Panama is a colorful melting pot as rich in cultural diversity as it is in landscapes
and wildlife. While the beaches are idyllic and boast nearly 1,600 miles of coastline
along both the Pacific and Caribbean, the country has much more than white sands,
coral reefs and coconut trees.
From rainforests, jungles and foggy cloud forests, to mountain highlands, mangrove
swamps and even a desert, Panama offers up an ideal multi-destination vacation for
most any style of traveler.
Panama as we know it today dates back to the 16th century and its role as a Colonial
trading port, but indigenous peoples (who still happily live in the country today
alongside Chinese, Arab, Jewish, European and even retired U.S. expats) predate
its storied past. It is this dichotomy of old and new that makes Panama such an
appealing destination for so many. There are amazing art galleries, restaurants,
museums, festivals, spas and more, but there also are adventure opportunities, including
rock climbing, white water rafting, surfing, diving and more. Want to be immersed
in local culture? Visit the Kuna tribe to experience their intricately hand sewn
Molas or the Wounaan or Embera tribes for their woven baskets.
Alive with the beat of history yet contemporary and cosmopolitan,
Panama City is the capital and largest city in country offering a wide array
of activities, including the iconic Panama Canal and easy access to day trips to
places including Gatun Lake, Metropolitan National Park, the Share Embera tribe
and the ruins of the Colonial Old City. If you’d like an alternate view of the Canal,
“Panama’s Second City” of
Colon provides a new vantage point and the second largest duty free port
in the world. Even better than shopping, Colon is a UNESCO designated site and provides
the same easy access to day trips as Panama City but with less of the hustle and
There are several Caribbean island archipelagos to visit while in Panama, including
the unspoiled San
Blas (where the Kuna people live), the notorious ex pirate hangout
Pearl Islands, and the immensely charming and popular
Bocas del Toro, where you’ll quickly find it’s best to leave those
pesky shoes behind and discover barefoot luxury. Across the country, you’ll find
the Pacific Beaches.
These get less rain than their Caribbean sisters, have a generally better infrastructure
yet remain a fraction of the cost. Although we recommend visitors check out the
ruins of Panama Viejo or Pedasi while on the Pacific Beaches, their proximity to
Panama City also make them an easy day trip.
If you’re looking for something a bit more traditional, we recommend the completely
isolated interior areas of
Coclé and the Azuero Peninsula, where visitors will experience a folkloric
pace of life that allows for true enjoyment of the national drink (produced on the
peninsula), the local sea turtle nesting ground and some time to reconnect with
loved ones— and with yourself. Farther south, visitors will find every possible
landscape packed into one pretty small region. Untouched and remote,
Chiriqui, including Volcan Baru, David and Boquete, is believed to be one
of the most important ecological areas in all of Central America— from its highlands
to its pristine shoreline— and it’s waiting to be discovered by you.
Once you’ve taken in all Panama has to offer, you may become an expat too!
Explore our suggested itineraries to Panama with our destination specialists at
(800) 772-9188 to customize your extraordinary journey to Panama with our private
guides in private cars.