Top 10 Things to do in Panama

A Guide to the Panama's Best Attractions

Panama is a Central American country that is a hidden gem for travelers. With its rich history, diverse landscapes, and friendly people, Panama offers an unforgettable experience for those who visit. From the modern city of Panama City to the lush rainforests, Panama has something for everyone.

Panama City

Top 10 Things to do in Panama

In this article, I will be sharing the top 10 things to do in Panama. From exploring ancient ruins to relaxing on the beach, Panama has an endless array of activities to enjoy. Whether you’re an adventure seeker or looking for a more laid-back experience, Panama’s diverse culture and natural beauty will leave you in awe. So, let’s dive into the top 10 things to do in Panama and start planning your next trip!

Explore the Panama Canal

The Panama Canal is an engineering masterpiece that has captivated the world for over a century. Visitors from all over the globe come to marvel at the canal’s impressive locks and learn about its fascinating history. Take a tour of the canal and witness the amazing feat of engineering that connects two oceans, providing a crucial link for global trade. Watch as massive ships pass through the narrow channel, and learn about the innovative methods used to construct this incredible waterway. It’s an experience that will leave you in awe of human ingenuity and determination.

Panama Canal, top attractions in Panama

Apart from taking a tour, there are plenty of other ways to experience the Panama Canal. You can take a relaxing boat ride through the canal and see firsthand how the locks operate. You can also visit the Panama Canal Museum and learn about the canal’s history and impact on global trade. The canal is a true symbol of Panama’s rich culture and heritage and visiting it is an experience that you will never forget.

Discover the Vibrant Metropolis of Panama City

Visiting Panama City is a must-do when in Panama. This vibrant city offers a mix of modern skyscrapers, historic architecture, and a rich cultural scene. Visitors can explore the UNESCO-listed Casco Viejo, a charming old town with cobbled streets, colorful buildings, and quaint cafes. The Panama Canal is another major attraction in the city that draws visitors from all over the world. The canal is an engineering marvel that connects the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and played a crucial role in shaping the modern world.

Panama City Skyline, best things to do in Panama

In addition to these attractions, Panama City is home to many museums, art galleries, and cultural institutions that showcase the country’s history and heritage. The city also offers a diverse culinary scene with delicious local and international cuisine. With its lively nightlife, world-class shopping, and stunning waterfront views, Panama City is a must-visit destination that should be on every traveler’s bucket list.

Discover the Culture of Casco Viejo

Casco Viejo, also known as Casco Antiguo, is one of the most vibrant and historic districts in Panama City. The neighborhood is renowned for its colorful colonial architecture, quaint streets, and rich cultural heritage. A walking tour of Casco Viejo is a must-do activity for anyone visiting Panama City. With its numerous picturesque plazas, ancient churches, and narrow cobblestone streets, the area is filled with old-world charm and offers a fascinating glimpse into Panama’s colonial past.

Panama Cathedral, Panama City Casto Viejo

While wandering through Casco Viejo’s streets, visitors will have the opportunity to explore art galleries, museums, and boutique shops. The district also has a vibrant nightlife scene, with trendy bars and restaurants serving up delicious Panamanian cuisine. Whether you’re looking for a quiet evening stroll or an exciting night out, Casco Viejo has something for everyone. With its stunning architecture, vibrant culture, and lively atmosphere, Casco Viejo is truly a must-visit destination for any traveler to Panama City

Relax on the Beaches of Bocas del Toro

Bocas del Toro is a tropical paradise that will take your breath away. The archipelago boasts some of the most stunning beaches you’ll ever see. Imagine yourself lounging on the soft white sand, sipping a cold drink, and watching the clear turquoise waters lapping at the shore. The archipelago has many beaches, each with its own unique charm, and you can spend your day hopping from one to the other.

Bocas del Toro, best beaches in Panama

Aside from beach activities, Bocas del Toro also offers plenty of opportunities for adventure. Take a boat tour of the islands, and explore the hidden coves and pristine bays. Go snorkeling or scuba diving, and see the vibrant marine life up close. You can also take a hike through the lush rainforest, where you might spot some exotic wildlife. When you’ve had enough adventure, head to one of the beachside restaurants and savor some fresh seafood while enjoying the laid-back island vibe. Bocas del Toro is a must-visit destination for anyone looking for a tropical paradise. It’s also considered one of the best surf spots in Central America along with more well knows beaches like Playa Tamarindo in Costa Rica and Popoyo beach in Nicaragua.

Hike to the Top of Volcán Barú

Volcán Barú is an adventurer’s dream come true! A lot more challenging than hiking volcán Pacaya in Guatemala or volcán Santa Ana in El Salvador the hike to the top of Panama’s highest peak is not for the faint-hearted, but the stunning views from the summit are worth every step. As you make your way up the trail, you’ll feel like you’re on a journey to the top of the world. The lush tropical forest gives way to a rugged landscape of rocks and boulders, and as you climb higher, the air gets cooler and the views get more spectacular.

Panama Boquete Baru volcano, top things to do in Panama

At the summit, you’ll be rewarded with a panoramic view of the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, the Caribbean coastline, and the surrounding mountain ranges. The feeling of accomplishment you get from reaching the top is unmatched. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even camp overnight at the summit and wake up to a breathtaking sunrise. Imagine waking up to the sun rising over the horizon, with a 360-degree view of the surrounding landscape. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience that you won’t forget anytime soon.

