean Sea is Isla Bastimentos.

A hanging sloth
Wildlife

Since Panama is situated between two oceans and is influenced by two continents, the diversity of animals and plants is enormous. The largest protected natural area of Central America, National Park Darien, is the habitat of many birds including the national bird of Panama, the Harpy Eagle. Next to almost a 1000 different bird species, Panama is home to jaguars, snakes, crocodiles, sloths, tapirs and monkeys.

The special Cathedral de Panamá
Local culture

Do you want to see what Panama City looked like in the old days? Visit Casco Viejo! This is the old city centre of Panama City and due to its beautifully remained monuments it has been admitted to the UNESCO World Heritage list. Make sure you visit the Plaza de la Independencia with the stunning Cathedral de Panamá and enjoy the musical sounds or have a drink on one of the terraces. In the evening and at night you can enjoy the vibrant nightlife here. The original residents of Panama live on the San Blas islands. These Indians still live according to ancient traditions and have great respect for nature.

Shop with clothes and souvenirs
Shopping

Shopaholics have to visit Albrook, Panama City. Here, you’ll find the biggest shopping mall in Latin America. Both the mall and the district are called Albrook and are located in the southwest of the city. More than a hundred shops, catering facilities and entertainment features, like a cinema, attract many foreign tourists. A visit to the Albrook Mall is equal to a day trip.

Punta Pacífica in Panama City
Sights

The long promenade Calzada de Amador connects four islands with Panama City. Mainly on the weekends it is pleasantly crowded with people on roller skates, cyclists and full terraces. Stroll through the parks or admire the biggest port of Panama City. From here you have a stunning view of the famous skyline of the city where Punta Pacífica clearly stands out. This district is one of the most luxurious places in Panama. In between the immense skyscrapers you can find hotels, bars, luxurious shops and boutiques.

Nice monuments in Casco Viejo
UNESCO

Panama doesn´t have many UNESCO heritage sites, however they are very pretty. Due to its beautifully remained monuments, the so called district Casco Viejo is on the UNESCO World Heritage list. Make sure you visit the Plaza de la Independencia with the stunning Cathedral de Panamá and enjoy the musical sounds here. UNESCO Heritage sites are found on the Caribbean coast as well. Near the city of Colón are the remains of Fort San Lorenzo. Visit the ruins of one of the oldest Spanish forts in America where you can see centuries old canons. Only the journey to the fort is very nice. You sail through the Panama Canal and the locks of Gatun.

Map of Panama Book now

We found 24 interesting locations for you in Panama

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Sources used on this page: Tourism Authority of Panama | Toeristiek | Shutterstock | Flickr
Header image: Habitat of the San Blas Indians by Shutterstock