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How To Plan An Unforgettable Panama Itinerary

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Looking for an incredible Panama itinerary?

I’ve got you covered below.

Every summer, my boyfriend Andy and I plan an epic two-week vacation together. It’s one of the few times annually I’m not traveling solo; and because it’s such a special time, a lot goes into planning the perfect trip.

We’re curious outdoor enthusiasts who love experiential accommodations.

If that sounds like you, then you’ll want to keep reading to steal our favorite Panama vacation spots and travel tips.

Note that this post contains affiliate links to trusted partners I think you’ll love!

Psst! Don’t forget to pin this post for later!

Wondering where to go in Panama? This epic Panama itinerary includes everything from waterfall hikes in Chiriqui to exploring Casco Viejo in Panama City to discovering the best Bocas del Toro beaches and beyond! #Panama #BocasDelToro #PanamaCity

Table of Contents

Panama Travel Video

Prefer to travel Panama through video?

You’re in luck!

We filmed a Panama travel guide to really show you what the experience was like.

Watch the video here:

A big thanks to Andy for helping me shoot the footage, and for editing this video!

Panama Travel Tips

Before I get into actual things to do in Panama, I want to go over some important Panama travel tips.

This way, when you begin diving into our Panama itinerary, you can better understand what your trip will look like.

Additionally, you can grab my free Ultimate Travel Planning Kit — which also includes a downloadable Google Map of this Panama itinerary.

Add the map to your phone to have it ready to go for your trip!
 

Is Panama Safe?

In short, I felt very, very safe doing the Panama itinerary I share with you below.

That being said, whether at home or on the road, I’m never without a few very important safety essentials.

Vigilant Personal Alarm. Vigilant makes personal safety alarms — or sound grenades — in a variety of models and styles. Press a button to activate an alarm louder than a firetruck, meant to disarm and scare potential attackers. The model linked here even has a backup alarm in case the primary alarm becomes disabled.

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Isn’t this hidden pocket scarf cute? Photo via Speakeasy Travel Supply Co

Speakeasy Supply Hidden Pocket Scarves. Hand-made by my fellow travel blogging friends over at Beers & Beans, these stylish scarves come in designs for all seasons. Bonus: The hidden pockets in the scarf are large enough to fit your passport!

Clever Travel Companion Pickpocket-Proof Garments. Nervous about pickpockets? In more touristy areas of Panama City, for example, pickpockets are fairly common. Having pickpocket-proof garments ensures thieves don’t even know you’re carrying cash. I love the underwear, tank top, long johns and short sleeve dress!

Planning A Trip To Panama: Destinations

There are so many options when planning your Panama itinerary.

Below, I provide an overview of some — emphasis on some — of your options based on your travel preferences.

Beach Destinations In Panama. Bocas del Toro, Pearl Islands, San Blas Islands, Isla Coiba, Santa Catalina, Colon.

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Loving Starfish Beach on Isla Colon

Hiking / Outdoor Adventure Destinations In Panama. Boquete, El Valle de Anton, Cocle Province, Santa Cruz de Cana.

Urban Destinations In Panama. Panama City, David.

Agricultural Destinations In Panama. Boquete, Santa Fe, Cocle Province, Isla Bastimentos, Isla San Cristobal, Colon.

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Staying at a sustainable eco-resort, CocoVivo Panama, on Isla San Cristobal in Bocas del Toro. So lush!

Two Weeks In Panama Itinerary

If you don’t feel like reading this entire article, you can swipe my two weeks in Panama itinerary here in this quick overview.

We arrived into Tocumen International Airport in Panama City, and then took an Uber to get to the Albrook “Marcos A. Gelabert” International Airport to board a domestic one-hour flight to the Bocas del Toro “Isla Colón” International Airport in Bocas Town.

Our Panama itinerary was as follows:

Bocas Town on Isla Colon in Bocas del Toro (Airbnb-Stay Bocas). One night.

Arrived via Air Panama flight from Panama City.

Highlights included Bibi’s on the Beach, Starfish Beach and simply wandering the lively town to peruse the shops, bars and even a brewery called Bocas Brewery.

starfish beach isla colon
Meeting a local woman — and helping her chop coconuts — on the way to Starfish Beach

Isla Bastimentos in Bocas Del Toro (La Loma Jungle Lodge & Chocolate Farm). Two nights.

Arrived via pickup in Bocas Town by the La Loma Jungle Lodge boat captain (ride is about 20 minutes).

Highlights included sleeping in a treehouse with no walls in the jungle, hiking to a bat cave, kayaking at sunrise and the creative meals made with mainly ingredients grown on their onsite farm.

la loma jungle lodge treehouse hammocks
We definitely spent a lot of time hanging in the hammocks at La Loma Jungle Lodge

Isla San Cristobal in Bocas del Toro (CocoVivo). Two nights.

Arrived via skiff boat taxi (about 25 minutes from Bocas Town).

Highlights included onsite hiking trails to waterfalls, snorkeling the healthy coral reefs, night swimming in the bioluminescent Tierra Oscura Lagoon, a dock with a second-storey diving board and hammocks right over the water, and paddle-boarding to the local fried chicken shop nearby (a very Panamanian experience!).

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Enjoying a breakfast smoothie in paradise at CocoVivo Panama

Boquete (Airbnb-Lost Waterfalls Cabin). Two nights.

Arrived via Hello Panama tourist bus ($30), with the Airbnb host picking us up at the bus stop to take us to the cabin.

Highlights included hiking in Panama — specifically through high altitude jungle to numerous waterfalls — a farm-to-fork dinner at Colibri Restaurant in Boquete Town and having a secluded cabin in the breathtaking cloud forest where our yard was filled with unique flora and hummingbirds.

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Watching hummingbirds on the porch of our cloud forest cabin

Panama City (The Bahia Grand Hotel). One night.

Arrived via Air Panama flight from Enrique Malek International Airport in David, which we got to by paying $50 for a taxi from Boquete to David (though note there is also a cheaper bus option that we didn’t feel like navigating with our luggage).

This was just a one-night stopover before our trip to El Valle de Anton (aka “El Valle”), and we spent it by exploring some of the hotel’s amenities. These included swimming in the infinity pool, having an unforgettable chef’s tasting dinner at Tejas Restaurant, gambling in the Ocean Sun Casino and having drinks at their 66-storey Poolbar rooftop. Afterward, we took a bubblebath with wine in our in-room standalone tub. Heaven!

the bahia grand hotel lobby panama city
Hanging out in the beautiful lobby of the Bahia Grand Hotel

El Valle de Anton (Airbnb-Casa del Alma). Two nights.

Arrived via 2.5-hour bus from the Albrook Bus Terminal in Panama City (~$4.50 one way).

