Top 10 Sights in Panama

“No cell phone reception, no Internet connection, no TV – bad mood? No – the best conditions for a successful vacation.” (Helmu Glaßl)

If you really want to escape the usual stress once,for example, a vacation in Panama is worthwhile. There, the natural features alone are so extensive and overwhelming that you will hardly miss the technology. You will probably be much more grateful that you are not permanently confronted with it for a certain time. However, so that you do not aimlessly traverse the country, the following are the ten best sights to be presented.

 The top 10 sights in Panama 

1. The San Blas Islands

These islands are characterized by blue water, pure white sand and especially tall palm trees. You can also marvel at corals as well as diverse fish, shells and crabs during a diving trip here. Since roads and electricity are sparse in this area, the place is particularly suitable to come to rest. The best way to get there is by sailboat or small motorboat. The island has been inhabited for many centuries by the “Guna people”, who are always hospitable to visitors. As a rule, these people wear so-called molas, clothes with rectangular motif images sewn by hand.

Sunset on San Blas Islands

2. Santa Catalina

This village, which in total consists of only two streets along the Pacific coast, is known for good waves that attract surfers in particular. The green jungle and an enchanting underwater world are features of the Gulf of Chiquiri. Likewise, you can walk on Playa Estero, a very long and dark sand beach. From the beach it is possible to glimpse Isla Santa Catalina which can be reached by canoe. If you like to eat seafood or fish, Chano’s Point or the rustic open-air restaurant El Encuentro invite you to dine. You will also find particularly sweet pineapples here. As a water lover, you will find among other things in surf stores, dive stores or snorkel stores.

3. The Panama Canal

As the Panama Canal, which connects the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, is considered a very impressive and significant construction, it is worth taking a detour to see it. During a boat trip you can pass the canal between four and eight hours, depending on the size of the ship. You can get more information about the canal construction at the Miraflores Locks Museum. From there it is also possible to perceive from the outside how the ships cross the canal. The entire canal has a length of 82 kilometers with the approach channels. In Lago Gatún, a part of the Panama Canal, animals such as crocodiles, monkeys or birds live.

A ship sails into the Panama Canal

4. Calzada de Amador

By road, this causeway is connected to the islands Flamenco, Colebra, Perico and Noas . Many stores and restaurants enliven Amador Causeway. The street is much used by walkers, joggers, inline skaters and cyclists. So you can rent a bike if needed. Furthermore, there is a hall on site that is suitable for large events, so specific programs are often offered. There is also the possibility to see a tropical marine institute, namely the “Marine Exhibition Center of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI)”. If you want to cross over to the Isla Taboga, a recreational area, you will also encounter a church there, considered the second oldest in the Western Hemisphere.

5. Bocas del Toro

The overall Caribbean ambience and at the same time inexpensive area impresses most visitors. A marine national park characterizes Isla Bastimentos, which allows sea lovers to get their money’s worth. Likewise, people who want to sunbathe as well as surfers benefit from this group of islands. This is because the main attractions include surfing, diving, snorkeling and boat tours. If you want to walk a bit through the rainforest, with a little luck you will encounter a sandy beach that you can use just for yourself.

6. Fortress port of Portobelo

After Columbus discovered the bay in 1502 and called it a “beautiful port”, it was protected by fortresses in the following years. Ruins of the castle Santiago de la Gloria are still left; also the Casa Fuerte de Santiago, the bastion San Jerónimo and the Iglesia San Felipe can be visited. On October 21 each year, they celebrate a festival there that honors the Black Christ : a figure of Jesus made of black wood.

7. Panama City

Fromthe colonial quarter Casco Viejo there are memorable views of the bay. In numerous restaurants, bars, clubs, boutiques and hotels, you can party extensively at will, both during the day and at night. From Ancon Hill it is particularly good to look out over the city. A highlight is the largest skyline in all of Central America, which is located here. Furthermore, it is possible to see the Palacio de las Garzas, that is, the presidential palace. In addition, the ruins of Panama Viejo indicate a first settlement, which, however, succumbed to the destruction of Henry Morgan. The Franc de Assisi Church, the Metropolitan Park, which should interest nature lovers, and a visit to the Puente de las Américas, the supreme court, round out the visit.

Beach in Panama City
People buy slushies at a stand in Old Panama City

8. Tropical island Coiba 

As Coiba is known as the largest island in Central America, it is riddled with immense biodiversity both zoologically and botanically. This is especially true for the life under water. Comparable in this context are at most the Galápagos Islands. Therefore, snorkelers and divers in particular get their money’s worth when they take a closer look at the shore waters. Likewise, walkers on the beach or boaters can enjoy the diversity. Sometimes, for example, turtles or whales are encountered. Although the island used to function as a prison camp, this crystallized as a positive effect the preservation and dissemination of the natural phenomena that exist there.

View of La Coiba National Park

9. National Park Darién

This area borders Colombia and has remained largely free of human impact despite past attempts to colonize the area. For this reason, the area is one of the rainforest areas that are still characterized by particularly high species richness, with 2440 plant species alone. Small mountains and hills are covered by very dense jungle, the coasts are dotted with mangrove trees. Only sandy beaches or lagoons interrupt the stringing together of these plants. But also the fauna is amazing with almost 170 species of mammals, over 500 species of birds, almost 100 species of reptiles, almost 80 species of amphibians and 50 species of fish.

10th  Small town of Boquete and Quetzal Trail 

This town is home to the quetzal, a bird that is both the namesake of the national currency and a national symbol in northern Guatemala. The hiking trail Sendero de los Quetzales connects two valleys located near the Río Caldera . With a little luck, you will encounter a quetzal there. Also, in the national park you will find Volcano Barú, which is inactive but is designated as the highest mountain in Panama.

Oh how beautiful is Panama…

As you may have noticed, this vacation destination with all its sights is especially right for you if you are interested inthe fauna and flora, as well as nature in general. Even more ideal is the visit for you if you are a water lover and like to explore on and under the water. With this in mind, have a great stay in Panama!

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