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There are innumerable possibilities to explore though as you are planning a trip into Panama. It is surrounded by sea and there are terrific beach destinations as well as islands on both the Pacific and the Caribbean coast. The interior of the country has vivid mountainous areas with coffee plantations, a plethora of wildlife, and some exhilarating hiking routes. Other attractions in Panama include spectacular small towns, awe-inspiring waterfalls, and a myriad of natural wonders. There is an opportunity to soak in the daily life of a big metropolitan city in Panama too. So, if you are planning a trip to Panama, here are a couple of ideas that you have to try out while you are in the country.
Panama City is the capital of Panama. You have to visit Panama one way or the other when you are entering Panama. This is an all-around metropolitan atmosphere. There are quite some attractions to see and a general city-life ambiance to enjoy while you are here. The Panama Canal in Panama City is the most famous place to go to while you are visiting Panama. It connects the Atlantic Ocean on the eastern side to the Pacific Ocean on the west. When you see a humongous ship cruise through this narrow pass from one giant ocean to the other, then only can you fathom the sheer brilliance and ingenuity that went behind the construction of the Panama Canal. If you want a more detailed outlook of the Panama Canal, the best way for you would be to take a boat ride through it. Traveling about 25 minutes away from downtown Panama City you’d come to Miraflores Locks. This is the best point to see the canal from the 5-storeyed visitors center over there. It also houses a small museum that you can walk through if you have the time.
Another interesting place that you have to visit while you are in Panama City is Casco Viejo or the Old Town. You’d be surrounded by history recreated or preserved as you graze through the narrow streets. There are a plethora of brightly colored buildings and historic ruins that look down upon the dazzling bay. This is a small area and you can look through all the attractions while strolling through the Old Town. As evening falls, the buildings are lit up in vibrant, bright lights with restaurants and cafes setting up chairs and tables on the sidewalks. There are also many boutique hotels in this region crafted into restored buildings from the 18th and 19th centuries.
Bocas del Toro
On the Caribbean side of this nation, the major beach to visit is Bocas del Toro.it is very near to the border that Panama shares with Costa Rica and has excellent soft beaches washed by azure-hued waters. The climate is tropical and you will find an overall relaxed atmosphere throughout this area. The beach is a storehouse of water-based activities which includes swimming in the vast ocean, diving, and surfing. You might also choose to laze around under the brightly shining sun. The activities are available at very affordable prices.
The main part of Bocas del toro is simply called Bocas Town, situated on Isla Colon. There isn't much to do in the town and there aren't many beaches either. However, as you walk around the island, you will find the most alluring stretches of sand throughout the island and you could even take boat rides to nearby islands. Bluff Beach, Red Frog Beach, and Starfish Beach are some of the most famous ones that you ought to visit while enjoying a stay in this amazing place.
You could enter Bocas del Toro through the airport situated in Isla Colon. You could enter this region through roadways too- you'd need to travel for about 3.5 hours through the mountains from Boquete into Almirante, wherein you will find numerous boats willing to take you to the island.
If you are looking for a place to get away from even the numerous tourists that crowd Panama, Sunset Coast would be your best bet. It is nestled along the Pacific Ocean side of the country and one of the few places in Panama that offer a magnificent sunset view into the Pacific Ocean. It is a fairly undiscovered and unexplored area with numerous small towns allowing you to find easy lodging in small lodges and inns. Most of the visitors in this region are from Panama allowing you to completely get away from the daily crowd. The setting is mostly rural with farmlands, nearby hills, and immense expanses of beaches lined by palm forests. This is also a great place for surfers to enjoy the lofty waves of the Pacific in solitude.
Since the climate in Panama is most coastal and tropical, it often gets unbearably hot and stuffy! The town of Boquete is set amongst the mountains and thus offers a much-needed respite from the sultry climate of the nation. It is a safe, relaxed town that is often visited by the people of Panama as a weekend getaway, and the people from the northern regions during the winter months.
