Celebrating 500 years since its foundation, in 2019 Panama City was designated Gastronomic Capital of the Americas. For many years, the country has been a treat for the food enthusiasts – particularly in September when Panama City holds Restaurant week. Panamanian cuisine is a mix of African, Spanish, and native American influences where dishes and ingredients, reflect our diverse and beautiful population.
Sometimes hot and spicy, the food is hearty with rice present at just about every meal. Seafood is excellent and abundant, especially along the Caribbean coast. The ceviche is superb, usually served with an ice-cold beer. Panama’s national dishes are a traditional chicken soup: sancocho de Gallina served with herbs, tamal de maiz (a type of polenta filled with meat), guacho de mariscos (seafood stew).
Casco Antiguo Food tours
One of the best ways to discover Panamanian cuisine is to eat and drink your way through Panama City’s historic Casco Antiguo district, the UNESCO World Heritage-listed old quarter, now home to some of the city’s hippest food and drink venues. Our tour includes a visit to a coffee roaster (here you can try a sample of the best coffee in the world: Geisha), a chocolate shop (sample a piece of organic chocolate from Bocas del Toro area), a rum house, a microbrewery, the seafood market (enjoy fresh and authentic ceviche), and a rooftop cocktail bar, sampling more culinary delights as you go.
If you have a long layover in Panama City International Airport, don’t stay bored inside some walls and get out and explore a city that offers a delightful combination of history, diversity, close national parks and cosmopolitan living.
Visit the spectacular colorful Biodiversity Museum design by Frank Gehry. Located in Amador Causeway it showcase Panama’s incredible biodiversity. This is a must and later take a biking ride along the Causeway. This is an ideal adventure if you are traveling with kids.
Visit the MAC: Contemporary Art Museum of Panama – The Museum of Contemporary Art, popularly called MAC, is the only museum of contemporary art that exists in Panama. It is a non-profit, non-governmental organization, which has legal status and its building is located on the Avenida de los Martyrs, San Blas Street, Ancón. There is always a show or unique exhibition for the local or Latin American artist. Book our Art Tour and get to know our local artists.
Go hiking, birding or wildlife observation in Metropolitan Park – Explore a tropical forest in the heart of Panama City on a tour through the Parque Natural Metropolitano and Ancon Hill. Watch for sloths, birds, monkeys, insects and tree frogs as you hike through the tropical rainforest, and learn the names for Panama’s native plants and animals. Take in sweeping views of the City from the lookout mirador, see flocks of birds erupt from the foliage and experience the tranquility of Panama City’s only wildlife refuge. You can join one of our rainforest adventures and discover why Panama is the Isthmus that changed the world.
Something very local: try a ceviche and local beer – if you want to experience the way of the locals, head to El Mercado del Marisco or stroll in Casco Viejo old colonial town where you will find beautiful shops, , and good restaurants. Our cuisine has received international recognition due to the new generation of young chefs that have raised the quality of our gastronomy by mixing hundreds of years of diversity. Book our gastronomy tour as we are the first tour operator offering this unique experience.
For the past 10 years, tourism in Panama has grown considerably, attracting more and more visitors around the world for its canal, but also for its marvelous environment. Located in Central America between Costa Rica and Colombia, and bordered on the north by the Caribbean Sea and on the south by the Pacific Ocean, the isthmus is a land bridge for an important number of mammals and bird’s species.
Nevertheless, the number of travelers to Panama is still relatively small compared with Costa Rica. But contrary to his neighbor, Panama still have plenty of treasures under-explored to discover. In fact, due to its unique geographical position, Panama provides paradisiac places, a variety of landscapes and an incredible biodiversity which offer travelers, an access to incredible adventures and sustainable experiences.
Home of an amazing ecosystem, Panama gives you the opportunity to discover a rich culture and unique nature. Our 10 best things to do in Panama:
Cultural exchange with local communities
With 7 indigenous communities around the country, Panama offers you the unique opportunity to share a cultural experience. Their traditional lifestyle and their close relationship with nature will impact your life forever. This authentic experience that everyone should live once in Panama, contributes at the same time to the conservation of these communities, their culture and empower their economies.
