Top 10 Best Places to Visit in Panama 2018

Panama is a country in Central America that forms the land bridge connecting North and South America. The famous Panama Canal, one of the most important shipping routes in the world, is located here. The famous canal links the North Atlantic Ocean via the Caribbean Sea with the North Pacific Ocean.

While visitors to Panama may come for the Panama Canal, there are a lot of tourist attractions in Panama. The original meaning of the word “Panama” means “abundance of fish.” So, fishing is just one of the top things to do in Panama City Panama. Panama is much more highly developed than neighboring Central American countries. So it is easier to travel through this tropical paradise.

Best Places to Visit in Panama:

Apart from the Panama Canal, Panama tourist attractions include many beaches, beautiful islands, famous trails and many more. A list of the top tourist attractions in Panama that are well-worth visiting is given here.

10. Playa Las Lajas

Top 10 Best Places to Visit in Panama, Playa Las Lajas
Playa Las Lajas | image credit – Wikimedia/Ayaita

Playa Las Lajas is one of the best places to visit in Panama because it still remains a hidden treasure undiscovered by hordes of tourists and large hotel chains. Playa Las Lajas is a gorgeous beach that extends for more than 13 km (8 miles) along the Gulf of Chiriqui on the Pacific Coast. There is little current and the water temperature is perfect. So, it is an ideal place for swimming and body-surfing.

There is nothing to do but play in the waves, observe the formations of pelicans and relax. At the end of the road, pastoral shacks and cheap restaurants are clustered on the beach. A new dive center offers dive trips to Coiba and Islas Secas but will take people out snorkeling too. It’s perfect for wild beach camping. For people who do not like crowds, Playa Las Lajas is one of the best places to visit in Panama.

9. Isla Taboga

Isla Taboga, things to do in Panama City Panama
Isla Taboga | image credit – Wikimedia/Osopolar

There are many things to do in Panama City Panama and one of them is taking a day off in the Isla Taboga. It is one of the best places to visit in Panama without a doubt. You will have to visit it to understand. The Isla Taboga is nestled in the warm tropical waters of the Bay of Panama and within an hour’s boat ride from bustling Panama City. It is a small island enriched with history and a modest little town. The island was first settled by the Spanish in 1515.

The island features the second-oldest church in the western hemisphere. Isla Taboga is one of the top Panama tourist attractions. It is a pleasant escape out of the rush of Panama City. There is only one road and no traffic. You will have a great view of Panama City from the top of the Island. The island is nicknamed as the ‘Island of Flowers.’

You can walk the flower-lined paths and inhale the sweet smells of blossoms much of the year. Other activity includes bathing in its sandy beaches and riding Jet Ski’s, fishing charters and speedboats. With the addition of an annual festival and boutique lodgings in the works, the Isla Taboga has become one of the best places to visit in Panama.

8. Pearl Islands

Among the best places to visit in Panama, Pearl Islands gained new popularity after being featured on the reality television show Survivor. The Pearl Islands of Panama is an archipelago that covers around 250 small islands. Most of these islands are uninhabited. Indigenous peoples populated the Pearl Islands until Spanish Conquistadors discovered the archipelagos’ wealth of pearls in 1503 and gave the name.  The archipelago is a combination of beautiful islands with pristine virgin forest and sandy white beaches.

Among the many islands, Contadora Island is the most developed one with several resorts and an airstrip. With four beaches, the Contadora Island has become one of the top tourist attractions in Panama.  There is an old, rusting ship laid up on the far end of the largest beach of the island. Combined with the presence of the ruined and deserted Hotel Contadora Resort right on the beach makes the whole experience rather creepy. You can go fishing or whale watching also.

7. Amador Causeway

Amador Causeway, Panama tourist attractions
Amador Causeway | image credit – Flickr/TravelingOtter

The Amador Causeway Panama is a six-kilometer-long causeway which is one of the best places to visit in Panama. It is a must see things to do in Panama City, Panama. The causeway was originally constructed as a breakwater for the Panama Canal entrance. The Amador Causeway connects three tiny islands of Naos, Perico, and Flamenco to the mainland. The causeway has gorgeous views. The grand Bridge of the Americas spans the Pacific entrance to the canal on one side.

On the other side is the half-moon of Panama Bay, ringed by the ever-growing Panama City skyline. Many Panamanians like to spend their weekend’s jogging, riding a bicycle or roller-blading down the causeway, or having a meal or drinks in one of the many restaurants and bars on the islands.

