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7 Best Places to Visit in Panama

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Historic District in Panama City

Historic District in Panama City

From the colorful buildings of Panama City’s Old Town to the crystal-clear waters surrounding the Bocas del Toro Islands, the best places to visit in Panama exude historic charm and natural beauty.

The marvels of Panama swirl around a combination of heritage and history, connecting visitors to the traditions of indigenous communities and powerful feats of human engineering. Whether discovering cloud forests and volcanic peaks, radiant beaches and coral gardens, archeological ruins and cultural museums, Panama is a destination filled with discovery.

The following guide on the best places to travel to in Panama provides an outline for exploring nature, heritage, and wildlife during your personalized trip.

Overview
  1. 1. Panama City
  2. 2. Bocas del Toro
  3. 3. Boquete
  4. 4. Volcan
  5. 5. Golfo de Chiriqui National Marine Park
  6. 6. Coiba National Marine Park
  7. 7. Azuero Peninsula
  8. Explore the Best Places to Visit in Panama

1. Panama City

Skyline of Panama City

Skyline of Panama City

Panama City is a place of luxury and contemporary comforts, as well as historical beauty and old-world architecture.

With complexities making a single definition impossible, Panama City can introduce you to the marvels of the Panama Canal, the unique heritage buildings and cobbled lanes of Casco Viejo, or the country’s diverse ecology at the Museum of Biodiversity.

From exceptional wildlife featured in a discovery center to the open space of the local national park that acts as the lungs of fast-paced streets, Panama City is an eclectic marvel for the traveler interested in culture, history, hiking, or wildlife.

Highlights: Panama Canal • Casco Viejo • Panama Viejo • Paseo de las Bovedas • Soberania National Park

Recommended length of stay: 2-3 days

2. Bocas del Toro

Red Frog Beach in Bocas del Toro, Panama

Red Frog Beach in Bocas del Toro, Panama

Bocas del Toro is a collection of islands known as Panama’s premier beach destination in the Caribbean Sea.

Low-lying tropical beaches stretch out near the border with Costa Rica, offering soft sands that fade into azure waters with crystal-clear visibility. The relaxed ambiance welcomes travelers eager to surf or swim, scuba dive or lounge beneath the golden sunlight while embracing the long stretches of coastline.

Travel by boat to remote islands or embrace the exhilarating energy of the more popular beaches as you bask in the idyllic beauty of Bocas del Toro.

Highlights: Bluff Beach • Red Frog Beach • Bocas Town • Polo Beach • Isla Bastimentos National Marine Park

Recommended length of stay: 3-4 days

3. Boquete

Coffee plantations in Boquete, Panama

Coffee plantations in Boquete, Panama

Boquete has quickly become Panama’s adventure destination, nestled as it is deep in mountains over 6,500 feet above sea level.

With access to cloud forests and untouched nature, the natural world can steal your focus and breath as you trek to find hidden waterfalls or search the trees for the shimmering plumage of the resplendent quetzal. How you enjoy Boquete is as exciting as what you find, with immersion into the marvels of nature and the celebrated flavors of the coffee and tea cultivated in the country.

From the thrill of zooming through the trees to sampling local ingredients shaped by the elevation and weather conditions, Boquete feels a world apart from the tropical Islands and cities.

Highlights: Hiking • Birding • Wildlife spotting • Coffee farm visit • Hanging bridges • Ziplining

Recommended length of stay: 3-4 days

4. Volcan

Barú Volcan in the Panama Highlands

Barú Volcan in the Panama Highlands

Celebrated for its lush soils and enchanting landscapes, Volcan is referred to as Panama’s breadbasket, but also much more. With a view of the country’s highest peak, Volcán Barú, the area’s volcanic soils give the local ingredients intense flavors, from the coffee to the fruit, the tea to the nuts.

Beyond the delicious cuisine, the scenery can sweep you off your feet as you wander along cloud forest trails to discover waterfalls and panoramas. Find evidence of jaguars, learn about the cultivation and brewing process of coffee, or enjoy the more than 2,000 varieties of orchid.

Highlights: Artisan visits • Sitio Barriles • Wildlife spotting • Coffee farm visit • Cloud forest trails

Recommended length of stay: 2-3 days

5. Golfo de Chiriqui National Marine Park

Howler monkey mother and baby in  Golfo de Chiriqui National Marine Park

Howler monkey mother and baby in Golfo de Chiriqui National Marine Park

Spread across Panama’s Pacific Coast, Chiriqui National Marine Park protects the vulnerable reefs, mangroves, and island that support the area’s incredible marine and wildlife. The result is a sensational combination of secluded beaches, weather-beaten cliffs, and towering coconut palms.

Find passing humpback whales while snorkeling along the coastline or listen to the howler monkeys hollering in the afternoon. Green iguanas lounge on the warm rocks, manta rays swirl within the crystal-clear waters, and tiger herons search for insects in the soil.

Highlights: San Jose Island • Bolaños Island • Gámez Island • Parida Island

Recommended length of stay: 3-4 days

6. Coiba National Marine Park

Barracuda schooling and scuba diver in Coiba National Marine Park

Barracuda schooling and scuba diver in Coiba National Marine Park

Resting near the Gulf of Chiriqui, Coiba National Park is an exceptional place to find rich waters, exotic trees, and the largest island in Panama.

Spanning over 190 square miles, with 40 islands, coral reefs, and mangrove forests, Coiba National Marine Park offers natural protection to its marine life, which includes humpback whales, dolphins, hammerhead sharks, and tiger sharks.

Scuba diving can connect you to barracudas and marlin, sea turtles and white-tip reef sharks, while exploring the landscape can introduce you to white-faced capuchin monkeys or scarlet macaws.

Highlights: Wildlife spotting • Birding • Hiking • Scuba diving • Snorkeling • Coiba Island

Recommended length of stay: 2-3 days

7. Azuero Peninsula

Beach in Las Tablas, Azuero Peninsula, Panama

Beach in Las Tablas, Azuero Peninsula, Panama

The Azuero Peninsula embodies Panama’s heritage as though funneled into the peninsula for protection.

Farming, folklore, and tradition remain powerful demonstrations of the country’s rich culture, featured in the architecture and festivities.

From towns with picturesque Spanish architecture to hidden islands protecting local ecology, active excursions to view baby turtles to elements of history dating back to pre-Columbian indigenous groups, you can indulge in boutique luxuries or bask in the exciting celebrations of Carnival, providing a new perspective for an equally welcoming, but completely different side of Panama.

Highlights: Sarigue Desert • Pedasí • Isla Iguana • Cambutal • Las Tablas

Recommended length of stay: 2-3 days

Explore the Best Places to Visit in Panama

Coffee plantations in Boquete, Panama

Coffee plantations in Boquete, Panama

Whether learning more about the cultures of indigenous communities or finding colorful wildlife in the tropical jungle, the best places to visit in Panama invite you into the unique world of a surprising destination, and our Panama vacations provide more ideas on how you can enjoy your trip.

Learn more about the top experiences in Panama or explore the key details for making your trip unforgettable before speaking with a local travel specialist by searching our Panama travel guide.

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