Top 50 Things to Do and to See in Panama

Panama, officially the Republic of Panama, is the southernmost country of Central America. The country of Panama is located on the isthmus connecting North and South America. It is a one of the most famous tourist destinations and mostly renowned for its Panama Canal. Panama is also popular as the “Crossroads of the Americas,” it is the geographical point where North America meets South America. You will find plenty of things to do and see in Panama making it a popular tourist destination. Fifty things that you can enjoy in Panama along with your family are listed below:

1. Panama Canal

The Panama Canal is the major tourist attractions of the country and well stands as one of the world’s greatest feats of engineering. Visitors can take either a partial or complete crossing of the canal. A lot of tourists select to explore the canal by visiting the Miraflores Locks Museum. From the restaurant situated at the top floor of the museum, visitors can watch transiting vessels in the canal below. A trip to the Miraflores Visitors Center will showcase the canal’s history and importance for the Panamanian people, while allowing you to observe ships passing through the Miraflores locks.

2. Panama City

Panama City is one of the most charming cities to visit. This incredible city is situated on the crossroads of 2 oceans and 2 continents. It will offer you plenty of beautiful attractions such as Las Bóvedas, literally The Vaults, a waterfront promenade jutting out into the Pacific. The National Institute of Culture Building and across from it, the French Embassy; The Cathedral on Plaza de la Catedral, Teatro Nacional, a performance center are among the magnificent tourist destinations of this city.

3. Bocas Del Toro

Bocas Del Toro is one of the most popular tourist attractions of Panama and also a major source of tourist attraction to the country. Bocas Del Toro is located towards the northwestern coast of the country. The sea and the water are considered to be the major attractions of this country. Here you can enjoy Boating, reef snorkeling, sandy beaches and fun nightlife abound. Locals and visitors alike travel leisurely between the islands in dugout canoes and kayaks.

4. Boquete

One of the extremely popular tourist destinations of Panama is Boquete. It is popularly known as the “Valley of Flowers”. You will find Boquete situated in the highlands of western Panama, quite close to the border to Costa Rica. It presents you numerous of hiking trails, world class river rafting, a cloud forest zipline canopy tour, botanical tours, picturesque horseback riding tours, challenging rock climbing and the perfect head quarters for excursions and fishing to the islands of the Chiriqui Gulf National Marine Park

5. Isla Contadora

Isla Contadora is one of the most incredible destinations for tourist in Panama. This island is also considered to be the most favorite spots of locals and tourist. It is situated around 30 miles off the Pacific coast of Panama City. It is a perfect holiday destination throughout the year and serves as a refuge for many billionaires. There are several public and private beaches on the island, with its beautiful white sand beaches and crystal clear water ideal for diving with breathing tube.

6. Guadalupe

Among the famous and attractive places to visit in Panama is Guadalupe. It is a beautiful little town located towards the western part of the country. Once here you can enjoy peace that pervades its fertile green hills. This region also offers variety of wildflowers along the road leading up to Jardin Botanico Finca Dracula. It’s an enthralled garden with an amazing array of plants including some very precious orchids. Guadalupe is also considered as small heaven for botanists. Guadalupe is a hidden gem and surely worth a visit.

7. Isla Taboga

One of the most beautiful tourist attractions of Panama is Isla Taboga. It is situated approximately twenty kilometers from Panama City. It is considered as an ideal destination for a fun filled tour as it offers spectacular sandy beaches, ride Jet Ski’s, speed boats and fishing charters. This region also offers a charming village with the second-oldest church in the western hemisphere, a few narrow streets with a few restaurants and great views to Panama City from the top of the Island.

8. Pearl Islands

The Pearl Islands are rightly described as the archipelagos’ wealth of pearls in the 1500s. It offers some of the most interesting tourist attractions to its visitors like the beautiful lush forests that is surrounded by white sandy beaches. Contadora Island is the most developed of the Pearl Islands, with several resorts and an airstrip. Visitors can charter private yachts to cruise and explore the islands.