See the pygmy three-toed sloth in Escudo Island
Another reason why Panama should be your next destination is to see the pygmy three-toed sloth, also known as the monk sloth or dwarf sloth. This sloth can only be found in only one place in the world: National park Escudo Island, a small island off the coast of Panama, situated in the province of Veraguas.
With no official permanent residents on the island, you can have the incredible chance to see lots of them, but it remains very important to not feed them. Indeed, wild animals who depend on people for food can cause injuries or spread disease, but also increase the chances of fighting and injury among animals.
Snorkel or scuba dive in Gulf of Chiriqui
Humpback whales, sea turtles, dolphins, manta rays, orcas, whale sharks, tiger sharks, and many more marine mammals and animals can be seen while swimming there. With around 760 species of fish, the Gulf of Chiriqui is becoming one of the favorite places for scuba divers and snorkelers in Panama.
Panama Canal Transit
Impossible to miss one of the world’s greatest human-made marvels, the Panama Canal. To learn about this fantastic engineering, nothing better than experience a transit. During the transit aboard the Pacific Queen, enjoy the splendorous Bay of Panama and pass by the Miraflores Locks where you can watch the locks operate. Discover at the same time its history while following the most enormous cargos and cruise ships of the world!
Volcan Baru’s summit
Located in the highlands of Chiriquí, the impressive Baru Volcano’s worth the detour. Down from its 3 474 meters, this dormant volcano is the highest mountain of Panama and one of the only places in the world from where you can see at the same time, the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. Apart from the breath-taking panoramic views at the top of the volcano, this one is also surrounded by lush jungle, offering the chance, during your summit, to see different birds of Central America, and if you’re lucky, the resplendent quetzal. Adrenaline guaranteed for this extremely challenging trail.
Visit a coffee plantation in Boquete
Did you know the country is world famous for the Geisha Coffee? Actually, one of the rarest and most expensive coffees in the world comes from Panama. So, if you love coffee, Boquete must be one of the stops of your itinerary. Thanks to the volcanic ash situated in the soil of the region, local farms have found the best place for the coffee to grow up and make it so special. Visit one of the coffee plantations and learn about its process. There, you will maybe have the privilege to taste one of the most exquisite coffee in the world!
Surf in the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean
Although, if the Caribbean Sea or Pacific Coast is famed for its relaxing long white sand beaches with palm trees, it’s also the best place to surf and have fun with the waves. Unlike Costa Rica, Panama is still virgin and only a few people know about Panama’s surfing potential. El Palmar, Santa Catalina, Playa Vaneo, and many other beaches can provide you the best surfing spots of Central America. Surfers? You will love it!
Try on traditional Panamanian clothing: the Pollera
Panama is also the land of a rich culture. To not lose a crumb of Panama, we invite you to discover in Pedasi, the traditional Panamanian clothing: the Pollera. National dress of Panama worn by women for festivals or celebrations is also one of the most admired national costumes of the Americas. Handmade and very colorful, this traditional dress with Spanish colonial influences is the pride of all Panamanians. Men are well, have their own traditional costume they wear during festivities. Why not try it on to make you feel, for a moment, like a real Panamanian?!
Whale watching while migration season
Have you always dreamt to see whales? It is possible in Panama! In fact, humpback whales come to Panama every year, between July and October, to migrate and give birth, making the isthmus, one of the few places in the planet where you can see these majestic mammals. Many species of whales and dolphins can be found in Panama’s water during that period of the year, especially in the archipelago of the Pearl Islands, on the Pacific Coast.
