Last Updated on March 1, 2023
While a small geographic area characterizes Panama, it boasts a wealth of attractions. It has the most exciting cities, towns, and landscapes. It also features beautiful islands and beaches, hilly interiors, and outstanding wildlife.
First-time visitors to the destination are often amused by how much the country has to offer. Panama’s culture is an exciting mix of indigenous traditions and cosmopolitan growth. If you want ideas to plan your Panama trip, here are some top attractions and activities to immerse yourself in.
1. Explore the Pearl Islands
The Pearl Islands are over 200 in total, and all you have to do is pick one where you will spend your time. Most tourists prefer Isla Sabago or Contadora, as they are a few among the inhabited islands. The islands offer an excellent spot for relaxation and for enjoying the sun.
Pearl Islands also have a broad range of outdoor activities and water sports. Whether it is diving or snorkeling, there are many activities to keep you active. You will also enjoy the marine life in the blue waters and whale watching if you are lucky to be there during the breeding season.
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2. The Panama Canal
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Did you know the Panama Canal handles 4% of the world’s trade? In 1914, the canal joined the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, creating new possibilities for international trade. The canal features a 50-mile pathway that creates a shortcut for ships that initially had to make a long southern trip.
If historical sites make you tick, then a tour of the Panama Canal will wow you. If you think that the canal will underwhelm you, you are wrong. It will easily be the highlight of your Panama trip.
In the Panama Canal Museum, you will learn a lot about the massive project, which took several attempts to figure out how to bring it to completion. You can also catch sight of the canal in action.
Be sure to stop at the Miraflores locks to access a viewing platform that will give you a bird’s eye view of the canal. You will also find a restaurant where you can recharge by taking delicious Panamanian meals.
3. Exploring the Iglesia San Felipe Nativity Scene
Nativity scenes were originally a Panamanian tradition whereby families would set them up in their homes and garages. Some would even set them up in different spots across the city. Until Iglesia San Felipe’s restoration, families found a better space to enjoy.
A family donated Iglesia San Felipe Nativity Scene to provide a massive space for the locals to enjoy. Today, it is a must-stop for tourists and a hidden gem in Panama.
4. Darien National Park
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If you are a nature lover, this is one of the places you must visit in Panama. The park stands between North and South America and is home to biodiversity. It is one of the destinations on earth where you can find a multitude of habitats and ecosystems all in one place.
Whether you want to experience a mangrove forest trek, tropical jungle, or breezy and rocky coastlines, Darien National Park promises a complete experience. You will also experience an abundance of wildlife. Go prepared to interact with jaguars, spider monkeys, and the endangered Central American Tapirs.
5. A Visit to the El Valle
If you are wondering if the El Valle volcano is safe to hike, you have nothing to worry about. The last time it erupted was over 2000 centuries ago.
The volcano sits at Panama’s center at the Central American Volcanic Arc. The volcano’s crater is a popular destination for travelers. Both locals and tourists love to walk, hike, and go horseback riding on the volcano.
In addition to the El Valle adventure, you will also enjoy the town’s butterfly house, farmers market, and geological museum.
6. Coiba Island
Coiba Island is known for being Central America’s largest island and one of the best attractions in Panama.
In addition to soothing your eyes with the natural attractions, there are several water sports on the island. For instance, you can go scuba diving, or if you are good with a fishing rod, you can catch some tropical fish. It is also a world-class diving destination, and you might get a chance to see dolphins, hammerhead sharks, sea turtles, whales, and manta rays.
The ocean at Coiba Island features vibrant sea life, which is easy to catch sight of thanks to the clear waters. It is important to note that Coiba Island is under the protection of the Gulf of Chiriqui; it is, therefore, a haven of diverse sea life.
Panama boasts magnificent landscapes, diverse wildlife, a fantastic culture, and many beautiful attractions for a memorable tour. Prioritize visits to the Pearl and Coiba islands, a tour of the Panama Canal, hiking at the El Valle volcano, and exploring Darien National Park.
The best part about Panama is that it is relaxed and you don’t have to worry too much about what to wear.
Anything you find comfortable will work. Visitors are advised to carry hats or buy sunscreen as the sun can get intense here. If you look to hike, ensure you carry the right gear.