Explore the Rainforest of Soberanía

If you’re a nature lover, Soberanía National Park is a must-visit destination. This protected rainforest near Panama City offers a glimpse into the natural beauty of Panama. The park is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna, including exotic birds, monkeys, sloths, and more. With its lush greenery, towering trees, and winding trails, Soberanía National Park is a hiker’s paradise. You can explore the park on foot and experience the vibrant jungle firsthand. Don’t forget your camera, as you’re sure to capture some breathtaking views of the wildlife and scenery.

Waterfall and stream in Soberania Parque Nacional in Panama

One of the top attractions within the park is the Panama Rainforest Discovery Center. This unique center offers visitors the opportunity to learn more about the local flora and fauna while also providing an up-close look at the treetops. Take a canopy tour and experience the thrill of ziplining through the trees. If you prefer a more laid-back experience, birdwatching is a popular activity in the park. The center offers a birdwatching tour where you can see a variety of bird species in their natural habitat. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast or simply looking for a peaceful escape, Soberanía National Park has something for everyone.

Visit the San Blas Islands 

The San Blas Islands are truly a hidden gem off the coast of Panama, offering an authentic and untouched experience that is hard to find elsewhere. With their turquoise waters, white sand beaches, and rich marine life, the San Blas Islands are the perfect destination for snorkeling, diving, and island hopping. Visitors can explore the 360+ islands that make up the archipelago, each with its own unique charm and beauty.

Islands of San Blas in Panama, best beaches in Panama

In addition to the natural beauty of the islands, the Kuna people who live there add a cultural dimension to the experience. The Kuna have preserved their traditional way of life and customs, and visitors can learn about their history, art, and handicrafts. Staying in an eco-friendly cabana on one of the islands is a wonderful way to immerse oneself in Kuna culture, and visitors can also enjoy traditional meals of fresh seafood and coconut rice. A visit to the San Blas Islands is a rare opportunity to witness a culture and way of life that has remained largely unchanged for centuries, all while enjoying some of the most beautiful scenery in the world.

Relax in the Hot Springs of Boquete

If you’re looking for a break from the tropical heat, Boquete is the perfect place to visit. This charming mountain town in western Panama offers a cooler climate and a wide range of outdoor activities. The natural hot springs are a must-visit attraction, as they are said to have healing properties due to their high mineral content. There’s nothing quite like relaxing in the warm, soothing waters while taking in the stunning mountain scenery.

Boquete Calderas river hot springs

Aside from the hot springs, Boquete is also known for its coffee plantations and hikes. Take a tour of a plantation and learn about the coffee-making process, from bean to cup or hike to the Lost Waterfalls. For the more adventurous, hike to the top of nearby Volcán Barú for breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. Boquete is also a popular spot for birdwatching, with over 300 species of birds living in the area. Keep your eyes peeled for the famous quetzal, a beautiful and rare bird that is a must-see for any birdwatching enthusiast.

Lost Waterfall near Boquete Panama, best things to do in Panama

Visit the Pearl Islands

Upon arrival at the Pearl Islands, visitors can expect to be swept away by the beauty of the crystal-clear waters and white sandy beaches. A boat tour around the islands is highly recommended, providing an opportunity to witness the breathtaking scenery and stop at several unique and charming islands along the way. Activities such as snorkeling and fishing are popular, with the former providing an opportunity to explore the colorful marine life beneath the surface.

Visitors to the Pearl Islands can also visit the town of San Miguel, which boasts a vibrant local culture and history that highlights the importance of the islands to Panama. The fresh seafood in town is a must-try, with a variety of options available. Hiking is another popular activity on the islands, offering stunning views of the surrounding area. Whether visitors are seeking relaxation or adventure, the Pearl Islands provide a tropical paradise that is hard to resist.

Experience the Wildlife of Darién

National Park Darién National Park is a true paradise for nature lovers. Located near the border with Colombia, it is the largest protected rainforest in Central America and is home to an incredible variety of wildlife. It’s hard not to feel a sense of wonder when exploring the park’s untouched wilderness, and it’s easy to see why it’s a UNESCO World Heritage site.

River and rainforest in Darien Gap in Panama

One of the best ways to experience the park is on foot, hiking through the lush jungle and admiring the towering trees and cascading waterfalls. You can also take a boat tour down the Chucunaque River and see the park from a different perspective. As you navigate the winding river, keep your eyes peeled for some of the park’s most famous residents, such as jaguars, pumas, and tapirs. You might even spot a harpy eagle, one of the world’s largest birds of prey, soaring through the sky. The park is also home to several indigenous communities, and visitors can learn about their traditional way of life and customs. With so much to explore and discover, a trip to Darién National Park is a must for any nature enthusiast.


Born and raised in Guatemala Paula currently calls Florida home, where she lives with her husband, two teens and two Goldendoodles. Paula is passionate about travel and writing, and she is on a mission to inspire people to explore the hidden gems of Central America while dispelling myths and fears about the region's safety. You can catch her travel stories and recommendations on and She also loves to create personalize travel itineraries using her expertise about the area. With her deep connection to Central America's vibrant cultures and landscapes, Paula is your guide to discovering the beauty and culture of this enchanting part of the world. She loves crafting personalized travel itinerary for those seeking unforgettable journeys through Central America. And when she's not writing or planning incredible trips, Paula loves whipping up delicious Guatemalan dishes, kayaking and chasing sunsets at the beach.

One Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button