Panama is a fantastic place to travel, with plenty to explore and discover. The diversity of its terrain and the bunch of activities you can partake in here make Panama the ultimate destination for any tourist.
Here are your dos and don’ts for your time in Panama…
Avoid losing your documents by carrying a copy of your ID or passport and leaving the original ones in a safe place.
Panama is a safe place, but every country and city in the world has places you should avoid. It’s not advisable to visit unfamiliar streets at night. This primarily holds for unlit avenues and areas close to major tourist hotspots.
Panama experiences high temperatures all year, so staying hydrated is the only way to survive. Walk with a water bottle and a face towel to wipe sweat.
With access to the azure Pacific and the turquoise Caribbean, Panama is arguably the most tourist-friendly destination.
Let’s look at the best places to travel in Panama.
El Valle de Anton is a small Panamanian village surrounded by an old volcanic caldera. Because of its seclusion from the rest of civilization, El Valle de Anton is not as developed as other places. The standard mode of transport is a bicycle or on foot.
You won’t get much western culture in this village, but you can enjoy visiting nearby forests where you can take part in bird-watching, visit impressive set of waterfalls, hike up the India Dormida trail, and much more.
Chiriqui remains an excellent tourist destination for Panamanians and global travelers. You can explore miles of deserted pristine beaches and Panama’s only volcano, Volcan Baru.
Chiriqui offers experiences for just about anyone. If you like active adventures, sport fishing, rock climbing, hiking, white water rafting, and snorkeling should be in your to-do list. If you like more laidback activities, coffee tours, the Feria del Café y las Flores (Coffee and Flower Fair), and culinary tours should be on your list.
Bocas Del Toro comprises a chain of islands, and represents Panama’s vibrant Caribbean culture. Expect to find a friendly, laidback vibe here. Explore the local nature in the daytime and await the super active nightlife.
If you’re a seasoned diver, you can take a science dive with the Smithsonian or head to Bastimentos National Park for more accessible marine activities, like snorkeling and diving.
Since Bocas Del Toro is home to 95% of the Caribbean coral species, expect to see different tropical reef creatures such as stingrays. Explore the Nivida Cave to see more of these creatures.
Colon is a small Caribbean province in Panama with outstanding scenery. One of the highlights of touring Colon is the Caribbean towns like Portobelo. You will enjoy the rich food culture and the traditional Calypso music here.
If you’re looking for relaxing activities, you can soak in the sun on the sandy beaches or take a boat tour. You can also trek and hike through the magical forest of Portobelo National Park.
Thanks to its proximity to the Dry Arc of Panama, Los Santos experiences the sunniest days. It is located in the center of Panama and has both traditional, charming, and modern cultures. You can relax under stunning waterfalls or bask under the sun at the beach.
In this province, you’ll get amazing beaches where you can surf and more. Other outdoor activities in Los Santos include hiking to cascading waterfalls and riding horses on the beach.
This small beach town rests on the edge of Coiba National Park. Coiba island was once a penal colony under Spanish rule. The waters surrounding the island are suitable for subaquatic activities. Hiking trips above Coiba National Park will take you near the wildlife, and you can even tour the abandoned prison.
Boquete is Panama’s best hiking and white water rafting destination, and it’s also where Volcan Baru is located. Volcan Baru is the highest peak in all of Panama.
Boquete is located in the mountains of Chiriqui. The town is very international due to the numerous American experts who have taken residence here.
You will find many things to do in Herrera. Visit the traditional handicraft markets or the artisan bread and pastries to treat yourself.
While in Herrera, make sure you taste the national drink “seco,” which is a spirit made from sugarcane production. You can tour the Hacienda distillery where this drink was initially produced. This distillery also houses Ron Abuelo, and you can try a rum that has aged for years.
The easiest way to travel in Panama is by bus. The public buses operate frequently throughout the country and charge less than US$2. The long-haul buses are ultra-modern and air-conditioned. Note that there is no online ticket booking system in Panama. Simply appear at the bus station and purchase your bus ticket at the counter.
Air travel is also a viable option to travel in Panama. A flight from Panama City to David, for example, costs about US$100. Another option is to rent a car. Most rental firms only accept drivers over 25 years old.
You don’t need a visa to travel to Panama. However, since the COVID-19 pandemic, other restrictions do exist. For example, you must complete an electronic affidavit of good health before entering Panama. You can find the affidavit form here. Once completed, the affidavit will produce a QR code that will be scanned upon arrival at Panama City Tocumen Airport.
You will be prompted to present the address of your accommodation and a contact phone number.
You should confirm that your travel documents meet the specifications.
When visiting Panama, your passport should be credible for at least six months from the exit date in Panama. The passport should also feature an unused page.
Panama is among the most expensive countries to visit in Central America. It uses the United States Dollar, though, so there’s no need to worry about changing to local currency. Accommodations start at about US$15 a night, but there are places where you’ll be charged about US$140 a night. Do your research before booking you hotel room, Airbnb, bed and breakfast, etc. You can reduce costs by opting for local cafes, markets, and transportation.
You should travel to Panama between January and mid-April. However, you can travel the rest of the year if you don’t mind a bit of rain. This period allows you to experience treasured Panamanian events and festivals.
Panama is safe. However, you should always exercise high caution, especially at night in larger cities. You should walk with a copy of your passport and hide money in an underclothes money belt.
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