Whether you are looking for shopping, day trips, or to explore the great outdoors, Panama has something for everyone. The following attractions are a fraction of the tourist attractions Panama has to offer:
1- Panama’s Tourist Attractions
Bocas Del Toro
Bocas del Toro has impressive scuba diving, hiking through the rainforest, and stunning beaches. This family-friendly town provides countless activities . You might consider snorkelling, zip lining, clubbing, sailing, or surfing. This town is ideal for beginners in any of the mentioned activities. You will also find shopping, great dining and transport to any number of nearby islands.
Coiba National Marine Park
Coiba National Marine Park has more than 800 marine life species and some of the best diving locations on the planet. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is 38 islands plus all the water that surrounds them. If you do not wish to scuba dive, you might also explore the region by kayak, boat, or snorkel. You will need a permit to enter the area as it is a protected region. Eco-tourism is at the cornerstone of the latest tourism movement in Panama.
The Panama Canal is one of the world’s greatest engineering accomplishments to date. You will be able to choose from many different tours each lasting between four and eight hours. If you do not want to explore the canal on water, you can visit the Miraflores Locks Museum. You can learn about its history and observe the vessels moving.
Santa Catalina is a surfers paradise. Those looking for posh all-inclusive hotels need not spend time in Santa Catalina. It has world-renown waves and is home to surf camps and budget-friendly hotels and dining. Those who do not need much in life other than good company and good waves look no further than Santa Catalina.
Sendero Los Quetzales
Panama has stunning jungle trails for people of all levels of experience. Sendero Los Quetzales is the ideal outdoor exploring trail for everyone. The trail is near the town of Cerro Punto. The trail is not well marked and officials recommend hiring a guide or joining a group. This will take anywhere from four to seven hours depending upon your pace. Again, it is best to use a guide.
2 – The Foodie Scene
You will not be lacking for a vibrant foodie scene in Panama. The foodies of the region are passionate about natural and organic products as well as supporting farm-to-table restaurants. You will find foodie clubs and bloggers who are changing the way people eat in Panama.
Many of the best restaurants in Panama City dedicate themselves to sustainability. They do this by restoring old spaces for their restaurants, grow their own food and buying local. Because the country is becoming quite diverse, you will be able to discover a fusion scene. Do not forget to try reputable street vendors for the most authentic Panamanian foodie experience.
3 – Fun and Interesting Facts about Panama
- You can see both the sun rise over the Atlantic ocean and the sun set over the Pacific
- Panama was the first Latin American country to adopt the US Dollar.
- US Senator John McCain, and former Presidential candidate, was born in Panama. He was born in the zone that was US territory at the time.
- Panama City is the only capital city in the world that has a rainforest within its city limits.
- Wildlife consists of both North and South American species making it the most diversified eco system in the world.
- It is uncommon for Panama to have earthquakes or hurricanes.
4- Public National Holidays
A public holiday is a “Día Feriado” in Spanish. If a national holiday is on a Sunday in Panama, the following Monday will be off from work . Not all businesses will close on national holiday, but government offices and banks will always close.
- 1 January – New Year’s Day
- 9 January – Martyr’s Day
- 28 February – Carnival / Shrove (varies from year to year)
- 14 April – Good Friday (varies from year to year)
- 1 May – May Day / Labor Day
- 3 November – Independence from Colombia Day
- 5 November – Colon Patriotic Day – only celebrated in Colon
- 10 November – First Cry for Independence
- 28 November – Independence from Spain
- 8 December – Mothers’ Day
- 24 December – Christmas Eve – ½ Day
- 25 December – Christmas
- 31 December – New Year’s Eve – ½ Day
Please note that many local, bank, and seasonal holidays exist that may interrupt travel plans and business activities.
5 – Safety
While Panama is the safest country in Central America, it is not without safety concerns just like anywhere in the world. In the city of Colon, it is often advised to use caution when traveling throughout the city. This is also true for certain parts of Panama City. Always exercise good judgment when you travel, particularly in tourist areas.
Be mindful of your country’s travel warnings. Be careful of the area just past Yaviza to the Colombian border where drug traffickers and Colombian guerrilla groups are present.
6 – Emergency Numbers
- National Police – Tel: 104
- Fire – Tel: 103
- Tourist Police – Tel: 511 9260
- National Tourism Authority Hotline – Tel: 178
- Crime Victim Assistance – Tel: 262 1973 / 512 2222
- Directory Enquiries – Tel: 102
- Public Ambulance – Tel: 911
- Alerta SA – Tel: 263 4522
- Emi – Tel: 236 6060
- SEMM Panama City (366 0100) Colon (474 1600)
- Vive – Tel: 279 3100
7 – Primary Hospitals and Medical Facilities In Case of Emergency
You will be able to find 24-hour pharmacies in El Rey supermarkets located throughout Panama City.
- Centro Medico Paitilla: Services include emergency hospitalization and ICU, maternity, oncology, physical therapy and clinical laboratory, radiology and imagery, and surgery. Address: Avenida Balboa and Calle 53 in Marbella, Tel: 265 8800
- Clinica Einstein: Services include full medical and health services. Walk-ins are welcome. Doctors are typically fluent in English, however admin workers may only speak Spanish. Address: Via Argentina, next to Arrocha, Tel: 264 7110
- Clinica Hospital San Fernando: Services include blood bank, diagnostic and cardiovascular, pediatric and adult care for emergencies, pulmonology and allergist, radiology and imagery. Address: Via España next to McDonalds, Tel: 305 6300
- El Santuario Clinic: Services include a free clinic featuring a variety of medical and health services. The staff includes medical professionals and students of the International School of Medical Services. At: Avenida Rumph in the Howard Air Base ar
- Hospital Nacional: Services include full medical and health services such as emergency, genetic center and cardiology, laboratory, pharmacy, and physical therapy. Address: Avenida Cuba, between Calle 38 and Calle 39, Tel: 207 8100 / 306 3300
- Hospital Punta Pacifica: Hospital is managed by Johns Hopkins Hospital in the US and quite popular with travelers and foreign residents. Services include clinical laboratory, emergency, endoscopy, maternity, preventative medicine, radiology, and surgical packages. Address: Boulevard Pacifica and Via Punta Darien next to the Multicentro mall, Tel: 204 8000
- Panama Medical Association: Doctors are typically fluent in English, however admin workers may only speak Spanish. Address: Avenida Manuel Espinosa Batista, Bella Vista., Tel: 223 5555