Taste 5 typical dishes of Panama
Even if Panama is not known internationally for its cuisine, the food is however very tasty and diverse. Made with local and fresh ingredients, Panamanian cuisine is a mix of traditional cooking methods from diverse regions of Panama. Consequently, it’s very common to find dishes made from coconut, seafood, root vegetables, and tropical fruits along the Caribbean and Pacific coasts, but also root vegetables, starchy fruits, livestock, chicken, beans and rice, eaten everywhere in the country. Enough ingredients to make a variety of delicious typical Panamanian dishes. You can’t miss the Panamanian Ceviche!
There’s another side to Panama, just beyond the Panama Canal — dense biodiverse ecosystems like rainforests and islands. Sip pure coffee and enjoy amazing rivers and vibrant ingenious cultures. Let go of control and give Panama the wheel.
Despite its small size, Panama is one of the most biodiverse places in the world with more plant species than in all of Europe. In vast contrast to the modern lifestyle of Panama City, large parts of the countryside are to a large extent still undeveloped. Deep in the rainforests, hidden in the highlands and cast-away on tiny little islands, there are unique cultures in Panama, who keep their traditions and customs and some living in autonomous regions. On our academic programs you will dive into our cultures and explore our amazing Isthmus.
EcoCircuitos Tour Operator has been conducting academic travel programs in Panama since 2003 promoting Adventure, Conservation and Education with different international partners as Hannover College, who visited recently to learn about Panamanian music, folk craft, dance as they meet with artisans working to preserve the local culture in Guararé, Panamá.
The variety of outdoor and cultural activities provides endless possibilities to experience academic programs in panama. Nature lovers will find challenges on the various trails winding through mountains, rain forests, and indigenous communities. The spectacular coastline support an underwater ecology and a diverse landscape. While our unique cultural heritage will transport to ancient times. The most cosmopolitan capital in Central America will offer you a wide variety of attractions and the unique colonial neighborhood Casco Viejo.
For more information on our academic programs, please contact Annie Young at firstname.lastname@example.org
An unforgettable wildlife experience. Panama has not only abundance of fish but birds, reptiles, mammals and over 10,000 species of plants. On board, an expedition boat adjusts for only Photographic tours you will experience an amazing adventure where you will learn to use advanced camera equipment and return home with stunning photos. You will explore inlets and islands on this amazing adventure. For 4 people maximum.
EcoCircuitos Panama photo Expedition tour and adventures are specialized for photographers of all ability levels. From day tour Jungle boat expedition to multi-day photo safari, and more, our focus is on helping you take exceptional pictures of nature, local people and unique sceneries. Each journey is led by amazing naturalist guides specialize in the neotropical nature and by nature photographer. All our photography trips feature small groups to guarantee the best access and flexibility for amazing photo opportunities.
Take home amazing pictures of Panama’s rainforest and its inhabitants with a photography Jungle boat tour in Gatun Lake. We will be offering the equipment on board our vessel and our naturalist guide will lead you along the Lake and through diverse wildlife habitats. Capture all the details of incredible animals like crocodiles, birds, snakes, monkeys, sloths, and butterflies, plus delicate orchids and other tropical flora. This tour is for professionals and amateurs.
For more information on our day tour or multi-adventure photography expeditions please contact email@example.com
The LGBT community is becoming a very important niche market for the travel industry. The modern companies are investing more in this important consumer because is more eager to spend in high-quality hotels and services.
Panama is considered one of the most open-minded countries in Central America and EcoCircuitos as a company member IGLTA that offer unique travel programs for the LGBTI interested in discovering our Central America destination.
We at EcoCircuitos embrace the combination of Luxury and Sustainability, offering to all our clients meaningful and authentic experiences in Panama. “We combine quality service and expert advice with a premium selection in itineraries highlighting the best accommodations, unforgettable adventures and friendly local hosts“, says Annie Young Director and Partner.
This year PRIDE Panama will be featuring different events in Casco Viejo, the Old Quarters of Panama with unique activities to make visible the contributions of the LGBTI Population in Panama, the importance of guaranteeing their human rights and to join the World Commemoration of the disturbances caused by the abuse and homophobia in the Stonewall Discotheque in New York, in 1969.
