Panama is a very hospitable country with an amazing landscape. It is unique for tourism as it is famous for its variety of attractions. It is suitable both for beach lovers and those who prefer the eco or hiking mode of travel. The most comfortable period of visit is from winter to spring. The climate during this time of year is the driest and least rainy. The most visited place in the country is certainly Panama Canal. It connects the two oceans. Also this country is famous for its rich and amazing nature. There are beautiful nature reserves, volcanoes, mountains, lakes, and much more. In Panama you can see interesting architecture and many other places of interest.
So where to start your trip in Panama?
The first thing every tourist should see is this major bridge between the two largest oceans in the world. It is a creation that was designed and built by ordinary people. Every day a large number and variety of vessels pass through this canal. There are many excursions for tourists here, which allows you to learn more about all the intricacies of this canal. You can also watch the movement of ships and the work of the locks.
If you want to visit the highest point of the country, it is worth going and conquering this inactive volcano. Its height is about 3.5 thousand meters above the sea. From the highest point, you can see a mind-blowing view of both the sea and the ocean. This is an amazing place. To climb it is not difficult. For tourists there is a special way to get to the top.
Panama City Panama
The most famous city of the country, which acts as its capital. When it first began to exist, back in the early 1500s, it was a center for gold and other valuables to be redirected to Europe. Now it is the main economic and cultural guide of the country. It is home to major attractions, museums, cathedrals, and more. Not far from Panama City are the most popular beaches.
City of Bocas del Toro Panama
This beachfront city attracts millions of travelers each year. It is here that all lovers of the sea, sun and beach, noisy parties, comfortable hotels and good restaurants flock. And if you need to get to the famous archipelago in the country, that is where all the excursions and itineraries depart. This is a very beautiful and comfortable resort town. It is also where all the deep diving enthusiasts head.
Archaeological sites Panama Viejo Panama
This is a city that belongs to a separate part of the capital of the country. It is very old and attracts tourists who love to explore various historical sites. The city was built back in the early 1500s. Very often the city was attacked by pirates and Indian tribes. Because of this, it was almost razed to the ground. But it managed to survive. Now the city welcomes all tourists.
Coiba Panama National Park
This amazing Panamanian island has recently become a national park. Its impressive size and the number of islands that comprise it have made it the most popular park in the country. There is a huge concentration of marine life here. The park is also an ideal place for diving, as it has the second largest coral reef in the entire Pacific Ocean. This natural wonder can rightly be considered the most interesting place in the country or even the entire continent.
Bridge of the Americas Panama
This is the first and most famous bridge as it connects the two continents. It was erected back in the 60s. Only cars can drive across it. In 2004, it was widened, so cars were allowed to pass twice as much. The bridge itself looks very beautiful at night when the lights come on.
Islands of the San Blas Archipelago
Not far from the capital is this amazing archipelago, which is home to several beautiful islands. By visiting them, you can get to know the tribe of Indians who have managed to maintain their personal independence from the country. They welcome guests and are happy to tell them about their life and traditions. It is also a good place for fishing, diving, and just relaxing on the beach.
Boquete Town in Panama
This wonderful town can be seen if you go to the Caldera Valley. There are plenty of opportunities for tourists to have a good time. You can walk through the jungle or go rafting on the river. It is also a good place for fishing. Near the city there are large coffee plantations, where tourists can go and try several types of local coffee.
Beach Komarca Kuna Yala
In the Caribbean Sea there is a stunning beach that all tourists seek. This wild beach will not provide guests with five-star accommodations. Here, the local Kuna tribe will offer their cabins for rent and even cook you a meal. Thus, you can spend a couple of days immersed in the life and culture of this Indian tribe and experience all the charms of their life.
Sendero de los Quetzales Trail
This trail attracts all visitors who prefer to hike through stunning wilderness. The trail gets its name from the quetzal bird. It is very rare and only found in South America. The trail leads hikers through pristine natural paradises. Its final point is the summit, which offers a mind-blowing view of the entire trail.
This islet in the Gulf of Panama is another natural attraction. It is a unique opportunity for tourists to see the rare brown pelicans in this area. There is also a huge rain forest on the island that you can hike through. Beach lovers will love the local beach with clean sand and clear water.