Highlights included hiking to the top of La India Dormida for incredible views, having a seafood dinner on the chill patio of Bruschetta Restaurant, and enjoying our funky zen lodging with had a pool, garden and deep soaking tub.

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Cute pup at our El Valle accommodation

Panama City (The Bahia Grand Hotel). Three nights.

Arrived via the same bus we took to El Valle de Anton, but in the opposite direction.

Highlights included more swimming and enjoying cocktail-filled pineapples at the infinity pool, wandering the UNESCO-listed Casco Viejo neighborhood, seeing boats pass through the Panama Canal, walking the scenic Cinta Costera at night, savoring craft cocktails at the Strangers Club and a satisfying dinner at the innovative Wall Street Bar & Lounge where menu prices change based on their inventory.

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Exploring heritage in Casco Viejo, a UNESCO-listed neighborhood in Panama City

If I could change anything about the above Panama itinerary, I would have stayed a few days longer in Panama to spend more time in Panama City. There is a lot to do there, both within the city and as day trips.

Currency In Panama

Interestingly, US Dollars — along with the Panamanian Balboa — are both official currency in Panama.

They even equal the same. Sometimes locals will mix up currencies, too.

So, if you’re supposed to get $1.50 change back, you might back $1 USD and 50 cents in Panamanian Balboa coins.

In short, we used US dollars the entire time.

Getting Around Panama

To get around Panama, Andy and I opted to travel by plane and bus.

There’s so much to do in Panama, and we were on a tight two-week schedule; so, we did take two domestic flights on Air Panama to save time, even though they were pricier than the bus.

Additionally, we opted for the tourist transfer bus offered by Hello Panama between Bocas and Boquete.

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Take some time to smell the flora while traveling Panama. There’s a lot of it!

Another option we heard a few travelers rave about is renting a car, as long as you’re outside Panama City and Bocas del Toro.

Next time I go to Panama I’ll probably opt for this, as there are so many natural places and beautiful parks to explore that are time-consuming to get to via public transportation.

I recommend using a service like Discover Cars to determine the best car rental deals available.

Users of this site can save up to 70% on their booking just by being able to easily compare their options!

What’s great is their comparison tool does the hard research work for you.

You can use their widget right here to compare right now:

Solo Female Travel In Panama

While I was not traveling solo in Panama per my usual trip style, I know many of you are solo travelers.

Ladies, you can definitely feel confident traveling alone through Panama. We encountered a number of solo female travelers during our trip, and at almost all of our accommodations.

Actually, while the Panama itinerary I’m sharing works well for couples, there’s nothing we did on this trip that I wouldn’t come back and do solo, aside for maybe staying at the Lost Waterfalls Cabin because it’s pretty secluded (and I’m terrified of ghosts!).

Even the hikes in Boquete that I mention below — both of which are very well marked — would be fine to do on your own without a guide.

Just make sure you have the Vigilant Alarm I mention above on you for added protection, especially from wildlife.

Health Concerns & Zika Virus In Panama

Note that as of this writing (September 2018) there is a risk of Zika Virus in Panama. This means that if you’re pregnant you should avoid visiting Panama.

All travelers will definitely want to take precautions to limit mosquito bites, as well as bites from no-see-ums (or sand flies), which can also carry diseases.

In Bocas del Toro both of these insects were very prevalent.

Personally, I typically opt for natural insect repellent, as I feel it works better and doesn’t harm the environment.

I was able to buy an incredible insect repellent and bite soother at La Loma Jungle Lodge. It was made from coconut oil, citronella and fresh lemon.

If you’d prefer to buy your insect repellent before your Panama trip, here are a few highly-rated natural options from Amazon:

paddlebaording in panama with a dog
I loved Bocas del Toro, but wow did I get bit!

Another question in terms of health safety you’re probably asking yourself:

Can you drink the water in Panama?

The answer:

Yes and no.

Do realize in certain Panama regions and cities you can’t drink the tap water, like Bocas del Toro.

On the other hand, drinking the tap water in places like Boquete, El Valle de Anton and Panama City is absolutely fine.

Honestly, I thought the tap water in Panama — especially in mountainous places like Boquete — was some of the best I’ve ever tasted!

And while we’re on the topic of drinking, do remember to ask for your beverages without a straw when ordering at restaurants.

Many restaurants and bars will typically provide straws automatically, which can then get eaten by wildlife and harm or kill them.

ultimate travel planning kit

My Panama Itinerary In-Depth

Now that we’ve covered some important Panama travel tips, it’s time to dive deeper into where to go in Panama, and what to do once you’re there.

Visiting Bocas Del Toro 

Christopher Columbus actually visited this beautiful archipelago in 1502, when he was searching for Asia. That’s why you’ll find a number of Bocas del Toro islands that give nods to the Spanish explorer — like Isla Colon, Isla Cristóbal and Bahía de Almirante — because he named them after himself.

According to Rough Guides, it wasn’t until 1826 that the town of Bocas del Toro — today called Bocas Town — was founded by West Indian immigrants.

Later on in the 19th century, it was the United Fruit company that built up Bocas del Toro’s wealth by planting banana plantations.

This strategic move led to over 50% of Panama’s export income coming from Bocas bananas.

While disease eventually hurt the banana industry in Bocas del Toro, a growing tourism industry is taking its place as a key money maker.

How To Get To Bocas Del Toro From Panama City

Arriving into Bocas del Toro via Air Panama flight was one of the most beautiful experiences I’ve ever had on a plane.

With the soft hum of the aircraft as my soundtrack, I gazed down over hundreds of lush islands — some large enough to have homes, some so small they appeared like rocks from above.

As the plane descended, I noticed the water hitting the shoreline of the vibrant emerald green islands, sprouting dense forest that appeared like billions of broccoli stalks, the trees so close together.

Suddenly, the plane made a loud whizzing noise, and a burst of colorful buildings broke up the repeating green hues.

We were in Bocas Town.

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Bocas Town

Now, flights to Bocas del Toro from Panama City are relatively inexpensive on Air Panama. Andy and I paid $112 each for our one-way flight — including taxes and fees — booked for the end of August.

If you’re wondering how to get to Bocas del Toro, the above-mentioned flight to Bocas del Toro airport will be the easiest, quickest way at less than one-hour of travel time.

Another option is taking a bus from Panama City to Almirante, and then a boat to Bocas Town (or another Bocas del Toro island), though note this takes 10.5-11.5 hours total. Considering the flight is about 50 minutes, I personally think it’s the smarter option unless you’re on a really, really tight budget.

Driving is another option, and we met loads of travelers road tripping around Panama.

The thing with this is that once you’re in Bocas del Toro you’ll be getting around by taking tiny skiff boats. These don’t fit cars, so you’ll need to leave yours in Almirante. Driving from Panama City to Bocas del Toro takes about eight to nine hours.

