Sitting between the chilled-out Caribbean and the Pacific swells and nestled within a verdant rainforest, the adventures never end in Panama!
Located in Central America, Panama is considered the Bridge of the Americas because of its ubiquitous canal that shortens the sailing distances in the Americas by weeks!
In the jungle, the nighty jungle…Panama City doesn’t sleep!
Panama City is located within the confines of a tropical rainforest, so remember to pack your rain jacket!
Here’s a Pro-Tip: The currency used in Panama is the US Dollar which makes currency exchange a breeze!
Tocumen International Airport is about a 25-minute drive from Panama City. Making your way to the city is quite easy with taxi or ride-share. There is also the option to take the local bus or a Pineapple Shuttle, which departs three times daily and visits some of the local hostels. Whether you stay at these hostels or not, you can catch the ride.
The tropical beaches, interesting history and an abundance of wildlife make Panama a destination that is jam-packed with adventure. Here are my favourite things to do while visiting:
The Panama Canal is a Man-Made Wonder of the World
Casco Viejo – This quaint and romantic historic district of Panama was once run by gangs. It has since been widely rejuvenated and today is best known for its quality restaurants, exciting nightlife and colourful colonial buildings. Here are some things to seek out while you stroll through the cobblestoned streets:
- The Cathedral of Panama City
- Handmade traditional crafts
- Panama’s signature chocolate
- The Church of San Jose
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Bocas del Toro – With a relaxed atmosphere, this Caribbean Province of Panama is perhaps the second most famous tourist destination in the country (behind the Panama Canal). The archipelago is made up of nine islands and is an amazing place to reconnect through a yoga class or enjoy locales like Starfish Beach or Red Frog Beach. Water taxis can take you from island to island. To reach Bocas del Toro, you can either fly from Panama City or take a bus to a boat. The flight is significantly faster, of course!
A meal amongst nature!
Additionally, shrimp and chicken are found in many traditional dishes such as Ceviche and Sancocho. In general, the fruits are abundant, and the seafood is fresh.
Here is where I recommend dining while in Panama:
- Food Trucks – Most of the food trucks can be found in the Panama City neighbourhood of San Francisco serving up everything from pizza to traditional Caribbean Panamanian food.
- Mercado de Mariscos – The city fish market and seafood utopia with over 70 stalls offering the freshest fish ready to eat.
- Maito – A gourmet dining experience with a menu that expertly mixes a plethora of international flavours using homegrown organic herbs. The atmosphere is delightful.
It is not hard to find something to do after watching the sunset. Rooftop bars are a popular experience and always a good time. The national alcoholic drink of Panama is Seco Herrerano, made from distilled sugarcane, however, it is mostly found in rural areas. Ron Abuelo is a locally produced rum and quite popular although beer is easily the most prominent beverage consumed. From all-night dancing to enjoying a cold one on the beach, here are my favourite places to stop for a drink in Panama:
- Tantalo – Located in Casco Viejo atop the Tantalo Boutique Hotel, this is perhaps the most popular of the many rooftop bars.
- Danilo’s Jazz Club – An intimate club featuring a combination of talented international jazz artists. Located in the lovely American Trade Hotel.
- Casa Bruja – The first Panamanian brewery, great beer selection and food menu. Yep, there’s a rooftop, too!
It’s always rooftop season here!
Here are my recommendations of where to stay while visiting Panama:
- Central Hotel Panama – Located in a converted colonial building conveniently located in the centre of Casco Viejo.
- Hotel Casa Panama – With a restaurant, bar and nightclub, this modern stay is always a good time.
- Hacienda del Mar – This gem can be found on Pearl Islands, which are known for their stunning resorts. A stylish stay consisting of 17 cabanas offering incredible views and white sand beaches.
Panama is a gorgeous tropical paradise with an abundance of life, from the rainforests to the sea to the smiling residents. It reminds me of the bounty that is always around us!