Bastimentos National Marine Park
On the island of the same name was opened this beautiful reserve, which later became a national park. More precisely, it is a marine park. It is located in the Caribbean Sea. A large number of different animals are concentrated here, among which you can find monkeys, sloths and even crocodiles. There are good boat tours of the park and details about all its benefits.
Santa Catalina Panama
Back in the 20th century it was an ordinary, unattractive fisherman’s village. But after surfers wandered into the area, it became their favorite place. After that, the village began to transform. Now there are a large number of different cafes, hotels and surfing equipment rentals. So fans of this kind of water sport should definitely visit this place.
It is a road that connects the capital with the nearby islands. The tiled walkway, surrounded on both sides by beautiful views of the water surface, is one of the favorite walking spots not only for locals but also for visitors to the country. There is also a two-way car path. It took several years to build and was finished in 1913.
The Pearl Islands of Panama
Traveling around the Gulf of Panama, it is worth visiting these stunning islands. They are very picturesque and interesting. They are named so because in the 16th century, pearls were mined here. But after the red tide, these shellfish disappeared. But the name remained. Tourists who love to bask in the sun, often go to these very islands. The place is really memorable.
International Park La Amistad
This is not quite an ordinary park. All because it is placed right on the border of the country with Costa Rica. The largest area of this place is the rain forest. For tourists this is a unique place, because you can visit two countries at the same time. Walking through the wilderness with mind-blowing views or boating on the river, you can get great aesthetic pleasure. And by visiting a few tribes, you can learn about their culture and customs.
Playa Las Lajas
Another popular beach of Panama, which spreads over 14 kilometers. Here you can rent a cozy bungalow for a romantic vacation or vacation with the whole family. Due to the fact that the beach is large, there will not be pandemonium of people. The water here is clean, and the descent is smooth, so you can allow even children to swim. There are also various cafes in the area, where you can have a good meal and try Panamanian national food.
Fortifications of Portobello and San Lorenzo
These two mighty forts, more than once defended the country from attacks from the sea. That is why they have been destroyed many times. Despite this, they were restored and strengthened again. The forts were built in the 17th century. From one fort to another is worth traveling 50 kilometers. Lovers of military architecture should visit this place to admire these majestic structures.
Darien National Park Panama
This park is considered to be the largest of all those placed on the territory of Panama. This biosphere reserve started its existence in 1983. It is located almost on the border with Colombia. Tourists can visit only some parts of the park, while others are not allowed to enter, as it can be quite dangerous. There are two tribes of Indians living in the park who can also be encountered.
Panama Centennial Bridge
This bridge is relatively new. It was built 16 years ago. The thing is that the bridge of the two Americas began to be severely overloaded, so it was decided to build another one to help him. The design of this bridge is more modern and looks very beautiful and powerful. Tourists love to visit it at night when it glows with thousands of lights.
Biomuseum in Panama
If you go on a tour of the Panama Canal, you should definitely visit the biomuseum, which is located at the beginning of the canal. It is an interesting and modern structure, which is impressive in its appearance and its size. The main purpose pursued by its creator is to get acquainted with the extraordinary nature of Panama.
City of El Vaie de Antón
This is a very colorful and unusual town. All due to its location. It is located directly in the crater of an inactive volcano. Surrounded by only wild, unspoiled nature. For fans of eco-tourism and active pastime this is the most suitable place. Here you can climb into the mountains, visit hot springs or ride through the beautiful places on horseback. Also in the town there is often a fun fair.
Chagres National Park
Another Panamanian national park that was created for a very responsible mission. It protects the basin of the river of the same name that supplies the people of Panama City with drinking water. You can go to this park for a wild vacation with tents, take a boat or scooter ride on the river, go fishing, and just have a great time. As a memento of Panama you can buy interesting souvenirs that are made by the hands of the local tribe.
Top 22 Best Panama Sights
Panama is an attractive country of Central America, washed by the Caribbean Sea on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other. Almost all of its territory passes through a chain of mountain peaks, surrounded by coastal lowlands with fantastic beaches. The state also includes several islands, one of which is a pearl mine.
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Who goes to Panama and why?
Most tourists associate Panama with a canal of the same name. In fact, the tourist potential of the country is impressive. Lovers of unusual architecture will appreciate Panama City because of its bold projects and unusual solutions.
Due to the fact that the state is located in a zone of humid equatorial forests, people have not affected the state of local nature. These areas are home to 220 species of mammals, 978 varieties of birds, hundreds of species of insects and reptiles, and tens of thousands of plant species.