Now Bocas del Toro is interesting in that it sits on Panama’s Caribbean coast and features some truly unspoiled beaches.

Moreover, you can swim in crystal waters, snorkeling lagoons and watching dolphins in the wild. You can float in a bioluminescent bay. You can hike through the jungle spying birdlife, monkeys and sloths, or head into a bat cave and go cliff jumping inside.

These are just a few of the many Bocas del Toro attractions and experiences to be had.

Bocas del Toro islands are plentiful. In fact, aside for the mainland there are nine main Caribbean islands to choose from when planning your trip.

That being said, you’ll notice as your flying over this Panama province that there are actually myriad small islands, calm waters sprinkled with lush emerald tufts of land. While you won’t find Bocas del Toro hotels on these smaller islands, many make for fun kayaking and paddle boarding destinations.

Visiting Bocas Town On Isla Colon [Bocas Del Toro, Panama]

Bocas Town — situated at the southern end of Isla Colon — is the capital and main hub of the Bocas del Toro archipelago, so this is where you’ll likely begin your journey, even if just to connect elsewhere.

That being said, no Bocas del Toro vacation would be complete without spending a night or two in Bocas Town. It’s extremely lively, with loads of restaurants, bars, shops, a main square and a walkable layout.

This is also where you’ll come to connect with most of your skiff boat ferries, whether you want to take a short five-minute trip to an island restaurant or a longer 30-minute trip to stay overnight at one of the larger Bocas del Toro islands.

 

Bocas Town Hotel Recommendation: Stay Bocas

When researching where to stay in Bocas del Toro, specifically in Bocas Town, we chose Stay Bocas due to its positive reviews.

Plus, it’s literally a three-minute walk from the Bocas del Toro “Isla Colón” International Airport. This is where you’ll arrive into when flying into Bocas del Toro from Panama City.

As soon as we walked through the garden patio up to the check-in desk, a smiling man greeted us and offered us local Balboa beers.

stay bocas panama
Andy hanging out in the outdoor common area at Stay Bocas

The room was clean with air conditioning, and the location was walkable to all of the noteworthy things to do in Bocas Town.

Bonus:

It’s also budget-friendly at less than $50 per night, including breakfast, wifi and bike rentals.

We booked this Bocas Town accommodation on Airbnb. If you’ve never used Airbnb before, I recommending clicking here to set up your account so you get $40 off your first booking.

Once you’ve created your account, you can click here to book Stay Bocas.

Bocas Del Toro Restaurants: Bibi’s On The Beach

Bocas Town is the epitome of a chill beach town. Even as we walked around on a Monday night, small wooden bars and restaurants painted in bright tropical colors blasted calypso and reggae.

Near to a small brewery strung with fairy lights was a dock where locals eagerly wait to take people by taxi boat to other islands and destinations nearby.

Our destination for the night:

Bibi’s on the Beach, a restaurant recommendation from Stay Bocas.

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Walking into Bibi’s on the Beach

Located on nearby Carenero Island, Andy and I were dropped off on the dock — after paying the $2/person fare — and took a short walk along the palm shaded, sandy shore to the open-air eatery.

Fresh seafood paired with fruity cocktails made fresh in a blender is the name of the game here.

On the water, we sipped Pina Coladas and Bahama Mamas while enjoying grilled tuna, mussels, shrimp and Bibi’s famous tender octopus.

The scene is uber romantic, with bare bulbed lights strung up over picnic tables and lounge chairs right on the water.

Pro tip:

I highly recommend going before sunset so you can watch the sky light up and cast warm hues over the islands.

Bocas Del Toro Beaches: Starfish Beach

Possibly my favorite Bocas del Toro beach from the whole trip was Starfish Beach near Bocas Town.

On the main road in Bocas Town — the widest road, two blocks from Stay Bocas — is a park square.

Here, you’ll catch the bus to Bocas del Drago ($2.50 each way, payable on the bus in cash), the last stop on the bus.

The ride takes about 30 minutes, and you’ll drive through lush jungle and even some cow-laden countryside.

When you arrive at Bocas del Drago, you’ll be greeted by soft sand coastline shaded by palms, azure warm waters and chill beach bars selling rum drinks and lobster.

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Bocas del Drago is also lovely
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The walk to Starfish Beach is scenic
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A little yoga on the way to Starfish Beach

The real treat though:

Hiking 25 minutes along the coastline —walking barefoot through the warm water — to the gorgeous Starfish Beach.

Not only is the beach stunning, with hawks gliding overhead, but the clear water is filled with giant colorful starfish!

visiting Starfish Beach in Panama
Starfish Beach is so gorgeous it had me jumping for joy
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The highlight of Starfish Beach is the giant starfish. Just don’t touch them!
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I could have sat on this beach all day

A note on responsible tourism at beaches:

Don’t touch the starfish!

There are signs everywhere warning visitors not to touch them, and that if you do they might die; but yet, we saw tourists not only touching them but moving them to take a “great” Instagram photo.

A photo is never worth hurting a living creature over, so just admire them with your eyes!

A warning on the buses:

They apparently come earlier than they tell you when you get off. The 2pm bus back to Bocas left at 1:55pm! Luckily we got back early.

Back in Bocas Town, we took a stroll through the lively, colorful streets, spending most of our time shopping at the artsy Black Cat boutique.

Afterward, we headed to a really cool bar and restaurant — Bocas Blended, aka the Batido Bus — to eat lunch.

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Bocas Blended is a great pit stop with a view in Isla Colon
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Taking in the view from Bocas Blended

This hippie bus serves smoothies, healthy wraps, salads and refreshing mojito lemonades.

It was the perfect place to relax while we waited to meet our captain — Mr. Kelly — who’d be whisking us away to our next Bocas del Toro island destination.

Visiting La Loma Jungle Lodge On Isla Bastimentos [Bocas Del Toro, Panama]

When Mr. Kelly arrived, we boarded a small skiff boat to visit La Loma Jungle Lodge & Chocolate Farm on Bastimentos Island.

The scenic ride took about 20 minutes — taking us past inlet eateries, small islands and mangroves — until we pulled up to dock dense with forest; a small dog, who we came to know as Zorro, greeting us.

la loma jungle lodge dog
Talk about an amazing greeting at La Loma Jungle Lodge & Chocolate Farm!

Resting on 57 acres of tropical forest and fruit groves, La Loma Jungle Lodge is unlike any of the other Bocas del Toro hotels you’ll come across on your search.

First of all, the property is a self-sustaining experiential accommodation only accessible by boat, meaning you don’t need to worry about having a negative impact on the environment or about encountering too many tourists.

As a guest of the hotel — which is also a working farm — your stay includes three deliciously prepared meals.

