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1 Week In Panama: An Epic Nature-Targeted Itinerary


I got here away from Panama satisfied that it’s totally underrated. With all of the journey speak fixated on the better-promoted Costa Rica, its neighbor typically goes ignored — regardless that it gives an analogous array of ecotourism experiences and browsing hotspots, to not point out a protected capital to discover.

I’ve carried out two journeys to Panama: one for per week and one lasting two weeks. Not every part made the minimize on this itinerary, so what I’ll current here’s a “better of” journey route specializing in the highlights.

On this 1 week itinerary, you’re going to get an epic mixture of historical past, tradition, nature, and journey within the stunning nation of Panama. I’ll additionally make it easier to navigate your means round whether or not you’re touring solo, with associates, or as a pair.

So, let’s dive in and uncover what 1 week in Panama can supply!

Day 1: Panama Metropolis

Panama City buildings in the distance and park and coast.
Skyscrapers of Panama Metropolis

Your week-long journey will begin in Panama Metropolis, the capital metropolis. Whereas I feel town is barely of average curiosity from a vacationer’s perspective, it stands out for being a largely protected capital in Central America, so you’ll be able to discover it with out too many worries.

I’ve written extra about whether or not it’s value visiting Panama Metropolis, however in a nutshell, I feel it’s value at the very least spending your first day right here. This contemporary metropolis doesn’t have an inexhaustible listing of issues to do, however it’s best to on the very least see the world-famous Panama Canal and the charming space known as Casco Viejo.

Arriving in Panama Metropolis

You’ll fly into Tocumen Worldwide Airport. From there, it’s only a quick trip into town. The very first thing you’ll discover is the distinction between the previous and new elements of town. On one hand, you will have the trendy skyscrapers, and on the opposite, you will have the charming colonial structure.

Probably the greatest issues about touring to Panama is that they have a wonderful transport system, so it’s straightforward to get round. The community of metros and buses makes it easy to navigate your means across the metropolis, and they’re all very reasonably priced.

You can too hail a taxi or seize an Uber within the metropolis. I like to recommend taking an Uber if in case you have the choice. Taxi drivers are identified for elevating the costs for vacationers, so utilizing Uber can prevent some cash and trouble.

Exploring Panama Metropolis

A woman facing backwards walking on a street in Casco Viejo, Panama.
Casco Viejo

Kick off your exploration in Casco Viejo, the walled previous middle of Panama Metropolis, the place each cobblestone appears to inform a narrative. Wander by the colourful streets, snapping pics of the beautiful structure and popping into stylish cafes for a caffeine repair or a fast snack. Don’t neglect to take a look at the quaint outlets and artwork galleries that give this UNESCO World Heritage Website its modern-day vibrance.

This legends tour is a good way to completely expertise the neighborhood in simply a few hours. You’ll be a part of an area on foot and uncover the hidden gems and attractive treats of Casco Viejo.

Whereas the colourful historic structure is beautiful, the Casco Viejo isn’t that huge, so having a tour information sharing native tales and historic context is a serious profit if you wish to discover it correctly.

Afterward, head to one of many rooftop bars for lunch, comparable to Sama Sky Lounge or at CasaCasco, from the place you may get a wonderful view of the Panama Metropolis skyline.

After lunch, make your option to the Panama Canal. This iconic marvel of engineering is a must-visit when in Panama Metropolis. If you happen to go to independently, you should definitely time it so {that a} ship is passing once you go to as a result of with out it, it’s not practically as spectacular! You can too be a part of this tour and be taught in regards to the historical past and significance of this spectacular waterway that connects the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

I’ve stayed within the fashionable space of Panama Metropolis in addition to within the Casco Viejo. With in the future within the metropolis, I positively advocate staying within the latter. The previous city is brimming with charming boutique accommodations and there are even some funds choices. I like to recommend staying at La Concordia; the vibe is charming, and the decor is a mixture of classic and fashionable.

Day 2-4: Boquete

On day 2, it’s time to go away town and head to the charming mountain city of Boquete. Identified for its pure magnificence, espresso plantations, and journey actions, it’s the proper escape from the hustle and bustle of Panama Metropolis.

Tips on how to Get to Boquete

Street in Boquete with a few people and cars.