9. Amador Causeway

The Amador Causeway connects the three islands by the entrance to the Panama Canal to the mainland. It is considered to be the most popular tourist attractions of Panama. Once here you can also witness a marvelous view of the City, and the Bridge of the Americas. The local people of Panama like to spend their weekends jogging, riding a bicycle or rollerblading down the causeway, or having a meal or drinks in one of the many restaurants and bars on the islands.

10. Volcan Baru

Volcan Baru is situated in Chiriquí Province and is one of the major tourist attractions of Panama. It is renowned as the highest geographical point of the country and presents a true adventure for experienced hikers and mountain climbers. The long climb is sheer, and hikers surely will experience changes in climate as they hike towards the summit. Less adventurous visitors will enjoy the hot springs located around 30 minutes from the town. The springs are fed from the thermal waters below the dormant volcano.

11. Santa Catalina

Santa Catalina is considered to be the most favorite holiday destinations for many. It is situated on the Chiriquí Gulf and offers some of the fairly attractive tourist spot but its major attraction remains its beautiful beach surrounded by jungle forests makes it an ideal destination for those who wish to enjoy Panama’s natural beauty.

12. San Blas Island

San Blas Islands are situated right towards the eastern part of the country, offering some of the unique attractions to the tourist. It is also considered to be best place to explore the rich culture of Panama’s indigenous people, the Kuna. The Kuna people view this area as their own but are warm and welcoming to visitors.

13. Coiba

Coiba is considered to be the most favorite tourist attractions of Panama. The major attraction of this region is the Coiba National Marine Park. The island of Coiba is the largest island in the park, as well as the largest island in all of Central America. More than 800 species of marine life are present in the area. The park is known as one of the best places to enjoy snorkeling and scuba diving on the Pacific Coast.

14. Parque Nacional Darién

Parque Nacional Darién is situated along the Panamanian-Colombian border is considered to be a treat for nature lovers. You can access El Real, the closest town to the Parque Nacional Darién, via airplane from Panama City. This park offers some of the most beautiful attractions that can be enjoyed with the complete family.

15. Archipélago De San Blás

The San Blas islands are home to Panama’s indigenous Kuna people, renowned for their colorful fabric molas. Only a handful of the 365 San Blas islands are settled, and even those are frequently wild. Once here you can also travel to an authentic Kuna village, snorkel in the vivid blue waters, relax on white sand beaches and explore the island’s flora and fauna. It is one of the most famous tourist attractions of Panama.

16. Ancon Hill

The Ancon Hill in Panama City is one of the most famous tourist attractions of the country that is as high as 654 feet. It is said that the Ancon Hill towers over Panama City and offers visitors supreme views of the surrounding area including Casco Viejo, Panama City, Panama Bay, Panama Canal Administration Building.

17. Barro Colorado Island

The Barro Colorado is famous as the largest forested island in the Panama Canal Waterway and also offers the most interesting Smithsonian biological station. The island offers some of the most famous tourist attractions to its visitors.

18. Bridge of the Americas

The Bridge of the America is one of the most famous tourist attractions of Panama and surely worth it. The bridge with an elevation of 118 meters and width of 1,669 meters well connects the two land masses separated due to the construction of The Panama Canal. This bridge was constructed at the cost of $ twenty million dollars by the United States. Today it forms an integral part of the Pan-American Highway, connecting both North and South America.

19. Casco Viejo

Casco Viejo is situated quite close to the Panama City. Tourist who visits the Panama city most often takes the tour of Casco Viejo. It is considered to be the most important point of Panamanian architectural history, with its scenic buildings, wide streets comprised of red bricks, churches, ruins and museums. A must see for anyone visiting the city district.