I Love Panama Chocolate
The activities for the festival will start on Monday, June 25 and ends on Saturday, June 30, with the LGBTI Pride March from 4:00 pm in the V Centenario Park.
Join us for Pride in Panama and support diversity while discovering a unique and amazing destination. Contact us for details at firstname.lastname@example.org
True nature lover, I was chosen to work as an intern for 5 months in Ecocircuitos’ tour operator and it’s the first time for me in Panama. I’m French and I’ve never been further than Morocco. You can imagine how excited I was to know that I will discover a new land and such amazing country like Panama. And here I am!
A week ago, during my first week of internship, I had the opportunity to experience, with two other clients, the hiking tour at Soberania National Park in the company of the very competent and smiley naturalist guides of the company named Fabio.
It was once again my first exploration of a rainforest and it was amazing! This tour offers an incredible opportunity for wildlife observation and birdwatching. In fact, while we were walking just at the park’s entrance, it didn’t take long before we could hear birdsongs and feel the absolutely unique atmosphere of wilderness. I felt in another world for 2 hours. Beautiful and colorful birds but also huge butterflies were flying from time to time above our head. Every time we saw an animal or a bird, Fabio was there to tell us what kind of specimen it was and inform us more about it. We have even seen a baby anteater on the side of the trail. Actually, we were very lucky because it’s not common to see one so close. I have learned so much during this hiking tour and it wasn’t exhausting but mostly enjoyable.
After the exploration of the lush forest, Fabio explained that our adventure is not finished. We were heading to a jungle-adventure expedition across the Gatun Lake in the Panama Canal. Once aboard, we started the tour searching for more wildlife around the rainforest-covered islands. And we were lucky again because we could see monkeys having a nap on trees, many water birds, 2 big green iguanas, a sloth and a crocodile! Also, it was so impressive to see giant cargos on the canal transiting the waterway few meters away from us…I couldn’t believe that I was on the renowned Panama Canal that everybody talks about. I was thrilled!
That day was a very enriching experience thanks to these 2 different ways to discover nature and I felt very amazed by the considerable diversity of fauna and flora which offers Panama. I strongly recommend EcoCircuitos’ tours to everyone who loves ecotourism and want to visit Panama.
You are planning your trip to Panama and it is exciting! Below you will find some reading material that could help you plan your trip and do some research. Some of our reading recommendations include books about birds, wildlife, history, culture and more. Also if you would like to share some other books and articles with us, please feel free to send us an email at email@example.com
There are hundreds of wonderful destinations across the globe to travel to, but how on earth do you know which to choose? Travel Local selected 12 destinations to help you get your holiday daydreams on the track for 2018. And Panama is on the list for January!
January: Jazz Festival in Panama
Panama Jazz Festival 2016
Panama is a magical country, whichever way you look at it – endless
tropical beaches, exotic wildlife, and mountains covered in cloud forest
make it a dreamy holiday destination. In January, it comes alive in the
form of jazz! If you love music, you must visit at the beginning of the year
in order to get your toe tapping at the annual Jazz Festival in Panama
City, which will run from 15th – 18th January 2018. Since 2003, the
festival has attracted over 300,000 fans of this soul-stirring genre from
all over the world and is expecting 30,000 attendees in 2018. Mingle
with internationally acclaimed musicians and fellow fans in a vivacious
celebration – a perfect way to sample the lively Panamanian culture
before continuing on with your holiday, whether that involves sandy
sunbathing or seeking out sloths.
January in Panama is in the beginning of the dry season and therefore, the high season.
The diversity of Panama makes it a fantastic place to take a holiday.
When you visit, make the most of the varied opportunities – adventurous
travelers can delve deep into tropical cloud forest, encounter
indigenous peoples and explore the notorious jungles of the Darien.
Those looking more for relaxation can recline on sun-soaked sands with
the waves of the Caribbean sea lapping the shore. And, history-buffs,