About 60% of the ingredients in the food are grown right on their property. During my stay, I savored dishes like pumpkin soup with fried yuca, grilled blackjack fish over coconut rice, and roasted red pepper-laced lentils served alongside fresh salad from the garden and locally-sourced cheese.

lunch at la loma jungle lodge panama
A delicious lunch at La Loma Jungle Lodge

For dessert, sometimes we savored homemade guava cookies showcasing onsite grown fruit, or decadent chocolate cake gowned in dulce de leche, made with La Loma’s renowned cacao.

Hey, Panama chocolate is some of the best in the world. And if you want to have the best of the best, it’s smart to get it right from the source.

You can work off the food through onsite hiking trails, night walks to spot caimans and jungle insects, trips to trek across Red Frog Beach and kayaking to the nearby bat cave or Sloth Island (which is home to — you guessed it — hundreds of sloths!).

While mornings were filled with watching wildlife — mainly birds and sometimes sloths and monkeys — through our open air treehouse, evenings were spent playing cards under the stars while enjoying a bottle of wine and listening to tree frogs.

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Jungle views right from bed at La Loma Jungle Lodge
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Enjoing the view from my open-air room at La Loma Jungle Lodge
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Heavenly views from La Loma Jungle Lodge

Moreover, staff were happy to set up their kayaks for sunrise paddling with views looking out toward the active Volcán Barú — Panama’s tallest mountain at 11,400 feet — and the rest of the Cordillera de Talamanca range.

Adventures On Isla Bastimentos: Beach Hiking

No trip to Panama would be complete without visiting the beautiful beaches.

And one of my favorite experiences during my La Loma stay was to Red Frog Beach, specifically to do the 45-minute hike from that beach to the more secluded Polo Beach.

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Isn’t Polo Beach gorgeous?
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You’ll see so many birds, too!

Admittedly, Polo Beach is a proper hike to get to.

While your feet will be slapping over the warm Caribbean Sea most of the time, you’ll also need to navigate jagged tufts of coral and humongous fall trees blocking the path.

Once you arrive, though, you’ll realize the effort was worth it as you have the crystal waters and outer island views all to yourself.

Note:

There aren’t beach bars at Polo Beach, so pack lots of water and lunch!

Adventures On Isla Bastimentos: Panama Bat Cave Exploration

Another one of the unforgettable things to do in Panama while staying at La Loma:

Hiking through the Isla Bastimentos National Marine Park to the Nivida Bat Cave with a local named Roger, whose father actually discovered the cave.

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Gorgeous scenery on our hike to the bat cave
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My silly boyfriend

I always joke that when I’m working hard I’m in my bat cave; but the truth is I’ve never been in a bat cave like this.

Hundreds — possibly thousands — of bats hung upside down, grinning devilishly through the glow of our headlamps in the darkest corners of the cave.

Every few seconds, one would whizz past our ears so quickly they looked like a burst of black light; so close you could almost feel it’s little hairs on your skin!

bat cave bocas del toro
So many bats!

I was glad I wore a bathing suit, as the further we hiked into the cave, the deeper the water inside became.

Actually, what started out as a stream quickly came to above our waists!

When we got to a large dry rock shelf the water didn’t reach, Roger instructed us to leave everything behind aside for our helmets and headlamps.

“The water gets very deep. You’ll need to swim at parts.”

Peering at a giant tarantula-like spider on the wall, I hoped the creepy crawlers of the cave wouldn’t also be making the journey.

After about 15 minutes, we came to a giant cave pool sitting below loads of stalagmites — where you could also cliff jump.

Andy jumped three times, and each time I held my breath hoping I wouldn’t need to tell his parents I’d lost their son in a Panamanian bat cave.

Luckily, he came up laughing each time.

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Enjoying a boat ride through the mangroves

The bat cave excursion also included a scenic boat ride through the mangroves. Roger not only gave us a comprehensive overview of the three types of mangroves on Bastimentos Island — red, brown and yellow — but also helped us spot an array of wildlife.

Crabs, capuchin monkeys, caimans and giant clawed pistol shrimp all made their way onto my camera roll, though the highlight was a sloth so close we could make out her facial features.

Fun fact:

I learned sloths go to the bathroom once per week in the water, where the caimans sit hungrily waiting.

As this sloth moved about the tree, I hoped she realized what waited below her.

sloth in panama
I actually saw this sloth from the breakfast room at La Loma Jungle Lodge

Luckily, what waited for Andy and I was much less scary:

A delicious multi-course lunch at La Loma, complete with plates of guanabana fruit and chocolate truffles for dessert.

Visiting CocoVivo On Isla San Cristobal [Bocas del Toro, Panama]

After washing down our meal with homemade passionfruit juice, Andy and I said our farewells, faithful Zorro giving us his final doggy kisses on the dock, before we headed back to Bocas Town to catch a taxi boat to CocoVivo Panama, a sustainable eco-retreat on Isla San Cristobal.

A friendly Bocas local named Choy was our captain, recommended to us by CocoVivo.

The scenic 20-minute ride cost $45 total for both Andy and I, and as our boat pulled up to the CocoVivo dock, surrounded by lush jungle, we knew we were in for a relaxing treat.

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Enjoying the lush beauty of CocoVivo Panama

This portion of our trip was about simply enjoying the beauty and chilled out vibe of the property.

Actually, my laptop had sadly fallen prey to humidity on Isla Bastimentos. While I was more than a little sad about the screen of my $1500 laptop being destroyed, I decided to look at it as a blessing:

No laptop meant I had no choice but to take a deep breath and relax.

And CocoVivo certainly was the place to it.

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The dogs at CocoVivo Panama are a highlight of the stay

Owned by expat couple Carmen and Lazare — who met while living in Bocas Town — the property is rustic and environmentally conscious using solar panels, a rain catchment system and composting.

You’ll need to be mindful of water usage, electricity usage and waste.

Moreover, our in-room toilet — for #1 only — was a hole right over the mangroves, and short cool showers handled only bio-digradeable products like this shampoo (though they provide soap, and have a beautiful Hill House with western facilities, too).

If you’re okay with that, then you’ll be rewarded with simple clean rooms built right into the island’s landscape.

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Things To Do On Isla San Cristobal: Aquatic Bocas Del Toro Adventures

Actually, swimming in their bioluminescent Tierra Oscura Lagoon when the sky is completely dark is a magical experience; each slap of your hand on the water making bright sparkles shoot out from your fingertips.

Swimming during the day is also a must, as the property is surrounded by healthy reefs full of tropical fish and colorful corals.

A must-have CocoVivo experience:

Jumping off the second-storey diving board that’s on their main deck lounge, where fresh communal meals are served and the bar sits.

Here, you’ll find hammocks and wooden swings hanging right over the water, with a second-storey diving platform.

