Panama tours offer experiences rich in cultural diversity as it is in landscapes and wildlife. While the beaches are idyllic and boast nearly 1,600 miles of coastline along both the Pacific and Caribbean, the country has much more than white sands, coral reefs and coconut trees.
From rainforests, jungles and foggy cloud forests, to mountain highlands, mangrove swamps and even a desert, Panama offers up an ideal multi-destination vacation for most any style of traveler.
Panama as we know it today dates back to the 16th century and its role as a Colonial trading port, but indigenous peoples (who still happily live in the country today alongside Chinese, Arab, Jewish, European and even retired U.S. expats) predate its storied past. It is this dichotomy of old and new that makes Panama such an appealing destination for so many. There are amazing art galleries, restaurants, museums, festivals, spas and more, but there also are adventure opportunities, including rock climbing, white water rafting, surfing, diving and more. Want to be immersed in local culture? Visit the Kuna tribe to experience their intricately hand sewn Molas or the Wounaan or Embera tribes for their woven baskets.
Alive with the beat of history yet contemporary and cosmopolitan, Panama City is the capital and largest city in country offering a wide array of activities, including the iconic Panama Canal and easy access to day trips to places including Gatun Lake, Metropolitan National Park, the Share Embera tribe and the ruins of the Colonial Old City. If you’d like an alternate view of the Canal, “Panama’s Second City” of Colon provides a new vantage point and the second largest duty free port in the world. Even better than shopping, Colon is a UNESCO designated site and provides the same easy access to day trips as Panama City but with less of the hustle and bustle.
There are several Caribbean island archipelagos to visit while in Panama, including the unspoiled San Blas (where the Kuna people live), the notorious ex-pirate hangout Pearl Islands, and the immensely charming and popular Bocas del Toro, where you’ll quickly find it’s best to leave those pesky shoes behind and discover barefoot luxury. Across the country, you’ll find the Pacific Beaches. These get less rain than their Caribbean sisters, have a generally better infrastructure yet remain a fraction of the cost. Although we recommend visitors check out the ruins of Panama Viejo or Pedasi while on the Pacific Beaches, their proximity to Panama City also make them an easy day trip.
If you’re looking for something a bit more traditional, we recommend the completely isolated interior areas of Coclé and the Azuero Peninsula, where visitors will experience a folkloric pace of life that allows for true enjoyment of the national drink (produced on the peninsula), the local sea turtle nesting ground and some time to reconnect with loved ones— and with yourself. Farther south, visitors will find every possible landscape packed into one pretty small region. Untouched and remote, Chiriqui, including Volcan Baru, David and Boquete, is believed to be one of the most important ecological areas in all of Central America— from its highlands to its pristine shoreline— and it’s waiting to be discovered by you.
Once you’ve taken in all Panama has to offer, you may become an expat too!
Call our trip designers at 800.772.9188 to explore our suggested Panama tours today, and begin personalizing your extraordinary journey to Panama with our private guides in private cars.
Good Things to Know If You Are Touring Panama
None for U.S. citizens
3 months beyond date of arrival
Panamanian Balboa (PAB) and USD
Yellow fever for travelers entering from countries with endemic yellow fever (this applies to multi-destination trips even for U.S. citizens)
Regions to Visit When Going on a VIP tour of Panama
- Bocas del Toro
- Cocle & The Azuero Peninsula
- Pacific Beaches
- Panama City
- Pearl Islands
- San Blas Island