Perfect 2-Weeks Panama Travel Itinerary
If you are traveling through Central America, chances are you will get to Panama. Here's our perfect 2-weeks itinerary which will help you plan out your perfect holiday and discover the best places such as Panama City, El Valle de Anton, Boquete, and Bocas del Toro.
We noticed that people traveling to Panama usually do not intend to visit only this Central American country, but they often plan to stop by only for a few days and then continue to Colombia or Costa Rica, because for some reason or another, Panama is often overlooked as a separate travel destination, although it has plenty to offer in terms of fauna and flora.
We visited Panama for two weeks, after we finished our travels around South America, and felt, that the time we allowed ourselves to stay in the country was enough to see all the highlights and to get the real picture about the life in the country.
Panama has quite a lot of interesting places, but probably misses the true shining stars like Machu Picchu in Peru or Salt Flats in Bolivia, that's why we think 2 weeks are enough to explore the country and see the best what Panama has to offer without getting bored and without seeing the same things all over again.
DAY 1 - 3: PANAMA CITY
Chances are, that your first destination will be the capital, Panama City. If you are crossing borders from Costa Rica, follow our itinerary from the bottom.
Tocumen International Airport is quite far from Panama City, but you can take Uber or taxi. The official taxi cost around $30 while Uber is almost 50% cheaper.
We enjoyed Panama City a lot, to be honest, we think it is the nicest capital city in South and Central America with plenty of things to do, and it is easy to stay there even longer than three days.
On your first day, you can stroll around the UNESCO historic center Casco Viejo, or visit Panama Viejo, a place which once used to be the center of newly build country.
The second day can be devoted to visiting one of the most visited technical attraction in the world, the Panama Canal and later in the afternoon you can climb the hill to get a panoramic view of the modern skyscrapers or enjoy the seaside walk.
On the last day, you will have time to head to Soberania National Park, thanks to its proximity to the capital, one of the most visited national parks in Panama. To visit the park, it is best to rent a car or take a tour.
If you plan on traveling to Colombia from Panama, you can take a tour from Panama City via San Blas Islands to Cartagena. This boat trip takes five days but visiting San Blas Islands (you can do it as well as an overnight tour starting and ending in Panama City) is for sure one of the nicest things you can do in Panama, For us, this trip was above our budget, plus we were planning on visiting another Panama's beach paradise, Bocas del Toro.
DAY 4 - 6: EL VALLE DE ANTON
After three days in the bustling city, you might want to escape it all, and thanks to the fact that Panama is not a large country, it is easier than you think. One of the best destinations to visit in Panama when looking for outdoor or adventurous activities is a small town only two and a half hours away from Panama City, El Valle de Anton. There are numerous top things to do in El Valle de Anton, a town located in volcano crater which will keep you busy for three or more days.
You can go hiking to admire the lush green hills and the crater from above you can enjoy hot pools, waterfalls, butterflies gardens and much more.
El Valle de Anton is not a sleepy town as you might imagine, it is busy especially on weekends when locals from Panama City arrive, so book your accommodation in advance. That's being said this place still keeps its countryside charm.
DAY 7 - 10 BOQUETE
Boquete is a must-visit place in Panama, that's why you will meet a large number of backpackers here. Boquete is also a trendy place where American elderly come to retire, so there is plenty of American owned hotels and restaurants, which increase prices.
The main reason why to visit Boquete is climbing Panama's highest mountain for sunrise, Baru Volcano, but you can also choose from a number of hikes in the cloud forest, look for an elusive Quetzal bird, do water rafting or visit coffee plantation, because Boquete is a premium destination for all coffee lovers.
DAY 11 - 14 BOCAS DEL TORO
Our last stop on our Panama itinerary was tropical paradise, Bocas del Toro, a remote archipelago on the Carribean side of the country, where we spent four days by biking around, doing island-hopping, relaxing on the beach and eating lots of fruits. Bocas del Toro is the perfect destination if you want to recharge your batteries in a tropical paradise.
From Bocas del Toro, you can either cross borders to Costa Rica, or you can fly to your next destination - there is a small airport on Colon Island.
CURRENCY IN PANAMA
Good news, US dollars are the official currency in Panama altogether with Panamanian Balboas.
The Balboa has been tied to the United States dollar at an exchange rate of 1:1. In reality, you pay with USD - the banknotes are the same, but it can happen that you will get back coins which can be either USD or Balboas. Make sure to get rid off all the Balboas before leaving the country, as you can't pay with them anywhere else except in Panama.
SAFETY IN PANAMA
Panama is a safe country, but as usual, when traveling, you should use your common sense, especially in bigger cities. It happened to us once in Panama City when we wanted to get to the viewpoint overlooking the city that a policeman stopped us and told us we should not walk through this neighborhood because it is very likely that someone will rob us.
Always ask locals about the current situation and never take any risks.
HOW TO GET AROUND PANAMA
It is very common to rent a car in Central America, and if you are on a strict itinerary, you might consider this option as it is more comfortable and less stressful than to rely on local public transport.
WHAT WE SKIPPED
If you have more time in Panama, you can consider visiting, for example, Santa Fe, a village between El Valle de Anton and Boquete or if you are looking for more ultimate adventure, you can contact one of many travel agencies in Panama City and take a guided multi-day tour to Panama's jungle wilderness, Darien Province.
TRAVEL INSURANCE - SIMPLE & FLEXIBLE
We never leave our home without travel insurance which is designed to help cover your expenses if something goes wrong on your trip.
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