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Snorkeling off the CocoVivo dock
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Swinging life away at CocoVivo Panama
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Captain, one of the beloved CocoVivo doggies

It’s scary the first time you jump, though after you come up for air giggling, you’ll want to do it again and again.

Things To Do On Isla San Cristobal: Bocas Del Toro Restaurants

Additionally, we loved grabbing the free-to-use kayaks and paddle boards and paddling across the lagoon to Los Amigos Restaurante & Bar.

Here, in this eatery on the water that genuinely feels like someone’s home, they serve one thing:

Three pieces of delicious fried chicken with fries and coleslaw.

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Paddleboarding at CocoVivo Panama
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This was SO good!

It’s a true Panamanian experience, from getting to practice your Spanish to chatting with the owner — Ernesto — about his time living in the states, but coming back to where he was born and opening the business.

Behind the counter sits a shelf with a few bottles of liquor and a handful of mixers, which we turned into ginger ales spiked with local rum.

Around the open air restaurant, locals play music and sit on their porches, offering a glimpse into daily life in Panama.

Things To Do On Isla San Cristobal: Hiking On Isla San Cristobal

Additionally, the onsite hiking trails at CocoVivo allow you to see birds, wildlife (read: sloths!), waterfalls and crazy insects.

hiking in bocas del toro
Hiking on the CocoVivo Panama property

Led by CocoVivo’s three pups — Captain, Osa and Nanoosh — we ended up at a lovely waterfall.

This was a refreshing stop to cool off as Bocas del Toro weather can be very hot and humid.

After my laid back stay, I truly felt like I was leaving home, especially when Carmen, Lazare and the dogs stood at the dock waving (and barking!) goodbye.

Click here for a great list of unforgettable Bocas del Toro tours!

Visiting Boquete In Panama

So, where were we leaving Bocas del Toro for?

Boquete, a small mountain town located in the highlands of the bountiful Chiriquí province of Panama, renowned for its hiking trails and proximity to Volcán Barú, Panama’s highest point.

This is one of the best Panama vacation spots for those wanting to experience the country’s gorgeous cloud forest.

According to Hotel Panamonte, Boquete was founded on April 11, 1911, when it became a shortcut to California for those looking to profit from the California Gold Rush.

Many locals and immigrants settled here, also drawn by the Panama destination’s abundance and natural beauty.

Today, the town is known for a few things:

  • Boquete coffee production. The coffee in Boquete is said to be some of the world’s best!
  • It’s retirement community. Many senior locals and expats settle in Boquete to take advantage of the mild weather, low costs, modern amenities and slower pace of life.
  • Boquete tourism. If you’re looking for outdoor adventures, Boquete should be on your Panama itinerary!
boquete cloud forest cabin
Drinking wine at the Lost Waterfalls Cabin

Hotels In Boquete, Panama: The Lost Waterfalls Cabin

Andy and I booked the Lost Waterfalls Cabin on Airbnb, so if you’ve never used Airbnb before make sure to use this link to signup and get $40 off your first stay!

If you’re interested in hiking in Panama, the cabin is situated at the beginning of the renowned Lost Waterfalls Trail, high up in the cloud forest.

So high in fact that you’ll need to hike 20 minutes up a steep trail to reach the dwelling — meaning you’ll definitely need to be physically fit, and be okay with walking across shaking suspension bridges — to stay here.

Once you reach your cozy wooden cabin, you’re surrounded by hummingbirds, blue vervain, red spiky heliconias, tall moss-covered oaks and other high elevation flora.

Or, as I like to call them, Dr. Seuss-looking plants.

hummingsbirds in boquete, panama
We loved watching hummingbirds from our Lost Waterfalls Cabin porch
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Our fearless porch pup, Rocky Balboa

Plus, you won’t need to look up to see clouds; they’ll roll right past you like puffy tumbleweeds as you sit on the large porch — complete with rocking chairs and resident pup named Rocky Balboa.

Even the outdoor toilet and shower — both very clean — have views of the valley.

We loved our stay at this Boquete accommodation, especially because we spent almost our entire time hiking.

boquete panama plants
Our Lost Waterfalls Cabin lawn
drinking wine in boquete panama
Cheers to a gorgeous stay

If you want to explore the actual main town in Boquete — with its many restaurants, bars and shops — you should stay at a hostel or hotel down there. For example:

  • A popular choice is Hostel Mamallena, which has budget-friendly dorms and private rooms.
  • Another great option if you’re not a hostel person is Agaseke Lodge Boquete, a simple and inexpensive Panama hotel right in Boquete Town that includes breakfast, Wi-Fi, and a clean room.

Another idea:

Do a few days in Boquete Town and a few days in the Panamanian cloud forest at the Lost Waterfalls Cabin.

You can always get to town via 15-minute hike down to the trailhead and then get a $10 cab, which the Airbnb host can call for you since you won’t have cell service.

slackline in boquete panama
Andy trying out the slackline in the yard

If it’s the evening, make sure to bring a flashlight to see and your Vigilant Personal Alarm for safety, as it gets dark.

Most likely, you’ll eat most meals at the cabin, where you have a cooler (no fridge), outdoor grill, stove (no oven), sink and dishes / glassware.

Things To Do In Boquete, Chiriquí: Boquete Restaurants

One meal I do highly recommend you have in town:

A globally inspired farm-to-fork experience at Colibri Restaurante.

“Colibri” means “hummingbird” in Spanish, which is a great name for this restaurant focused on creative Mediterranean meals infused with mainly local ingredients.

colibri restaurant boquete
Delicious farm-to-fork eats. Photo via Colibri Restaurant.
colibri restaurant salad
This ain’t your average salad 😉 Photo via Colibri Restaurant.

They have outdoor seating, as well as indoor tables surrounded by walls covered in local artwork.

The menu is extensive with lots of noteworthy tastes, from the locally-made passionfruit limoncello to the home-brewed beer to the creative ice cream flavors.

Personally, I loved the tree tomato option, as well as the goat cheese made with a variety they find at a local farmer’s market.

Instead of bread, we were given a bowl of fried pasta with a pesto dipping sauce.

As a starter, the beef tenderloin salad was almost too pretty to eat, laced with carrot spirals, faddish slices and tender seasoned beef; all dressed in a passionfruit dressing.

The meal offered a delicious introduction to discovering the terroir of Boquete and the Chiriqui Province, as the reason many travelers visit is access to unique outdoor adventure opportunities.

Things To Do In Boquete, Chiriquí: Boquete Hiking Trails

Andy and I decided to continue exploring the landscape through two esteemed hiking trails:

The Pipeline Trail ($3 entrance fee) and the Lost Waterfalls Trails ($7 entrance fee), the latter of which our cabin sits at the trailhead of.