To get acquainted with the native inhabitants of the country, it is enough to take a canoe trip on the Chagres River. In the jungle are built thatched houses of the Embera tribe, the indigenous people of Panama. To see the traditions of their life will be very interesting.
And surfers should stop by Santa Catalina to enjoy first class waves. The waves reach their maximum in February and March.
Of course, one of the reasons to visit the country are the colorful holidays. And no matter when a tourist comes to Panama, he can always witness colorful events.
Architectural Sights of Panama
Panama City is a true cluster of architectural sights in the country. You can walk along Balboa Boulevard, go to the National Theater and San Jose Church, the fortress of Las Boevdas, which was erected to protect gold and silver from pirates, and now is used as an art gallery. A monument to the national hero Simon Bolivar has also been erected here.
This town was built back in 1517 and is now part of Panama City. The inhabitants were regularly forced to defend themselves against Indians and pirates, but in 1671 another invasion left their dwelling in ruins. Now every tourist can see the ancient architecture of Panama Viejo.
Bridge of the Two Americas
It is the first non-divergent bridge between America’s south and north. In 2004, the bridge was widened and can accommodate about 35,000 vehicles per day. The bridge looks incredible in the evening hours when it is illuminated.
Museums and Galleries
Biomuseum in Panama City
In 2014, the Biomuseum opened in the suburbs of Panama City. Popular architect Frank Gehry was responsible for the project. The 4,000-square-meter building turned out to be bright and eye-catching.
The museum has beautiful natural history exhibits. The most interesting is the room with 12 screens, creating an immersive effect in nature. They are placed not only on the sides of the visitor, but also under his feet and over his head. Monkeys jump in front of tourists, sharks swim under them. And how the heart sinks from the recreated storm!
Museum of Sacred Art
This museum was erected on the site of an old chapel that was destroyed by fire, like most colonial-era structures. The restoration of the building in 1974 made it possible to recreate its original image. Nearby are the ruins of the monastery of Santo Domingo.
The Museum of Sacred Art exhibits religious heritage items from the colonial era and personal belongings of religious figures, ministers and their family members. The exhibits date back to the 16th and 18th centuries.
What attracts the most attention is the eighteenth-century altar made of gold. The legend says that the old priest painted the altar black so pirates would not steal it. In addition to the regular display, temporary exhibitions are also held here.
Panama Canal Museum
The museum was founded as a non-profit public organization. Since 1997 its doors are open to travelers who want to know the details of the construction of the canal.
The museum occupies three floors with various posters, stretchers, photographs, sketches, etc. One of the rooms shows a film made on the bow of the ship. Other rooms show the everyday life and equipment of the construction period: workers’ clothes, tools, telephones. Here you can even see samples of soil.
Art Gallery Diablo Rosso
The gallery was founded in 2006 and is an experimental project that helps young artists to show their work to the world. The founders of the gallery try to encourage their unusual perspective on art and develop young talents.
Diablo Rosso is a multifunctional and innovative center that includes an exhibition hall and a concept store. It organizes exhibitions, film screenings, lectures and workshops. The store sells items and clothes from young designers.
The gallery’s motto is “Art as the fuel of life.” Superb paintings and sculptures, artisan works by local and international specialists are exhibited here. It is the only art auction house in the country. The owner of the institution puts his heart and soul into the work, sourcing pieces from all over the world.
The institution is dedicated to developing new types of contemporary art. The gallery includes three large halls. Characteristic of the Marion is the Carlos Cruz-Diz exhibit, presented on a regular basis. His plastic works surprise with a play of colors that deceives the eyes of the ordinary viewer. In this way, visitors are invited to look at art from a new angle.
City of Boquete
The mountain town of Boquete is located in the foothills of the Baru volcano. This place is considered a paradise because of its pleasant climate and scenic views. In Boquete you can taste the most delicious coffee in the world, including expensive varieties – for example, Geisha cost 1600 dollars per kilogram or 40 per cup. Older people love this city for its ecology and good living conditions.
Mercado de Abatos
This is a farmer’s market that sells almost everything from beans and coffee, to aromatic herbs, fruits, vegetables and prepared foods. All products are quality, fresh and delicious. Onions, pineapples, avocados, mangoes, and peppers are fairly cheap at the market. Travelers often come here to try the local street food, experience the color of the market, and buy souvenirs.