20. Chiriqui Province

Chiriquii Province is one of the most famous tourist attractions of the country. This province offers plenty of things to do and see that attracts a lot of visitors. Its major attractions include its wildlife, adventure, exotic culture and enchanting mountain villages that will make you long to extend your stay. This tropical mountain paradise pleasantly surprises those who don’t expect to find a home away from home.

21. Coiba National Marine Park

Coiba national Marine Park is a famous tourist spot of panama and is located in the Gulf of Chiriqui, comprises of 38 islands. This magnificent park occupies a total area of around 430,825 acres and is well listed in the UNESCO world heritage site during the year 2005 White sand beaches, lush verdant forest, prolific wildlife, and world class diving are just some of the many things you’ll enjoy during your visit to Coiba National Park.

22. Colon Province

Colon Province is located on the Atlantic coast of the country and offers numerous of attractions worth visiting. It is considered as one of the most colorful regions of Panama with lots of historical excursions. Fort San Lorenzo is situated on the old US Army base of Sherman; Isla Grande’s clear, white sand beaches; Portobelo’s historic and interesting ruins; and Gatun Lake.

23. El Valle de Anton

El Valle de Anton is situated quite close to the northern part of Panama City. It is said that it happens to have the largest diameter of any volcano in this hemisphere. It is one of the most visited tourist attractions of Panama. Complete with waterfalls, golden frogs, square trees and plenty of hiking trails, El Valle de Anton enjoys a much cooler climate that Panama.

24. Escudo de Veragua

Escudo de Veraguas is said to be the Central America’s most beautiful island paradise, Escudo de Veraguas is Panama’s best kept secret. It is located around 10 miles off the Atlantic coast, east of the Valiente Peninsula. It is horizontally shaped island that is complete bounded by white sand beaches and crystal clear turquoise waters.

25. Isla Contadora

Contatadora Island is among the numerous islands that make up Panama’s Pearl Islands and perhaps the most beautiful tourist spots of Panama. It is located around forty miles off the country’s Pacific coast. These little islands are some of the regions finest, and can be compared to many of those in the Bocas del Toro or San Blas regions.

26. Isla Grande

Isla Grande is regarded as one of the most beautiful places to visit in Panama. The reason for its immense popularity is its beautiful and lush verdant landscape, crystal clear waters, and a Caribbean atmosphere. It also offers snorkeling, diving, surfing, and relaxation. Numerous inexpensive cabins, as well as larger, more expensive hotels cater to all.

27. Metropolitan Natural Park

The Metropolitan Natural Park is located quite close to the Panama City is one of the most visited tourist attractions of Panama. This park is an ideal destination for those interested in escaping from the neighboring city. The park has three main trails, all of which are well maintained and easy to find. The Metropolitan Natural Park was decreed a park during the year 1985.

28. Mi Pueblito

Mi Pueblito is located towards the outskirts of Panama City and perhaps the most exciting tourist attraction of Panama. It is considered to be a unique representation of Panama’s culture and history. The complex is comprised of three distinct villages: typical Panamanian, Antillian, and Indian.

29. Miraflores

The Miraflores Locks is one of the famous tourist attractions of the country. It is famous because of its close proximity to Panama City and certainly the most visited tourist site in all of Panama, more than Panama Viejo and Casco Viejo. The lock gates at Miraflores are the tallest of the three, which is due to the extreme tidal variation that takes place in the Pacific Ocean

30. Panama Viejo

Panama Viejo is located towards the northeastern part of the Panama City. Panama Viejo (ruins of Panama) is considered to be one of the famous historical sights of the country. It was smashed down during the year 1671 at the time of Sir Henry Morgan’s invasion, the city was never rebuilt. Just minutes from downtown Panama City, Panama Viejo is well worth a visit for anyone with just a few hours to spend.

31. Pipeline Road

Pipeline Road is one of the most popular tourist attractions of Panama. It is probably the most popular birding sight and is located inside the most famous Soberania National Park. The Soberania National Part is perhaps the most happening spot of the city and occupies an area of around 48,287 acres. This park was founded during the year 1980 and contains numerous trails, one of which is Pipeline Road; there are several others nearby.