Both are moderately difficult, unbelievably scenic hikes that introduce you to lush jungle and renowned bird life. Moreover, they’re a short taxi or collectivo (shared taxi) ride from Boquete Town.

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Walking from the Lost Waterfalls Cabin to the Pipeline Trail
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More beautiful Boquete scenery walking to the trailheads

Additionally, both are well-traversed enough that I’d highly recommend them for solo female travelers — though do pack your personal alarm just in case. We didn’t see any, but there are jaguars here, and a sound grenade can help scare off wild animals.

The Pipeline Trail is 2.8-miles long, gradually bringing you to 1,578 meters above sea level. Despite the elevation gain, this is the easier of the two Boquete hikes. This is because the Lost Waterfalls Trail is very, very steep in sections.

During the hike, you’ll pass through two micro-climates of the cloud forest, seeing a wide variety of flora — and fauna, mainly birds.

Actually, along this trail sits a designated Quetzal habitat.

If you’re wondering where to see the sought-after Resplendent quetzal in Panama, this is where you need to go — though note having a local Boquete guide like this one will dramatically increase your chances of spotting one. These beautiful birds, despite their bright colors and dramatic feathering, are tough to spot on your own.

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Taking a moment to enjoy the views along Boquete’s Pipeline Trail
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So peaceful you’ll want to break out your yoga moves
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So many different views along the Pipeline Trail

Another Pipeline Trail highlight:

A 1,000+ year-old Mexican elm tree, with enormous roots twisting out of the ground.

This is a fun photo spot for sure!

old mexican elm in boquete
A 1,000+ year old Mexican Elm

Along the way, you’ll cross lovely bridges — many crafted from parts of the pipeline the trek is named for — and will likely see lizards, butterflies and possibly even snakes, sloths and howler monkeys. We didn’t see the latter, but we definitely heard them!

At the end of the hike, you’re rewarded with a front row view of a waterfall perfect for swimming.

pipeline trail waterfall
Enjoying the waterfall all to ourselves

As Andy and I visited in the late August rainy season — Panama’s off season — we had the place all to ourselves.

The Lost Waterfalls Trail in Boquete was, in my opinion, even more beautiful, albeit more challenging with hugely spaced staircases and steep climbs — sometimes so sharp you’ll need a rope to assist you.

That being said, you’re introduced to three wildly gorgeous waterfalls, each quite different from the other.

Here is Lost Waterfall #1, the tamest of them all, with a viewing platform to see the falls:

lost waterfalls hike boquete panama
Lost Waterfall #1

Here is Lost Waterfall #2, my favorite of the three due to the multiple tiers and the cave behind it:

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Lost Waterfall #2
lost waterfalls hike in boquete panama
Lost Waterfalls Hike #2

And here is Lost Waterfall #3, which you can also climb up and walk behind:

lost waterfalls hike in boquete, panama
Lost Waterfalls Hike #3

As a photographer on this Panama hike, I couldn’t help but notice the many opportunities for gorgeous natural framing.

lost waterfalls hike in boquete, panama
Loving the Lost Waterfalls Hike in Boquete, Panama
boquete jungle
Rugged Boquete jungle

Warning:

Bring a raincoat! That rain can come out of nowhere. I’m a fan of the compact LINENLUX Rain Poncho.

Pro tip:

Boquete gets much cooler than Panama City and Bocas del Toro, so bring some warm clothing. My travel-friendly scarf shawl — which also makes for an excellent airplane blanket — came in handy for keeping me warm when hanging out on the porch.

Click here for a great list of unforgettable Boquete tours!

Visiting El Valle De Anton In Panama (aka El Valle)

After our cloud forest adventure in Boquete, we bid farewell to our Airbnb host, Elias, and the adorable Rocky Balboa.

While there is an inexpensive bus from Boquete to David — where you can board another inexpensive bus from David to Panama City — we decided to save time and hassle and instead grabbed a taxi to David’s international airport (1 hour, $50).

Then we took a flight from David to Panama City, where we grabbed a 2.5-hour bus to El Valle de Anton. Or, as it’s more commonly called, El Valle.

The town of El Valle — which I was told sits inside the largest inhabited volcano crater in the world — is known for its hiking trails, natural beauty and unique geography. Here, you’ll enjoy mountain treks, waterfalls, butterfly and orchid gardens, and hot springs.

Taking The Bus To El Valle From Panama City

Oy vei!

So from Albrook Bus Station in Panama City there are ticket sellers coming up to you and anxiously asking you where you’re going.

“El Valle de Anton,” I said.

“Come!” A man said, beckoning me to follow.

He hurriedly brought me to a ticket selling table, and I again said “El Valle de Anton.”

A bunch of men were shouting around me, it was hectic and rushed, so when the guy repeated back “Anton?” I didn’t think that that might be a different place.

But alas, it was.

And our 2.5-hour bus ride took almost six hours as we arrived in Anton — different from El Valle de Anton — and had to backtrack to then take two different buses.

But hey, it was an experience.

Picture a small bus where people get on and off before the vehicle even really comes to a complete stop. Latin club beats blast, and on some buses there are even R-rated music videos to go along with them!

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El Valle Panama Hotels: Casa del Alma (aka House of Soul)

We booked the funky, zen Casa del Alma space on Airbnb — so if you’ve never used Airbnb before, click here to create your account and receive $40 off your first stay!

This large house with four thoughtfully-decorated guest rooms, each with a private bathroom, is chock full of inspiring nooks, female-centric artwork and playful touches.

Casa del Alma
The common area of Casa del Alma
Casa del Alma cat
One of the cute pets at Casa del Alma

Moreover, the outdoor garden features a pool, fireplace (upcharge for setup) and tropical flora attracting birds — including hummingbirds!

In the morning, a big kitchen stocked with coffee, eggs, cereal and bananas is included in your stay.

Casa del Alma
The Casa del Alma pool

Hiking In El Valle: La India Dormida Trail

While we had a nice seafood meal at Restaurante Bruschetta and tasty fried chicken from a place off the main drag that read “Bar Restaurante,” the reason to visit El Valle isn’t the food.

It’s the nature.

el valle de anton panama itinerary
A street near our Airbnb in El Valle de Anton

Specifically, it’s to hike La India Dormida, or “The Sleeping Indian.”

From afar, this mountain range looks like a sleeping indigenous woman, quite a sight to see from afar.

And from the top, the views are even more spectacular.

According to Journey Era, there is a legend surrounding the mountain.

Apparently, an indigenous woman named Luba — a local chief’s daughter — fell in love with a Spaniard, despite incessant fighting between them and her tribe.

There was an indigenous man in her tribe who did love her, but she didn’t feel the same. Deeply hurt, he threw himself off a mountain in front of Luba.

