11 Places You Have to See in Panama

11 Places You Have to See in Panama

From my section “Places you Have to See” I would like to present to you Places You have to See in Panama. Panama is for me one of the most underestimated countries in Latin America and maybe even the world. To be honest, before I arrived in Panama for the first time, I knew nothing about this amazing country. I only knew Panama due to the children’s book “Oh wie schön ist Panama/ A trip to Panama” from the author Janosh. But then from the first moment I set foot on Panamanian ground I fell in love with this incredibly beautiful place. From stunning beaches, paradise islands, buzzing cities, mayestic Jungles and mountains, this country has despite its rather small size a lot to offer. And due to all these amazing things to see in Panama, it became one of my favourite countries in Latin America.

Here the list of 11 Places You have to See in Panama

1. San Blas Islands

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The San Blas islands are maybe even the best place to visit in Panama and maybe even one of the best places to visit in entire Latin America. If you like stunning beaches with white sand and crystal clear water this is a must-see spot. I personally didn’t know about the San Blas islands before I arrived in Panama I just saw a picture in a hostel in Panama City and asked the owner where the picture was taken. He advised me that these were the San Blas islands an archipelago consisting of several islands that stretches as far as to the coast of Colombia. You can book at tour and stay on some of the islands in beautiful cabanas. You will get a real Robinson Crusoe feeling. The Kuna Yala an indigenous trip administrates the islands and inhabits a few of them. If you can`t afford to go to the Maldives in an expensive resort, visit the San Blas islands. You can either stay in one of the cabanas or you can even camp on some of the islands. Some of the cabanas are more luxurious and some less and on most of them electricity will only be available shortly after dawn.

Things to do on the San Blas islands

  • Snorkeling
  • Volleyball
  • Relax

Check out the Cabañas of San Blas on Tripadvisor or book on booking.com

Cabañas Coco Blanco

Check the latest prices on booking.com

Cabañas Aroma

Check the latest prices on booking.com

You can also enjoy a stay on a Catamaran

2. Bocas del Toro


bocas_del_toro_archipelago bocas_del_toro_isla_de_bastimentos

Another beautiful archichpelago is Bocas del Toro. The main island with its capital city is called Isla Colona. This place with its beautiful beaches attracts a lot of backpackes as well as surfers as there can be found some great surf spots. Some of the beaches are the Red Frog beach on Isla Bastimentos, Boca Del Drago about 30 kilometres from Bocas town and Playa Bluff which is about half an hour away from Bocas town. In Bocas del Toro you also have a great nightlife with Reggae Music and typical Carribean vibes. This is another place you definitely have to visit when in Panama. In case you want to proceed to Costa Rica book yourself a transport and head over to the border to Costa Rica.

Things to do in Bocas del Toro

  • Go surfing
  • Island hopping
  • Relax at the beach
  • Party

Where to stay in Bocas del Toro? These are some of the best hostels/hotels in Boca del Toro

Isla Solarte

Bambuda Lodge Check the latest prices on booking.com | Hostelworld.com

Isla Bastimentos

Palmar Beach Lodge Check the latest prices on booking.com | Hostelworld.com

Isla Colon

Panama’s Paradise Saigoncito’s Check the latest prices on booking.com | Hostelworld.com


3. Panama City



When I see people posting in Forums or groups on Facebook I notice that Panama City does not have the best reputation as people say it is dirty and dangerous. I cannot not share this opinion at all as for me this is one of the most exciting big cities in Latin America. There is plenty to do and some parts of the city are extremely beautiful. Also it is great for shopping. You should definitely visit the Seafood market buy some fish or seafood and let one of the small restaurants there prepare it for you. Also when you heading along the promenade in the direction of the Panama Channel there are amazing Reggae Dancehall parties on the parking spots where people play loud music in their SUVs and people sell grilled meat skewers (Chuzoz/Pinchos)

Things to do in Panama City

  • Visit Panama Viejo
  • Visit Casco Viejo
  • Walk or bike the Cinta Costera
  • Visit the Panama Canal
  • Go shopping in Albrook Mall
  • Eat Ceviche or buy fish at the Mercado de mariscos

Where to stay in Panama City? These are the best hostels and hotels in Panama City

Magnolia Inn

Prices: Dormitories from 14,96 Euro

Check the latest prices on booking.com | Hostelworld.com

The Magnolia Inn is located in the heart of Casco Viejo Panamas historical city centre. The location is great and rooms are clean and comfortable. You will also have access to a great spacious kitchen.

Hostel Villa Vento Surf

Prices: Dormitories from 14,68 Euro

Check the latest prices on Hostelworld.com

In this Hostel you can arrange your sailing trips to San Blas or Cartagena (Colombia). It has a swimming pool, Foosball table and a nice lounge. The staff is super friendly and helpful.


4. Panama Canal


Foto by Lyn Gateley on flickr.com

This is something you shouldn’t miss out on when in Panama. Maybe for some it doesn’t sound very interesting but in fact the area around the Panama channel is very beautiful to and it is a part of history.

5. Gulf of Chiriquí

In this gulf are dozens of islands islands on which you can find beautiful beaches and unspoiled nature. Here you can see whales throughout the year. The humpback whales give birth in the protected waters of protected waters of the Coiba National Park. The region is also famous area for fishing. Bocas del Toro is basically also a part of it but there are more islands that are not included in the Bocas archipelago like the Islas Secas.


