Panama Activities

The climate in generally Panama is hot and humid, but that shouldn’t discourage you from exploring all of the things to do in Panama.

Things to do in Panama on the Caribbean Coast

The Panamanian Caribbean coast has access to some of the most beautiful beaches on the planet. The islands of Bocas del Toro and the San Blas Islands have so much natural beauty that you may find yourself needing nothing more than a beach towel. If you are looking for something more exciting, there is plenty of trails to hike, villages to explore and snorkeling to be done—make sure you leave enough time for sunbathing.

Things to do in Panama in the Highlands

If you need to cool off a bit, head for the Highlands. The beautiful and peaceful town of Boquete sees it’s share of backpackers and expats. There is a variety of lovely day hikes here including the more strenuous hike up Volcan Baru where, on a clear day, you can see both the Caribbean and Atlantic oceans from the summit.

Things to do in Panama City

The most famous attraction in Panama City is, of course, is the Panama Canal. The canal was built so that ships could pass from Atlantic to the Pacific and more then 750,000 vessels still use the route annually. Panama City also has a commemoration on January 9 called Martyrs’ Day, a remembrance of the day in 1964 when fighting erupted between U.S. Military and Panamanians over the Panama Canal Zone.

  • Plaza Francia
    This plaza is part of a monument honoring France's contributions to the construction of the Panama Canal. There's often a delightful breeze blowing through, and from the end of the walkway you can see boats queued up to enter the canal. The plaza is frequented by vendors, as well as indigenous stall
  • Teatro Nacional
    Fronted with busts of famous writers, this cultural center hosts operas, plays, ballets and performances of all types. The building is about 100 years old, and is decorated with frescoes by Roberto Lewis, Panama's greatest painter. It's a beautiful place, and worth checking out. Entrance costs $1. F
  • Boquete Loop hill walk
    This pleasant two-and-a-half hour stroll begins and ends at the yellow suspension bridge in town, running along the road (although don't let that put you off). Head left after crossing the bridge and the road leads along the river until a right turn leads up to El Explorador. Follow the dirt road u
  • Iglesia de San Francisco de Asis
    This cathedral was one of the original structures from Casco Viejo. It was ravaged by fire in 1737 and again in 1756. The cathedral was restored in 1998, and is now one of the most striking churches in Panama.
  • Presidential Palace
    Nicknamed "Palacio de las Grazas" after the African herons that stalk its grounds, this modest but beautiful building is the office of Panama's president. The street is quite heavily guarded, so expect to be searched if you've got a backpack. A Moorish interior patio and a tranquil fountain are visi
  • Bocas Sailing
    Three types of tour / activity are offered. The first type of tour goes to Dolphin Bay to watch the bottlenose dolphins. From there the tour moves on to snorkelling to a coral reef, nearby mangroves. The reef is unique because it is shallow and has a lot of colorful coral. After lunch the tour sail
  • Plaza Bolívar
    Away from the bustle of Lima's downtown lies the green park of Plaza Bolívar, flanked by three of Lima's more interesting museums. Travel back 8,000 years as you peruse the Pre-Columbian artifacts at the yellow painted monolith, the Museo Nacional de Antropología, Arqueología e Historia del Perú
  • Sendero Los Quetzales
    It is best to start this walk with an early (8 a.m.) bus from David to Cerro Punta as there is little to do in the town at the trailhead. The bus takes around two-and-a-half hours and if luck is on your side a 4WD cab will take you to the ranger station for $15 to avoid a
  • Canal Traverse
    Several companies offer trips on the Panama Canal—a great way to experience the workings of this engineering masterpiece first-hand. Partial transits, which takes you through three locks and the Gaillard Cut to Gamboa by cruise boat and back by bus, go weekly on Satur
  • Bocas del Toro Fishing and Sailing
    Sailing charter on a 41 ft Catamaran all inclusive trip. Its the most confortable way to travel around the archipelago of Bocas del Toro. Will facilitate fishing, surfing, snorkeling and photo safari trips to travelers.
  • Panama Viejo Ruins
    This area is what is left of the original Panama City, but there is not much still standing. Old stone walls and tower ruins is all that remains, but there are interesting features in the stonework and development work on the site has seen signboards put
  • Diving
    Diving in Bocas del Toro is quite popular, though their sites aren't particularly impressive. Sediment from the nearby rivers keeps the coral healthy, but it also reduces visibility, which on a bad day can drop to 10 meters. Reef sharks are the only truly impressive sea life. A one-tank dive should
  • Kayaking
    Kayaks are rented for around $3 per hour, or $18 per day. Waters are generally clear and calm, and Hospital Point is a popular spot to check out. “Discovery Bay”, a small sheltered area just south of Isla Bastimentos, is also pleasant. One good idea is to bring along some snorkeling equipm
  • The Bocas Sailing Club
    The Bocas Sailing Club