Luba then became hysterical and got lost in the bushes, perishing.

Back to the La India Dormida hike itself, Andy and I were told there are four routes by which you can get to the top. Three are free and one is paid.

We weren’t sure where the free ones were, so we went in the paid entrance near the Piedra Pintada. You’ll see tons of signs in El Valle Town pointing you to La India Dormida as well as to the Piedra Pintada trailhead.

Honestly, I was happy to pay $3 for such a beautiful, well-maintained trail.

hiking la india dormida el valle panama
Hiking La India Dormida in El Valle

After paying, you’re shown a 3D diagram of the natural Panama attractions that await; neat, but nothing compared to seeing them up close.

At times the 45-minute uphill hike is pretty steep, and you’ll need to traverse uneven rock steps and roots.

That being said, you’ll be distracted from any fatigue thanks to the fact that there’s barely any lag time between sites.

Almost immediately, you see the famed Piedra Pintada, an enormous rock covered in petroglyphs said to date back to Pre-Columbian times; as in, before 1492 when Christopher Columbus “discovered” the Americas.

La Piedra Pintada el valle panama
Andy looking up at La Piedra Pintada

After that, you’ll cross wooden bridges and veer off the path out onto small outcroppings to view three different waterfalls, each cascade offering something different.

Here is a look at my favorite waterfall from the La India Dormida hike, with beautiful views out toward the Pacific Ocean.

hiking la india dormida waterfalls
Views over the waterfalls
Waterfall views along La India Dormida hike
Gorgeous views along La India Dormida hike

Along the path we saw so many giant Blue Morpho Butterflies, along with yellow-bellied flycatcher birds.

Toward the top, we saw one more petroglyph rock before shortly arriving at a crossroads.

We almost missed it, but in very faint white there is an arrow directing you toward the left.

This takes you higher up the mountain, until you come to a tent with decent views over the valley.

As usual, I thought this was the end before it really was. Like in Boquete, Andy volunteered to run ahead and scope things out.

We were lucky he did, as despite having to climb up a very steep and uneven rock face, we were ecstatic to come up onto the edge of the volcano crater.

la india dormida hike
The highlight of La India Dormida hike

The views here are completely open, with rolling hills on one side and the valley drop on the other as you walk along the crater rim.

There are a lot of great photo opportunities here; though do be smart, as the drop down is really long.

Visiting Panama City

After 10 days of Panama beach and jungle exploration, we ended our trip with three nights in Panama City.

Panama City is definitely the wealthiest and most cosmopolitan city I’ve ever been when traveling Central America, with a lot of money coming in thanks to the Panama Canal.

Along with exploring innovative infrastructure, cosmopolitan architecture and cultural institutions like the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo and the Martin Theatre, you can also enjoy Panama beaches, hiking and wildlife in and around the city.

Getting Into Panama City From Tocumen International Airport

When you arrive into Tocumen International Airport, you’ve got a few options for transportation into the city — or to the nearby Albrook “Marcos A. Gelabert” International Airport for domestic flights.

  • The bus. The cheapest option at less than $2, though note you can’t bring suitcases.
  • Taxis. These you can grab right in the Arrivals Hall. The tourism information booth advised us it would be $35 from Tocumen International Airport to Albrook “Marcos A. Gelabert” International Airport.
  • Uber. The best option if you’ve got luggage. We paid about $17 for the 14-mile ride to Albrook “Marcos A. Gelabert” International Airport. If you’ve never used Uber, you can use code jessief7 to get your first ride free!
bahia grand panama city infinity pol
Loving the Bahia Grand’s Infinity pool

Where To Stay In Panama City: Bahia Grand Panama City

While trekking up hills to reach gorgeous jungle view rooms and hiking up steep stone paths for a secluded cloud forest retreat was so worth it, we decided to end with some luxury — and an elevator — by staying at the Bahia Grand Panama City (formerly the Trump International Hotel & Tower Panama, though it’s now been taken over by JW Marriott).

This Panama City hotel is located in the opulent Punta Pacifica neighborhood, where you’ll see a number of luxury high rise hotels and condominium buildings.

bahia grand panama city views
Enjoying the views from the Bahia Grand Panama City

Essentially, the Bahia Grand is a city within a city, with a shopping corridor, four restaurants, five oceanfront pools, a business center and a wellness center.

While mornings were spent enjoying fresh fruit and eggs at the BARcelona buffet breakfast and taking a dip (with a view!) in the 13th floor infinity pool, evenings were enjoyed taking baths in the standalone tub, drinking wine on our 31st-floor balcony and savoring the chefs menu at Tejas.

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Sipping wine in the standalone tub at the Bahia Grand Hotel
bahia grand panama city staircase
There’s so much to explore in the Bahia Grand Panama City

Note:

Their seafood — specifically their ceviche — is incredible!

Attached to the hotel is also the Ocean Sun Casino, from which you can take the elevator up to the 66th floor rooftop bar called Panaviera Pool Bar.

I don’t think I’ve even been to a bar that high back home in NYC!

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Views from the 66th floor

Now I have to be honest:

I was much less active in Panama City than I usually am while traveling.

Andy and I packed so much into our Panama itinerary that by the time we reached Panama City we really wanted to chill out.

sipping pina coladas by the bahia grand pool
Sipping pina coladas by the Bahia Grand pool

So, a nice chunk of our time was spent sipping pina coladas out of pineapples by the pool.

#SometimesYouJustGotta

But, that’s not all we did…

Things To Do In Panama City

As stated above, if I could have changed one thing about our Panama itinerary, it would have been staying a few extra days to really get to know Panama City.

A few things we’ve added to our bucket list for the future since we didn’t have time on this Panama trip:

Okay, enough about what we didn’t do in Panama City. Let’s talk about what we did do.

wandering Casco Viejo panama city
Wandering Casco Viejo

One must-have experience is wandering Casco Viejo.

As mentioned above, this Panama City neighborhood dates back to the late 17th century, and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

You really don’t need a plan here. You can simply walk and admire the historic Spanish colonial facades, which are protected.

In fact, many modern restaurants and bars gut the insides, but are not allowed to change the outsides. This gives Casco Viejo an enchanting old world feel.

