Waterfalls, Beach Bliss and Cultural Marvels: In Panamá, You Can Have It All2 min read

Central America is known for its endless waterfalls, pristine beaches and rich cultural experiences, making it the perfect destination for a vacation. While Costa Rica is often the first choice for many, have you ever considered Panamá? 

Costa Rica may be renowned for its untamed wildlife, natural beauty and outdoor activities, but Panamá offers the same attractions along with better infrastructure, better accessibility and arguably more beautiful beaches… not to mention it’s one of Central America’s largest cultural hubs.

When You First Arrive

Fly into Panamá City and experience one of Central America’s primary cultural hubs, teeming with the best shopping, markets, restaurants and museums. Spend a night in Casco Antiguo (also known as Casco Viejo), the historic district at the heart of Panamá City, to explore the ancient cobblestone streets and enjoy the vibrant nightlife scene.

Before moving on to your next destination, tour the Panamá Canal and hike around Metropolitan National Park, the city’s only wildlife preserve, with viewpoints overlooking the entire city.

Explore the Wild Side

Panamá is renowned for its lush natural spaces, with jungles covering nearly 40% of the country. The charming mountain town of Boquete, situated in the western part of the country near the Costa Rican border, is right in the heart of this natural beauty. 

Nestled in a small valley surrounded by the Chiriquí Highlands, Boquete is home to coffee plantations and Barú Volcano National Park. Highlights of the park include the towering Barú Volcano and Los Quetzales Trail, which connects Boquete to the town of Cerro Punta. Embark on its famous 9.6-kilometer hike with a guide to fully appreciate the rainforest’s breathtaking beauty and, if you’re lucky, catch a sighting of the elusive Quetzal—the most mythical and colorful bird in the region, easiest to observe in the Chiriquí province than anywhere else in its Central American range.

Relax on the Powder-White Sands

Before returning to Panamá City, explore Panamá’s diverse beaches and islands. Visit the San Blas Islands on the northern Caribbean coast—an idyllic paradise with powdery white sands, swaying palm trees and crystal blue waters. These islands are easy to reach; they’re just a short flight from Panamá City. But there are also many other beaches on the southern Pacific coast, from volcanic sand beaches to surf spots like Santa Catalina.

Panamá vs. Costa Rica?

If you’re torn between Panamá and Costa Rica, consider that while Costa Rica is a nature lover’s paradise, Panamá offers a balanced blend of extraordinary natural adventures, world-class beaches and culturally rich historical attractions and activities. You can spend days exploring centuries of history in Panamá City, take in the breathtaking beauty of the Chiriquí Highlands or get away from it all in the San Blas Islands. With all that and more, you can’t go wrong in Panamá.


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