32. Kuna Yala

Kuna Yala is one of the spectacular tourist destinations of Panama and is a place where you can found over 360 islands and also a thin strip of mainland that stretches along Panama’s Atlantic coast. The major attraction of this place is perhaps its beautiful white sand beaches with crystal clear water.

33. Statue of Balboa

The Statue of Balboa is located along Balboa Avenue is considered to be the most famous sights to visit in Panama. This stature is one of the most famous historical monument, paying tribute to the Spanish adventurer and first European to glimpse the Pacific Ocean, in the year 1513. Holding the Spanish flag in his left hand and a sword with his right, the Vasco Núñez de Balboa statue overlooks Panama Bay.

34. Summit Gardens

Summit Gardens are situated in close proximity of the Panama City, is one of the most beautiful attractions of Panama. These magnificent offers some of the most interesting attractions to visitors and also an opportunity to view many of the animal species found in Panama, as well as others found in the Central & South American region. Not really a botanical garden like the name suggests, the facility has numerous trails and resting areas.

35. Fuerte San Lorenzo

The Fuerte San Lorenzo is one of the major tourist attractions of Panama that was constructed during the year 1595, by order of Felipe II of Spain in order to fortify the Río Chagres and the trade route to the city of Panamá. Despite its violent history, which includes constant pirate attack, much of San Lorenzo is well preserved, including the moat, the cannons and the arched rooms. It is a well maintained and preserved historical monument of Panama that is also listed in UNSECO World Heritage Sites.

36. Chorro El Macho

One of the most famous tourist destinations of Panama is the Chorro El Macho. This magnificent waterfall that is to be found in the region of El Valle occupies an area of 85-high. This magnificent waterfall is an ideal place for excellent photographs. If the summer sun is beating down more than usual, you can take a refreshing bath at the base of the falls.

37. Gatún Dam

The Gatún Dam is definitely one of the noteworthy tourist attractions of Panama. This dam was built during the year 1908 to shore up the Río Chagres and to create Lago Gatún. Until the year 1920 this dam was believed to be the world’s largest dam. When created, it submerged 262 sq km (163 sq mi) of jungle, entire villages and huge sections of the Panama Railroad. This spot is considered to be the most impressive dams of the country.

38. Parque Nacional Coiba

The country of Panama offers some of the most amazing attractions to visit by tourist and this national marine park is not an exception. This park offers some of the country’s largest island, the 493-sq-km Isla de Coiba, as well as astounding biodiversity; 23 species of dolphin and whale have been identified, including humpback, killer and sperm whales. Once here you can witness numerous species of crocodile and turtle, and 15 species of snake roam the island as well as myriad birdlife. This park is also considered to be an ideal destination for family picnicking.

39. Museo del Canal Interoceánico

One of the most impressive places to visit in Panama is the Museo Del Canal Interoceánico. This interesting museum is to be found in a spectacular restored building, this building was previously used to be the headquarters for the original French canal company. This famous museum offers some of the finest collection of artifacts on the famous waterway, framed in its historical and political context.

40. Museo El Valle

Museo El Valle is to be found towards the eastern end of El Valle’s conspicuous church. This modest attraction of Panama includes displays exhibits of petroglyphs and ceramics left by the indigenous peoples who lived in the area hundreds of years ago. You will also find numerous of religious art, mostly statues of Christ and the Virgin, and also various historical and geological information on El Valle’s volcano.

41. Aprovaca Orquídeas

Aprovaca Orquideas is considered to be an ideal destination for family picnicking. It is said that if you want to witness the best selection of orchids then this is the place to visit. The magnificent flowers inside the greenhouse will certainly attract any visitors. Here you can admire over 96 varieties of orchids cultivated – it’s well worth a visit.