6. Sendero Los Quetzales

One of the best places to visit in Panama is Sendero Los Quetzales. It is one of the most stunning trails in Panama. Located near the small town of Cerro Punto, Sendero Los Quetzales is a 9 km (5 miles) route that starts at the east of town and takes between four and seven hours. The trail winds through the cloud forest of Parque Nacional Volcan Baru and follows the Rio Caldera, crossing it several times en route, and ends in the mountains above Boquete.

You can hike from either direction, but it is easiest from west to east. The trail is not well marked though. So we suggest hiring a guide or joining an organized tour. You will definitely enjoy the view. After all, it is one of the top Panama tourist attractions.

5. Santa Catalina

Santa Catalina, tourist attractions in Panama
Santa Catalina | image credit – Wikimedia/Alex Proimos

If you love surfing, then one of the best places to visit in Panama for you is the Santa Catalina. Located on the Chiriquí Gulf in the state of Veraguas, Santa Catalina is a fishing village which existed in quiet seclusion until discovered by daring surfers in the 1970s. The international surfing community has tried to keep this tranquil spot a secret.

But they have failed and the word is out that Santa Catalina offers world-class surfing. The town does not offer a lot in the way of facilities. But it is one of the top Panama tourist attractions with beautiful beach surrounded by jungle forests.

4. San Blas Islands

San Blas Islands, things to do in Panama City Panama
San Blas Islands | image credit – Wikimedia/Laktos

If you want to explore the rich culture of Panama’s indigenous people, the Kuna, then the best places to visit in Panama is the San Blas Islands. Located in Eastern Panama, the San Blas islands are a group of islands in the Archipelago de San Blas. The Kuna people view this area as their own but are warm and welcoming to visitors. The Kuna protects their lands against heavy tourism and keeps them vigorous and gorgeous.

As one of the top Panama tourist attractions, the San Blas offers a large array of sights starting with the charming people, vibrant reefs and islands, unbelievable seascapes to the rich sea life in its waters and wildlife on the mainland. Numerous Kuna villages offer visitors multiple opportunities for various glimpses at the daily lives of the Kuna.

Many of the tiny islands with beautiful beaches have one member of the Kuna tribe on the island that collects $1 per person for use of the island for sunbathing or swimming. The San Blas Islands is truly one of the best places to visit in Panama.

3. Coiba

Coiba, Panama tourist attractions
Coiba | image credit – Wikimedia/Alex Proimos

To enjoy the beauty of the unmatched marine diversity you must visit Coiba, one of the best places to visit in Panama. Located in the Gulf of Chiriquí, Coiba National Park is a marine reserve off Panama’s Pacific coast.  The island of Coiba is the largest island in the Coiba National Park and one of the most beautiful Panama tourist attractions. It is also the largest island in all of Central America.

There are more than 800 species of marine life present in the area. According to the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, it is the best place to find new marine species. The park is known as one of the best places to visit in Panama to enjoy snorkeling and scuba diving on the Pacific Coast.

2. Bocas Town

Bocas Town, tourist attractions in Panama
Bocas Town | image credit – Wikimedia/Carlos Adampol Galindo

With a friendly atmosphere that easily rubs off on visitors, the Bocas Town is one of the best places to visit in Panama. Bocas del Toro is the capital of the Bocas del Toro Province. It was discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1502. Now the area is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Panama.

It is a favorite spot for scuba divers. As the dives are shallow, it is one of the best places to visit in Panama for the scuba divers, particularly the beginners. And of course, the scenery is breathtaking. An extensive coral reef features colorful varieties of tropical fish. Visitors routinely hike through the lush rainforest of Bocas del Toro to enjoy empty stretches of beautiful shoreline.

1. Panama Canal

Panama Canal, things to do in Panama City Panama
Panama Canal | image credit – Flickr/Roger W

There is no questioning the fact that the Panama Canal is one of the best places to visit in Panama. The Canal is both an engineering wonder and one of the most important waterways on the planet and Panama tourist attractions. Visitors can take either a partial or complete crossing of the canal. The easiest and best way to visit the canal is to go to the Miraflores Locks.

Located on the northeastern edge of Panama City, here a platform offers visitors a good view of the locks in operation. Watching a huge ship nudge its way through the narrow canal with vast tracts of virgin jungle on both sides is one of the most exciting things to do in Panama City Panama. It is truly an unforgettable sight.

You can also try to get on an ocean-going vessel, but it’s difficult to thumb a ride on the vessel. There are many expensive tours and cruises that allow you to transit the canal. Crossings take four to eight hours. A visit to Panama is not complete without visiting the Panama Canal. After all, it is one of the best places to visit in Panama. Don’t miss it.

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