Panama is still quite away from the tourist trail, as most backpackers prefer to visit Costa Rica or Guatemala. But that’s what makes Panama interesting, the fact that most of its highlights are located off the beaten path. And you’ll either love or hate the country or parts of it…there isn’t a middle way. Accessible even to those on a low budget, Panama offers beaches, mountains and rain forests.
- Fly into and out of Panama City
- Stay in budget hotels or hostels
- Use public transportation to get around. Alternatively, you can rent a car.
Day 1-3 Panama City
Arrive in Panama City, check in and get used to the surroundings. With a camera in hand explore the area close to the hotel, stopping for a bite to eat.
On the second day, explore Casco Viejo, strategically built on a peninsula after the pirates devastated the original town, Panama Viejo.
On the third day, take a trip to Panama Canal and learn about this masterpiece. And also, go to nearby Soberanía National Park, a tropical rainforest known for its diversity.
Alternatively, you can catch the scenic train along the historical trans-isthmus route to Colón. Skip the city, but go outside of it and visit the ruins of Fuerte San Lorenzo and Fort Portobelo.
Other things to do in Panama City include shopping , visiting Iglesia de San Jose and seeing the city from above.
>>book a cheap hostel in Panama City
Day 4 -6 David and Boquete
Catch a flight into David , then drive or take a bus to Boquete. Plan to take a tour of one of the coffee farms in the area.
The climate in Boquete is considered almost perfect and you can often hear people refer to the area as the valley of eternal spring.
The next day, plan to go hiking in the area around Barú Volcano, known for the incredible number of birds. You can also try mountain biking or just relax in the hot springs.
Day 7-9 Bocas del Toro
Travel to Bocas del Toro and enjoy the beach. Get to island Bastimentos and have fun ziplining in the forest. You can also plan to spend a day in Zapatilla, with its two islands known for the snorkeling and scuba diving opportunities. You can also hike in the forest.
>>book a cheap hostel in Bocas del Toro
Day 10 Panama City
Fly back to Panama City and catch the flight home.
>>read more about how to get from Bocas del Toro to Panama City