Explore Panama by Boat: Here are four great ways to get started!

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If you’ve been to Panama, or have been researching a trip or move to Panama, you know that this country is all about the water. Panama is an isthmus that has shores on the Caribbean and Pacific Ocean for the entirety of the nation, and its culture (and businesses) have flourished because of it. Living near and loving the sea is part of the charm of Panama, and most of the country enjoys this immensely. They also take advantage of it. Panamanians, expats, and visitors alike, love to enjoy Panama’s beaches, lakes, rivers, and waterways.

They also love boats! So much so, in fact, that you can see pretty much the whole country via waterways, and get a once-in-a-lifetime perspective of this beautiful tropical country, all without touching land. Here are four of our favorite ways to enjoy Panama by boat:

1. Take a Panama Canal Boat Tour.

A great way to live a piece of real Panama history, is to see the Panama Canal by boat. The Canal stretches the entirety of Panama (at that longitude) and connects the Pacific to the Caribbean. There are many types of tours available, including 1-hour nature tours in Lake Gatun, 3-hour short tours up parts of the Canal, and 8-hour full Canal traversing tours. There are options for ferries, private yachts, and even sailing tours. Each one with a unique perspective, and pricing.

2. Sail through San Blas.

The San Blas Islands are some of the most pristine, beautiful, and picturesque in all of the Caribbean. There are over 400 in the archipelago, most of which are uninhabited. The islands are populated by the Kuna Yala indigenous people, who are very welcoming to respectful visitors, and share their islands with many small sailing tours, and catamaran companies. You can pay for a space on a sailboat to tour the islands for a few days, do a day trip on a catamaran, or go all out and sail with a group through the islands, all the way to Cartagena, Colombia.

3. Whale watching in the Pearl Islands.

Nothing is quite as majestic as seeing a whale up close in its natural habitat, and the Pearl Islands are famous for this. Just a 1.5-hour ferry ride from Panama City, the picture perfect Pearl Islands are truly a gem when it comes to sea life. You can hire a whale watching tour that will take you from the islands into the Pacific to watch these incredible animals, as well as provide lunch, drinks, and snacks back on the shore. Feeling adventurous? Charter a sailboat from Panama City directly, and get a more private glance at what people rave so much about.

4. Skip the hotel, and stay on a boat in Bocas del Toro.

The archipelago of Bocas del Toro is so boat friendly, that taxis are on the water, people live in their own islands, and yes, you can live or stay on a boat. There are a number of houseboats stationed in and around the islands, but one of the most popular (and fun) ways of enjoying your stay there is to stay on a sail boat. Much like a small hotel, you can stay a few nights docked, and in the water touring the islands. It’s not just a great way to see a lot of Bocas, but also a fun, and unique way to spend your stay, rather than a hotel of apartment.

About Manoj Chatlani

Manoj Chatlani is a Senior Partner at POLS Attorneys, a full-service law firm in Panama City, Panama. Specializing in offshore services, including asset protection, estate planning, offshore banking, and offshore corporations, as well as Panama immigration and real estate transactions, POLS Attorneys offers clients a streamlined solution to all their Panama legal needs. Manoj is a Panamanian lawyer and holds a law degree from USMA and earned a Masters in Communication Law and Panama Tax law.

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