Attending to Boquete is an journey in itself, with winding roads and breathtaking views of the countryside. You will get there in a couple of other ways:

  • By air: The quickest option to attain Boquete is by taking a home flight from Panama Metropolis to the close by metropolis of David. It’s additionally the costliest, costing somewhat over $100. From there, you’ll be able to take a bus or taxi to Boquete. The bus solely prices about two {dollars} from David and takes about an hour.
  • By rental automotive: This offers you probably the most flexibility to cease at completely different viewpoints and discover at your personal tempo. You may seek for rental vehicles in Panama Metropolis right here.
  • By bus: The general public buses in Panama are cheap and dependable. Simply be ready for an extended journey, as it may well take round 7 hours from Panama Metropolis to Boquete. The bus leaves from Albrook station and goes to David, the place you’ll have to change buses earlier than reaching Boquete.
  • By shared shuttle: Many corporations supply shared shuttle companies that may choose you up out of your resort in Panama Metropolis and drop you off at your resort in Boquete. There’s a nice possibility for individuals who don’t need to take care of the trouble of driving or navigating public transportation however don’t need to pay for a non-public taxi. By taking a shared shuttle you’ll skip having to switch to David and can go on to Boquete

Mountaineering in Boquete

When you arrive in Boquete, you’ll instantly discover the cooler local weather and brisker air. It’s somewhat slice of paradise for nature lovers, with loads of climbing trails and waterfalls to select from.

And if you happen to’re a espresso lover, you’re in luck – Boquete is thought for its world-renowned espresso plantations.

Almost definitely, you’ll be exhausted from the journey except you resolve to take a flight, so spend the primary day stress-free and acclimating to the slower tempo of this charming city.

Get up on day 3, energized and able to begin your adventures. I like to recommend having a fast breakfast earlier than heading out for a morning hike within the cloud forest. Lots of people choose to do that on their very own as there are such a lot of completely different trails to select from, however if you happen to’re not aware of the realm or need a information, this half-day tour is a superb possibility.

You’ll head to the beginning of Pipeline Path, a simple and scenic hike by the forest with loads of alternatives to identify wildlife like colourful birds, monkeys, and even sloths if you happen to’re fortunate.

Strive Boquete’s Famed Espresso

A coffee plantation in Boquete, Panama.

After a morning of working up a sweat, head again to city for a tasty lunch at one of many many cafes or eating places. You may’t go mistaken with anywhere you select – however my favourite is The Fish Home.

Don’t miss the possibility to sip on a domestically roasted espresso whereas taking within the stunning views of the mountains and surrounding panorama.

Higher but, you’ll be able to strive one of many world’s greatest espresso varieties: geisha espresso, identified for its unimaginable aroma and taste. You’ll discover these beans in different elements of the world at a excessive price ticket, however right here, you’ll be able to take pleasure in it for a fraction of the price. The charming and comfy La Vuida Del Cafe is my favourite cafe to have a cup of the geisha bean.

You can too go to native espresso farms, comparable to Finca dos Jefes. Have in mind they don’t actually do ‘walk-ins’ although. Whereas exploring the realm by motorcycle with some associates I ended by this espresso farm, however they weren’t so eager on letting us in with out an appointment. Many of the espresso farms solely settle for guests who’re on an area tour.

You can too take a guided tour at Finca Casanga. The expertise right here could be very hands-on, informative, and interactive!

Journey Actions in Boquete

A woman taking a picture of a waterfall in Boquete, Panama.

On day 4, you’ll need to get up and instantly head to Olga’s for breakfast. This can be a must-stop spot for anybody visiting Boquete. Olga herself will greet you with a heat smile and probably the most mouth-watering breakfast choices from savory omelets to candy pancakes.

After breakfast, it’s time to get your adrenaline pumping with some out of doors actions. One of many coolest issues to do in Boquete is to paddle down the Chiriqui Viejo River with this superior tour firm. Elsewhere I’ve carried out Class IV rapids, which truthfully was somewhat excessive at instances, however the rapids listed below are Class II – III, which is nearly excellent.

If rafting isn’t your factor, it’s also possible to go zip-lining by the cloud forest or go climbing to hidden waterfalls. I beloved doing the Misplaced Waterfalls path, which snakes by a lushly jungled valley and passes by three attractive waterfalls.

In Boquete, I like to recommend staying on the Boquete Backyard Inn. The views of this boutique resort are beautiful as you’re surrounded by lush greenery and colourful flowers.

Day 5–7: Bocas Del Toro

A beach in Bocas Del Toro, Panama.

On day 5, you’re headed to just about everybody’s favourite spot in Panama, Bocas Del Toro. These islands among the many mangrove forests are an ideal mixture of rest and journey. Positioned on the Caribbean aspect of Panama, they’re identified for his or her crystal-clear blue waters.