6. La Miel


la_miel_panama La Miel

La Miel is a small village (pueblo) that borders with Colombia. The beach there is incredibly beautiful and surrounded by Jungle. You can either access La Miel coming from Sapzurro in Colombia by foot or you can take a boat from Puerto Obaldia.

Unfortunately, there is no accommodation available at least not that Im aware of but you can stay in Spazurro or Capurgana in Colombia

Best place to stay

Sapzurro Hilltop Sapzurro

Prices: Dorms from 9,00 Euro

Check the latest prices on Hostelworld.com

Located in front of the Sapzurro bay and a cute little sandy beach. From there you can easily cross the border by foot to La Miel


7. Boquete


Foto by Michael McCullough flickr.com


This mountain town in the western part of Panama offers some beautiful nature and wildlife. Many tourists and backpackers come here to plan their hike to the Baru Volcano or go for a tour to a coffee farm. Here you can go hiking and enjoy some great food in the land of coffee and flowers.

Things to do in Boquete

  • Visit a coffee farm
  • Eat some great food
  • Visit Paradise Gardens
  • Visit Mi Jardine es su Jardin
  • Hike the nearby Volcano Baru
  • Visit the Caldera Hot Springs
  • Learn Spanish

Where to stay in Boquete? These are some of the best Hostels/Hotels in Boquete

Hostal Gaia

Prices: Dorms from 15,07 Euro

Check the latest prices on booking.com | Hostelworld.com

Very nice atmosphere with plenty of tourist information available. The Hostel is quiet and just two blocks from the central Plaza. Apart from that it is clean and has a very well equipped kitchen.

Spanish by the River

Prices: Dorms from 11,30 Euro Private Double Room 32,96 Euro

Check the latest prices on booking.com | Hostelworld.com

Very cute and clean hostel just a few meters from a bakery, restaurants and ATM. Staff is very friendly. And as the name says you can take Spanish classes here.


8. Santa Catalina


Foto by dronepicr flickr.com

Santa Catalina is a small fishing village that is just a perfect place to chill. This place is unspoiled and authentic and has some amazing beaches. The primary beaches are Playa Santa Catalina and Playa Estero, both beaches are covered with black sand. Also this place is known to be a great surf spot. If you don’t like surfing you can also go fishing or Scuba Diving

Things to do in Santa Catalina

  • Surfing
  • Scuba Diving
  • Fishing
  • Chilling

Where to stay in Santa Catalina? These are the best Hostels/Hotels in Santa Catalina

Hostel Villa Vento Surf

Prices: Dorms from 14,13 Euro

Check the latest prices on Hostelworld.com

This place has a pool and a great lounge and they also sell beer for 1 Dollar. It`s a clean place with a great atmosphere and very friendly staff. You can also book sailing trip to Cartagena and San Blas.


9. Volcan Baru


Foto by Dennis Binzen flickr.com
Foto by Nancy flickr.com

The Volcan Baru or Volcan de Chiriqui how it is also called due to its location in the Chriqui province is an active volcano and with 3,475 metres the highest mountain in Panama. On a very clear day you might be able to see the Caribbean Sea as well as the Pacific Ocean from the top. You can hike up the Volcano but be aware that it is no easy hike.

Want to book a Tour? Book a Tour with Aviator


10. Pearl Islands

Pearl islands (Archipiélago de las Perlas) is another archipelago consisting of about 200 islands located a few miles off the Pacific Coast of Panama. The most know island is the Contadora island where many wealthy Panamanians own homes. Another important island is the Isla del Rey the second biggest island in Panama after Coiba. You can explore the island by boat and enjoy some beautiful beaches.

What to do on the Pearl Islands?

  • Whale watching
  • Scuba Diving
  • Snorkelling
  • Kayaking
  • Sunbathing

Where to stay on the Pearl Islands?

Contadora Island Inn

Check the latest prices on booking.com

Villa Condes del Mar

Check the latest prices on booking.com


11. El Valle de Anton


Foto by Brian Gratwicke flickr.com
Foto by eric molina flickr.com

El Valle de Anton is a pueblo (village) in the Cocle’ province in Panama. Geologists say that El Valle is located in a crater of an extinct Volcano. The place is very beautiful and laidback with lots of things to do in the nearby areas. Here you can visit some beautiful waterfalls like the Chorro El Macho or the Chorro Las Mosas or go bird watching.

Things to do in El Valle de Anton

  • Bird Watching
  • Visit the artisan and vegetable market
  • Visit Butterfly Haven
  • Canopying
  • Visit a waterfall
  • Go hiking, biking or horseback riding
  • Visit La Piedra Pintada
  • Visit the hot springs

Best Hostel in El Valle de Anton

Bodhi Hostel & Lounge

Prices: Dormitory 14,14 Euro Private Room 33,94 Euro

Check the latest prices on booking.com | Hostelworld.com

Most of the furniture in this beautiful Hostel is handmade with recycled products. the facilities are clean and the staff is helpful and friendly.

Also check:

18 Places You Have to See in Colombia

13 Places You Have to See in Bolivia



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