Some of our favorite stops within Casco Viejo:

  • Café Unido. Attention Instagrammers: This Panama City cafe was made for you. Along with being lovely looking, this is also one of the few places you can try the soft, tea-like Geisha Coffee. It costs a steep $9 per cup, but offered a gentle pick me up!
Geisha Coffee at Cafe Unido panama itinary
Sampling the Geisha Coffee at Cafe Unido
  • CasaCasco. In this multi-level Panama City restaurant you’ve got three eateries to choose from, not to mention a rooftop bar serving tapas and a dance club. We opted for the Asian-focused NacionSushi. Warning: Their rolls are much, much, much bigger than you’re likely used to!
casacasco sushi panama city
The sushi at CasaCasco’s Nacion Sushi is enormous
  • The Strangers Club. This American-style craft cocktail bar was started by the team behind NYC’s famed Employees Only, along with two Panamanian partners. As many of you know, I lead a cocktail tour in Manhattan, so of course I had to try it. The ambiance is relaxed, with the menu showcasing Panama’s best ingredients. Pro tip: Order the “Angie,” featuring gin shaken with fresh passionfruit, house-made lemongrass syrup and frothy egg white. Yum!
the strangers club panama city
Craft cocktails at The Strangers Club in Panama City

Of course, you’ll also want to admire the views of the Panama City skyline and Panama Bay, as the neighborhood juts into the water.

Additionally, Casco Viejo is full of historic and cultural attractions, like Palacio de las Garzas (where Panama’s president lives), the 18th century Catedral de Panamá and the 17th century La Iglesia San Felipe Neri.

Another experience you can’t miss when you visit Panama City:

Spending time at the Panama Canal!

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Visiting the Panama Canal

While I appreciate engineering, I’ll be honest that this isn’t usually how I’d want to spend my time; however, Andy and I agreed that it would be wrong to miss it.

I’m glad we went, as we were able to get up close to the action.

Even if the idea of learning about boats and canals bores you, just seeing how the system works is interesting.

Something else fascinating:

The idea for the canal actually came from France; however, they eventually pulled out, which is when the project became a joint venture between the USA and Panama.

This short two-minute video by The BBC does a great job of explaining this further.

So, how long is the Panama Canal?

A whopping 48 miles, with ships generally taking eight to 10 hours to pass through. Astounding!

After visiting the Panama Canal, Andy and I spent some time roaming Panama City’s lesser-explored areas.

We really enjoyed the walkable El Cangrejo, Obarrio and Marbella neighborhoods. 

Once we’d sufficiently worked up an appetite, we stopped at one of the most unique Panama City restaurants we’d seen yet:

Wall Street Bar & Lounge in Marbella.

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Enjoying a drink at Wall Street Bar & Lounge in Panama City’s Marbella neighborhood

Their concept is innovative in that the menu prices change based on what’s in stock.

The idea is that diners might be tempted to try something they normally wouldn’t order based on a great price.

Plus, the food and cocktails are just really good. Our drinks were works of art, adorned with flowers and burnt fruit slices.

In terms of dining it’s mainly hearty comfort food. We especially loved the burger topped with a creamy house sauce and served with spiced fries.

Definitely don’t come here on a diet!

To end the night — and the trip — Andy and I took an evening stroll along Panama City’s Cinta Costera.

Cinta Costera views
Panama City views from the Cinta Costera

The coastal beltway begins and ends on the mainland, though a large portion of it weaves away from the city into the water, like one of Saturn’s rings.

Despite it being after 8pm, many locals were out running, skating and riding their bikes.

As we walked, Andy and I were able to take in an impressive view of Panama City, really grasping how humongous the cosmopolitan city really is.

Click here for a great list of unforgettable Panama City tours!

While Andy and I packed a lot into our two-week trip to Panama, we’re both looking forward to going back and exploring even more of what this beautiful country has to offer.

Because trust me, it’s a lot!

Travel Insurance

While you hope everything runs smoothly, sometimes travel just doesn’t go according to plan.

This is why I recommend always purchasing travel insurance. The scary truth is it only takes one bad accident to lose everything — or be thankful you were covered.

Personally, I use SafetyWing, as they’ve got a large network, offer both short-term and long-term coverage (including limited coverage in your home country), are budget-friendly, and offer $250,000 worth of coverage with just one low overall deductible of $250.

Click here to price out travel insurance for your trip in just a few clicks.

What would you add to this Panama itinerary? Any questions on backpacking Central America? Please share in the comments below!

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Panama Itinerary Logistics:

Electronics Warning: MacBook Pro problems! Make sure to keep your electronics, namely your laptops, in a sealed bag, as high humidity in places like Bocas del Toro can ruin them.

Additionally, you can purchase a dry bag for when your gadgets are not in use, like this one.

Panama Transfers: Hello Panama is a top-rated company in Panama who do many of the popular transfers. We used them to go from Bocas Town to Boquete for $30.

Car Rentals: Discover Cars lets you compare various rental companies and save up to 70% on your booking! 

Bocas Taxi Boat Recommendation: If you need a boat ride between Bocas Town and another Bocas island, contact Choy at +507 6711 8878.

Taxi Service In Boquete Recommendation: William. Very nice guy recommended to us by our Airbnb host! His cell is +507 6784 0277.

Recommended Reads: 

Packing List: A few must-pack items when visiting Panama include:

Panama Tours:

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Looking for unfogettable things to do in Panama? In this post, I share an epic Panama itinerary that includes some of the best hiking trails in Latin America, top Bocas del Toro beaches, fun Panama City activities and more! #PanamaTravel #LatinAmerica #PanamaTrip

About Jessie Festa

Jessie Festa is a New York-based travel content creator who is passionate about empowering her audience to experience new places and live a life of adventure. She is the founder of the solo female travel blog, Jessie on a Journey, and is editor-in-chief of Epicure & Culture, an online conscious tourism magazine. Along with writing, Jessie is a professional photographer and is the owner of NYC Photo Journeys, which offers New York photo tours, photo shoots, and wedding photography. Her work has appeared in publications like USA Today, CNN, Business Insider, Thrillist, and WestJet Magazine.

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Hi, I’m Jessie on a journey!

I'm a conscious solo traveler on a mission to take you beyond the guidebook to inspire you to live your best life through travel. Come join me!

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5 Comments

  1. Isabella Miller on at 1:28 am

    Thank you, Jessie, for sharing everything in so much details. You’ve made planning a trip to Panama very easy for me. Would love to go for hiking trails. Keep sharing your trips with us!

  2. Viola on at 1:06 pm

    The natural beauty of Panama looks out of this world! And omg those little hummingbirds! So cute. Panama is officially on my list now. Thanks for such a comprehensive guide Jessie.

  3. Arunima Dey on at 1:38 pm

    That’s a very informative post! You have covered so much and it seems like you had a perfect trip! Whenever I read such posts, my attention diverts to the food bit hehe (which looks amazing in your post btw) but my favourite here is the hands down, the Jungle Lodge, looks like a slice of heaven!

  4. Dagney on at 6:33 pm

    This is such a fantastic & comprehensive guide! It looks gorgeous! Panama is one of my husband’s top destination choices, so I’ll definitely be pinning for when we finally make it out there!

  5. SNK Social Fame on at 3:46 am

    Really appreciate this wonderful post that you have provided for us. Great to share this information thanks.

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