Tips on how to Get to Bocas del Toro

Attending to Bocas from Boquete isn’t too exhausting as a result of so many vacationers are coming this fashion. I like to recommend leaving as early as potential from Boquete, because the drive takes 4 hours, and also you don’t need to miss out on a full day in Bocas! One of the simplest ways to get there’s by reserving a shuttle. Caribe Shuttle is a superb possibility that’s low cost and dependable, however you’ll be able to ask your lodging in Boquete to ebook any shuttle for you.

The place to Keep in Bocas del Toro

The primary island of Bocas will instantly welcome you with a laidback Caribbean vibe with colourful buildings, reggae music taking part in within the streets, and scrumptious seafood.

However there are literally 9 fundamental islands within the Bocas del Toro archipelago, every with its personal distinctive vibe and sights. The most typical islands to remain in are Isla Colon and Isla Bastimentos, however there are little eco-resorts and lodges sprinkled all around the archipelago.

Isla Colon is probably the most handy base. Its southern peninsula is house to Bocas del Toro City, which has all method of bars, eating places, and transportation connections. Think about staying at Barrbra BnB Over the Sea, which is on the quieter west aspect of the peninsula, however inside 5-10 minute strolling distance from the energetic city.

Desire to be nearer to nature? Then think about staying on the large island of Colon itself. Two superb lodging choices listed below are the cleverly named Nowhere and Someplace sister accommodations, that are a stone’s throw from a beautiful pure and unspoiled seashore the place sea turtles hatch, whereas nonetheless being a brief taxi trip from the city.

Isla Bastimentos is way more unfold out, having a extra secluded and ‘distant’ really feel. It’s nonetheless pretty straightforward to achieve lodging right here because of the water taxis departing from Bocas del Toro City. If you happen to search round and discover, say, some tremendous dreamy ecolodge on this space (or on Isla Solarte or Isla Cristobal) you’ll be able to nonetheless go for it.

Nevertheless, with a restricted variety of days, the logistics of staying in Isla Colon are a bit simpler. Keep away from staying within the small village of Bastimentos, which has had some safety points at night time. It’s nicer anyway to remain in one of many B&Bs or ecolodges that‘s surrounded by jungle.

What to Do in Bocas del Toro

The sea at Colon Island in Panama.

On Day 1 in Bocas, relying on what time you arrive, head straight to the seashore!

Essentially the most well-known seashore is Starfish Seaside, identified for its crystal clear water and abundance of starfish. It’s situated on the alternative aspect of the island from city, however it’s definitely worth the journey. You may both seize a taxi or lease a motorcycle to get there. However keep in mind that getting a taxi again to city could also be troublesome, so organize a trip beforehand if you happen to don’t need to bike again.

After some seashore time, head again to city for dinner and drinks. There are many eating places and bars, however one must-try is the well-known El Ultimo Refugio. Positioned proper alongside the seashore, this restaurant is so yummy and has some epic views.

Day 2 is all about island hopping and exploring the gorgeous surrounding islands. One of the simplest ways to do that is by reserving a tour by one of many corporations on the island. Make certain to buy round, as a great deal of corporations supply the identical excursions at completely different costs.

Well-liked stops embrace Pink Frog Seaside on Isla Bastimentos, Zapatilla Cayes for snorkeling, and Dolphin Bay to catch a glimpse of untamed dolphins. Most excursions are round 6 hours lengthy, so deliver some sunscreen and put together for a day of enjoyable within the solar.

After a day on the water, head again to city for dinner and drinks. Strive some native Panamanian delicacies like sancocho (rooster soup) or ceviche. Octo is a superb restaurant to go to, providing recent seafood and a laid-back environment.

For Day 3, get up early and luxuriate in a beautiful dawn out of your lodging. If you happen to’re feeling adventurous, lease a motorcycle and discover the island’s lush jungle trails, or spend the morning absorbing the final day of solar on the seashore.

Heading Again to Panama Metropolis

Panama City in the distance.
Ancon Hill

Relying on the way you’re heading again to the mainland, you’ll have to be somewhat versatile in your final day. If you happen to’re taking a flight, the tiny airport is situated on Isla Colon, and check-in is an hour earlier than departure.

For these taking a ship again, you’ll take a water taxi from Bocas del Toro city to Almirante after which catch a 6-hour bus to Panama Metropolis. (I like to recommend the flight.)

And there we’ve it: my epic 1-week itinerary for Panama. From town to the seashore, you’ll completely fall in love with this small nation in Central America.


Some hyperlinks could also be affiliate hyperlinks, which means I’ll earn fee from services or products I like to recommend. For extra, see website insurance policies.

Posted APR 29, 2024



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