Boquete holds many excellent restaurants along with a plethora of impressive hotels and luxurious inns. The climate favors coffee plantations and this place is an important region for coffee cultivation in Panama. The area also offers favorable climatic conditions that attract much wildlife allowing visitors to enjoy a relaxing hiking expedition. Many birds frequent the forests in Boquete creating great birding opportunities. While you are in Boquete you should take one of the tours through a coffee plantation. A vehicle is very useful to explore Boquete since it allows you to easily be transported to nearby mountainous destinations.
There are a 15 miles long magical trail in Boquete- it is also one of the best short drive routes in the nation. You'd find many trailheads, waterfalls, a brilliant river, and even an old, desolate castle while traveling through the roue. You will also get stunning views of Volcan Baru as you ride through this route. The Finca Lerida Lodge on this route is an excellent haunt among tourists, especially if you are fond of birding. You might also arrange a hike up Volcan Baru, through the popular Quetzal Trail, or up the many beautiful waterfalls to be found in this region.
San Blas Islands
If you want to go completely off the radar into a highly adventurous journey, San Blas Island would be a great place for you. Have you ever seen the picture of a heavenly beach on a postcard? Well, that is exactly what San Blas Island has in offer for you- white beaches lined by palm trees and lapped by the crystal clear, turquoise water of the ocean. A sailboat charter would be one of the most luxurious ways to explore this gorgeous island. The captain knows some of the unbelievably magnificent spots throughout this island and makes stops in these regions. You could choose your cruise duration on the beautiful luxury catamarans between 3 and 21 days. The package also includes food and beverages allowing you to experience some amazing moments such as dining under the starlit sky. If you are low on a budget there are more economical options available. The best deal would be to book a package from the indigenous Guna people which includes somewhat rustic accommodations, three basic meals every day, and trips around the island. You have to be a Robinson Crusoe to enjoy the beauty of this island and have to be mentally and physically prepared to take on all the challenges that this off-the-grid trip is going to offer!
Parque Nacional Coiba
Isla Coiba is a part of Santa Catalina and is now known as the Coiba National Park or the Parque Nacional Coiba. This is a lush green island and is regarded as a biodiversity hotspot. Almost 200 different species of birds along with other fauna such as turtles, snakes, and crocodiles are extensively found in this region. Even scuba diving activities are very famous in this region due to diverse marine life including whale sharks who regularly come to this area.
While you come to visit Parque Nacional Coiba, you should also explore the surrounding Santa Catalina. It is one of the most terrific places in Panama to go on adventurous surfing expeditions on the Pacific Ocean. The town has an overall laid-back ambiance and is a great place to relax and forget about the rest of the world. Funky restaurants and impressive hotels have a charming effect on you that does in fact slow time down for you! You could also go snorkeling or scuba-diving in nearby places if you are not that fond of surfing.
Los Cangilones is a short distance away from and downhill of Boquete. The lower elevation makes the weather over here much warmer and you will find fun, party scenes around the area during hot days. Panamanians flock to this place to relax in the cool river waters while songs are being played, barbecues are set up, and numerous food vendors sell their wares. This is a unique geographical location wherein the river first narrows down and forms a gorge and then opens up into a shallow pool. People of all ages jump down from the walls surrounding this place to take a dip into the cool water by diving. You might just wade through the shallow waters near the gorge's mouth if you are looking for something milder. Entering the park would require a small fee but it is worth it!
Playa Coronado is another impressive beach destination to hit in Panama. You will find miles-long golden and black sand beaches in Playa Coronado. The water has a greyish-greenish tinge in this region and is not entirely blue. The larger waves in the sea could be dangerous and anybody swimming should be very cautious. There are many beachfront hotels and BnBs in the region allowing you to enjoy relaxing beach times. You should however remember that Playa Coronado is one of the hottest destinations in Panama and temperatures could get very intense during the dry seasons.
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