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Panama

Panama is a country in Central America, bordered by Costa Rica to the west, Colombia to the southeast, the Caribbean Sea to the north, and the Pacific Ocean to the south. It is renowned for the Panama Canal, an engineering marvel that connects the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, significantly influencing global trade routes.

The country boasts a rich biodiversity and varied landscapes, from tropical beaches to mountains, making it a popular destination for eco-tourism and adventure travel.

Places to visit

Day plans

Spend a day exploring around

day 1

Exploring Panama City

morning:Start your day with a visit to the Panama Canal, a marvel of engineering and a symbol of Panama's history. Take a guided tour to learn more about the canal's operations. In the morning, enjoy a traditional breakfast at Manolo Caracol, known for its delicious local dishes.

afternoon:Head to the Casco Viejo, the historic district of Panama City. Wander through its charming streets, colorful colonial buildings, and visit the Panama Viejo ruins. For lunch, try the ceviche at TĂĄntalo Kitchen, a rooftop restaurant offering stunning views of the city.

evening:Spend the evening at the rooftop bar at Tantalo Hotel for panoramic views of the city and a lively atmosphere. Enjoy craft cocktails and local snacks as you unwind and take in the sunset.

day 2

Nature and Wildlife

morning:Embark on a boat tour of the Gatun Lake to explore the rich biodiversity of the Panama Canal watershed. Keep an eye out for monkeys, sloths, and countless bird species. For breakfast, try the empanadas at Café Coca Cola, a local favorite that has been serving authentic Panamanian cuisine for decades.

afternoon:Visit the SoberanĂ­a National Park for a guided nature walk through its lush rainforest and learn about the diverse flora and fauna. Stop for lunch at Gamboa Rainforest Resort, where you can enjoy a scenic view of the Chagres River.

evening:For a unique evening experience, take a nocturnal wildlife tour in the rainforest. Led by expert guides, this tour allows you to spot nocturnal creatures such as frogs, snakes, and insects in their natural habitat.

day 3

Beach and Surfing Adventure

morning:Head to Santa Catalina, a charming beach town with world-class surfing spots. Start your morning with a surfing lesson at Playa Santa Catalina, known for its consistent waves. After the lesson, grab a hearty breakfast at Oasis Surf Camp, known for its fresh fruit smoothies and burritos.

afternoon:Spend the afternoon relaxing on the beach, sunbathing, or exploring the town's laid-back atmosphere. You can also opt for snorkeling or diving at Coiba National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Grab lunch at Mamma Eker's, a cozy restaurant with a focus on local seafood dishes.

evening:Head to the beachfront El Pargo Rojo for a delightful seafood dinner while enjoying the sunset. After dinner, join a beach bonfire with locals and fellow travelers for a memorable evening under the stars.

day 4

Cultural Immersion and Cuisine Experience

morning:Start your day with a visit to the Biomuseo, a museum dedicated to Panama's biodiversity and environmental heritage. Explore its interactive exhibits and learn about the country's natural wealth. For breakfast, visit Café Unido for a delightful cup of Panamanian coffee and fresh pastries.

afternoon:Experience the vibrant culture of Panama by visiting the Mercado de Mariscos, a bustling seafood market where you can taste the freshest ceviche and seafood dishes. Explore the nearby Casco Viejo and its art galleries, boutiques, and historic landmarks. Head to El Trapiche for a traditional Panamanian lunch with a variety of local dishes.

evening:Savor the evening at Diablicos, where you can enjoy traditional Panamanian folklore music and dance performances while sampling local cuisine and cocktails. Immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere and vibrant traditions of Panama.

Panama Famous Food

Must-Try local dishes

Sancocho

A hearty chicken soup with vegetables and herbs, often served with rice. It is a popular comfort food, usually enjoyed with a side of Panamanian corn tortillas.

Must-Try!

Ceviche

A refreshing dish made from raw fish marinated in lime juice, mixed with onions, bell peppers, and cilantro. It is commonly served as a light and zesty appetizer.

Ropa Vieja

Shredded beef simmered in a savory tomato-based sauce, often accompanied by rice, beans, and fried plantains. This dish showcases the influence of Spanish culinary traditions in Panama.

Food Markets & Street Food

A food market and street food guide

Mercado de Mariscos

Located in Panama City, this bustling seafood market offers a wide variety of fresh catches, including ceviche and fried fish. Visitors can savor authentic local flavors and immerse themselves in the vibrant atmosphere of this market.

Casco Viejo Street Food

Exploring the historic streets of Casco Viejo presents an opportunity to indulge in traditional Panamanian street food such as empanadas, tamales, and carimañolas. These delectable treats can be found in the numerous food stalls and carts scattered throughout the area.

Dietary Restrictions

Navigating dietary restrictions locally

Vegetarian and Vegan Options

While Panamanian cuisine heavily features seafood and meat, many restaurants and cafes offer substantial vegetarian and vegan dishes. Urban centers like Panama City host a growing number of establishments dedicated to plant-based cuisine, ensuring diverse and flavorful options for non-meat eaters.

Vegetarian, Vegan

Gluten-Free Choices

Travelers with gluten sensitivities can find gluten-free alternatives in several restaurants and cafes, particularly those with a focus on health-conscious menus. Additionally, specialized stores in urban areas provide a range of gluten-free products to accommodate dietary needs.

Gluten-Free

Restaurants & Cafés

Best places to eat and drink in Panama

Donde José

Situated in Casco Viejo, this restaurant offers a unique dining experience with a constantly evolving tasting menu that highlights local ingredients and traditional flavors. The ambiance and creativity of the dishes make it a must-visit for food enthusiasts.

Diablo Rosso

A creative cafe and art space that serves artisanal coffee, refreshing beverages, and a delectable selection of light bites. It's an ideal spot to unwind and appreciate Panama's thriving art scene while enjoying a cup of expertly crafted coffee.

Things to do in Panama

Unique local experiences...

Popular cities in Panama

Explore local food, attractions and more!

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