    Sailboat rentals

    Sailing lessons


  • Surf School La Iguana
    Overview Bocas is a popular place for surfing and is home to the Atlantic's biggest wave, the Silverback, which was ridden by the Red Bull Surf Team for a video in March 2006. That may be too big for public riding, but there are plenty of breaks to get the heart racing with Paunch (reef br
  • Surfing
    Make no mistake, Bocas is a surfing town. So bleach your hair and start working on that laid-back drawl. Beginners should head to Playa Punch, or the Dumps if it's a calm day. The guys at Mondo Taitu rent out surfboards: $15 for a long board, $12 for a short board. More experienced surfers should pr
  • Ancon Hill
    A steep, 30 minute hike up from Mi Pueblito, this hill offers a commanding view over Panama City all the way to the first locks of the canal. The best view is in the prohibited area at the base of the giant flagpole. Offer the security guard a dollar and compliment him on his fetching pet cat and he
  • Plaza de la Catedral (AKA Plaza de la Independencia)
    A great place to start on a walking tour of Casco Viejo. This plaza marks the spot where, on November 3 1903, Panama declared its independence from Colombia. Although pleasant, the plaza in not a place where you'll find a lot of activity. People-watchers would do better to head to Plaza Francia or P
  • Beaches
    Gorgeous beaches are one of Bocas del Toro's main attractions. Isla Colon has several nice ones, including Drago Beach on the far side of the island. Our vote for the area's best goes to Wizard Beach, a picture-perfect stretch of golden sand located just across the bay. Water taxis will know it, and
  • Plaza Herrera
    This square of the city was cleared out by the 1781 fire. It was originally used for bull fights before being renamed for one of Panama's independence heroes. The square is lined with beautiful crumbling buildings, including the Edificio la Reformada, which was Panama's first reinforced concrete bui
  • Parque Natural Metropolitano
    This gorgeous, 650-acre urban park is a great place to reconnect with nature. It's home to more than 200 species of birds, as well as sloths, monkeys and white-tailed deer. The hilltop mirador also offers a spectacular view of the city. A taxi from Casco Viejo will cost around $3-4. Entrance fees de
  • Catedral Metropolitana
    With its beautifully contrasting gray-and-black facade and white bell towers, this building is an excellent example of Latin American neoclassical architecture. The cathedral was first constructed in 1688, soon after Panama City's refounding. Many of the stones were taken directly from the ruined ol
  • Arco Chato (the flat arch)
    Something of an archaeological curiosity, the Arco Chato is a long, flat arch that sits inside the crumbling remains of the Church of Saint Dominic. The church was destroyed by fires twice in the 18th century. The stone arch remained standing. Legend has it that when western architects were touring
  • Baseball Games
    If you happen to visit during the winter baseball season, head up to Rod Carew Stadium to catch a game. Crowds are lively and beers cost a dollar. It's a fun place to spend an evening and a good way to connect with the local culture. The stadium is on the outskirts of town and a cab there should cos
  • Parque Nacional Soberania
    This park provides some of the area's best hiking and a chance to experience the tropical rainforest. This park is home to over 500 species of birds and a 100 species of mammals. Their most famous resident is the Harpy eagle, Panama's national bird and the world's largest bird of prey. The park is
  • Baha'i Temple
    High atop the breezy “Montaña del Dulce Canto,” this elegant dome is one of only eight Baha'i temples in the world. It's a bit out of the way, a taxi there can run as much as $10, but the temple is quite beautiful. As you might expect, the complex is filled with Baha'i writings and inform
  • Antiguo Club Union
    This ruin was once an elegant neoclassical building. It was constructed in 1917 as the posh Union Club. It was later transformed into an officer's club for the Panamanian army. Apparently, it was General Noriega's favorite hangout. This earned it the wrath of the US Army during the 1989 invasion, le
  • Tiger's Hand Bastion (Mano de Tigre)
    This crumbling ruin is one of the last remaining sections of Panama's 17th-century fortifications. As a historical site, it's not particularly impressive. As of July 2008, a homeless man was living on the only rampart. Historically or military-minded people will enjoy seeing how the old walls and mo
  • Iglesia la Merced
    This pretty church was constructed in 1680 after having been moved, stone by stone, from the previous site in Panama Viejo. It's a gorgeous facade, but the outside is nicer than the interior. Try and visit during the daytime, before the bright florescent lights come on and ruin the atmosphere. Less
  • Iglesia San Jose
    Although this church dates back to 1677, it has obviously bee restored. The interior feels quite polished and new. It's worth a visit to see the spectacular baroque golden altar. Apparently, the magnificent piece survived Henry Morgan's sack through the cunning of a priest. This quick thinking man p
  • Iglesia Compania de Jesus
    Iglesia Companía de Jesús is a beautiful old church which, as of July 2008, was locked up for restoration. It's still worth walking by the check out from the outside, however, and should be included as part of a walking tour of Casco Viejo.
  • Mi Pueblito
    A recreation of historical colonial and indigenous villages, Mi Pueblito is mainly popular among cruise ship passengers and domestic tourists. Some might call it a tourist trap, but history buffs should find the place interesting. Although it's not particularly impressive, it's worth at least a look
  • Iglesia Carmen
    This beautiful cathedral doesn't have the history of the cathedrals in Casco Viejo, but it is worth visiting to see the gorgeous stained-glass windows and the lovely mosaic behind the main altar. The entrance is on the east side of the cathedral, through the main offices. Just smile, say “Hola
  • Snorkeling
    There's good snorkeling all around Isla Colon, but the best locations are Hospital Point, Punta Maglar, and Crawl Cay. Most people interested in snorkeling end up signing up for a full-day boat trip which includes a visit to Dolphin Bay (where you can watch, but not swim with, the creatures), snorke