42. Museo de Historia y de Arte José de Obaldía

Museo de Historia y de Arte José de Obaldía is considered to be the major attraction of David. This two-story colonial building was built during the year 1880, and is furnished with original art and decor. The popular museum was named after the founder of Chiriquí province, the museum also houses some of the best local archaeological artifacts and old photos of the canal during construction.

43. Parque Natural Metropolitano

One of the favorite destinations of Panama locals and also a famous tourist spot is the Parque Natural Metropolitano. It is located towards the northern part of the downtown. This beautiful park occupies a total area of around 265-hectare and protects vast expanses of tropical semi deciduous forest within the city limits, and serves as a spectacular wilderness escape from the trappings of the capital. It has two main walking trails, the Nature Trail and the Tití Monkey Trail, which join to form one long loop. Mammals in the park include tití monkeys, anteaters, sloths and white-tailed deer, while reptiles include iguanas, turtles and tortoises.

44. Centro de Exhibiciones Marinas

Panama offers some of the finest museums and Centro de Exhibiciones Marinas is also worth a stop. This museum presents an informative marine museum where you can witness 2 small aquariums and a nature trail through a patch of dry forest containing sloths and iguanas. Inside the museum you can find numerous displays, including a small six-sided building with sweeping views of the Bahía de Panamá that was built by Noriega for intimate gatherings. Today it houses a museum containing exhibits on the history of Panama’s indigenous cultures.

45. Iglesia de San Félipe

One of the most famous festivals of Panama is Festival de Cristo Negro (Black Christ Festival), is also celebrated with lots of enthusiasm. This festival is celebrated to honors the 1.5m-high statue of the Black Christ housed in the Iglesia de San Félipe. The exact origins of the Black Christ statue are a matter of speculation, especially since all definitive church records were lost in the fire that followed Henry Morgan’s sacking of Panamá in 1671.

46. Real Aduana de Portobelo

One of the fairly popular tourist attractions of Panama is the Aduana de Portobelo that was believed to have been constructed to serve as the contaduría (counting house) for the king’s gold during the year 1630. It is said that this was that building that the treasure brought across the isthmus was recorded and stored until it could be placed on galleons and sailed to Spain. According to early records, no less than 233 soldiers were garrisoned in this building alone.

47. Reserva Natural Punta Patiño

Reserve Natural Punta Patino is located towards the southern shore of the Golfo de San Miguel, is one of the most beautiful tourist attractions of Panama. This famous Natural reserve occupies an area of around 65,025 acre and offers species-rich primary and secondary forest, and is one of the best places in Panama to spot harpy eagles. Even if the big bird doesn’t show, you will also get the opportunity to witness everything from three-toed sloths to capybaras, the world’s largest rodent.

48. Zona Libre

Colón’s free-trade zone is a large region of giant international stores selling products duty free. It is considered to be an ideal destination for shopping by tourist in Panama. In fact, it’s the world’s second-largest duty-free port after Hong Kong. However, most of these stores only deal in bulk merchandise.

49. Parque Nacional Sarigua

Parque Nacional Sarigua is a beautiful little park of Panama is a famous spot to visit. It is believed to be the most prominent Pre-Columbian sites of the country. In contrast to many of Panama’s other national parks, this is not the place to encounter lush forests or abundant wildlife. The park was once dry tropical rainforest and coastal mangrove. Sarigua is the end product of slash-and-burn agriculture.

50. Río Sambú

Another impressive tourist attraction to visit in Panama is Rio Sambu. To visit this spectacular attraction of Panama you’ll pass through spectacular jungle while gliding past traditional Emberá and Wounaan villages. If riding in a boat that’s loaded down with leaking gasoline cans bothers you, you should probably pass on the Sambú – you’ll need to bring several large containers of gas from La Palma to fuel the canoe you hire upriver. However a trip up the Río Sambú is a true adventure, something that is truly memorable.

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