This place is considered the soul of Panamanian culture. There are many farms and ranches here that were not affected by the Spanish colonizers. Incredible scenery of hills, quiet and calm beaches, and the soothing sound of waves. Here you can forget about the outside world and be alone with yourself.
The culture of Spain still left a mark on the local architecture. Buildings in the colonial style look curious. On the peninsula are often organized noisy parties. And surfers are advised to visit the beach Venao.
This is the best place to try traditional Panamanian dishes. It is worth wandering around the aisles first to get a sense of the inexpressible atmosphere. And the prices of the gourmet seafood here don’t sting, on the contrary.
All the products are of unbelievable quality and always fresh. After examining the goods, you can go up to the second floor, where the restaurant row is located.
La Loma Chocolate Farm
Chocolate farm is just an incredible place, cut off from civilization and without electricity. It is located on a remote island called Bastimentos (Bocas de Toro archipelago). Travelers will be told and shown how chocolate is grown and produced, and will be given the opportunity to taste the fruit of cocoa beans at any time of the year.
Bastimentos also allows walks through the mangroves that descend to the beaches. The mysterious semi-submerged Nivida Cave, under the arches of which you can swim, attracts the attention of intrepid tourists.
Every trip you want to bring nice gifts for friends and relatives and to take something for your memory. The choice of goods at the souvenir market is amazing. For example, you can buy a molasses, a woven blanket, embroidered by local craftsmen.
These blankets depict abstract patterns or pictures of nature. The product is durable and sturdy, so this textile is very popular among tourists.
Natural attractions and islands
This is a tropical archipelago, which includes a huge number of islands with white sand and clear water. The locals call San Blas “Guna Yala,” the name of the Indian people living there. The islands are arranged in groups and individually, and bamboo houses are built on them. The inhabitants of the archipelago are engaged in fishing and raising pets. By the way, the natives love to host tourists.
San Blas – a great place to relax in a hammock between the palm trees. You can lay like that all day, enjoying the scenery and drinking coconut milk.
The hill is 360 meters high and is considered a historical treasure of the country. The land on it used to belong to the authorities of America, and only in the eighties it passed to the rightful owner. Now the flag of Panama flies on Ancolahill. It is the only high point around the capital, and the view from the hill is breathtaking.
The volcano is located in the national park of the same name in the province of Chiriqui, near the Talamanca Mountain Range. Baru is considered the highest point of the country and reaches 3.4 thousand meters. The volcano is popular for its therapeutic thermal waters, so tourists from all over Central America come here – for recreation and recovery. Also, climbers and mountaineers will appreciate this place.
There are trails along the slopes of Baru to watch the beautiful quetzal bird, exotic orchids, tapirs and other representatives of the local fauna. The volcano looks beautiful at dawn. It’s not easy to get up there, but the sight is definitely worth the effort.
The island is located 50 kilometers off the Panamanian coast in the Pacific Ocean and is included in the Pearl Archipelago. Travelers consider it a paradise, because there are beautiful sandy beaches and the water has an amazing shade of turquoise. Contadora Island has Panama’s only nudist beach.
Panama’s National Parks
This reserve was created to protect the ecosystem of the river of the same name providing drinking water for Panama’s capital city. Recreation conditions for tourists are well organized: you can go water-skiing or scootering, fishing, live under the open sky of the rainforest. There is a unique opportunity to buy goods of local artisans.
This park is rightly considered one of the most beautiful places in the country. Here you can see marine life: dolphins, coral reefs, and bright tropical fish swimming among actinia and algae. In the local waters it is easy to meet a hammerhead fish or even a whale shark.
The national park has excellent beaches. Coiba is an archipelago of 38 islands in the Gulf of Chiriqui. The park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one of the main natural attractions of Panama. What is interesting, there are not many tourists on Coiba, so the infrastructure is not much developed and the park has kept almost pristine condition.
Half an hour from Panama City and you’re in a national park where you can watch birds and animals. The park runs along much of the Isthmus, passing along Lake Gatun and reaching Paraiso.
Sobrania is considered the most accessible rainforest in the country. There are several trails formed for tourists, along which people encounter sloths, black howler monkeys, and monkeys. There are also more than five hundred species of birds from toucans to tanagers.