Five Things to See With Just One Week in Panama




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Panama has a lot to offer for visitors, and in a way, this could be a problem if you’ve only got a limited time to spend here. With so much to do in see in such a small country, you’ll be overwhelmed if you try to see it all on your first try. Of course, we recommend multiple trips to Panama, both long and short, but we realize that’s not feasible for everyone. So, in order to get the most out of your one-week trip, here are the five things we recommend to see.

1. Miraflores Locks, Panama Canal:

To traverse the Canal from end to end will take a whole day, but you can fit a trip to the most exciting part into your itinerary in just about 2 hours total. Get a taxi from the city to the visitor’s center and Canal museum, and watch as the ships rise and fall with the world’s most impressive maritime engineering feat. If you partner this with another city tour or two in the same day, you can get a lot out of the rest of your time in Panama.

2. Casco Viejo:

Much like the Miraflores Locks, you can partner up a visit here with another few tours all in one day, and not miss anything. If that seems a bit fast paced for you, separate a half day for Casco and enjoy walking the brick-ladened colonial streets at a leisure pace. You can stop into a variety of world-class cafes, restaurants, and art galleries, and even do some boutique shopping. No car is required to get around, and every taxi, tour bus, or Uber in town knows how to get there.

3. El Valle de Anton:

With just a week in Panama, we recommend to explore outside of the city a bit, and El Valle is perfect for those on a time budget. It’s about 2.5 hours drive away from Panama’s capital, and is a great place to spend the night, or even do a long day. Here you’ll find crisp mountain air, lots of outdoor activities, a zoo, some amazing tropical waterfalls, and some fun, quaint cafes and restaurants in the village.

4. Playa Blanca/Farallon:

The white sand beaches of Playa Blanca have been a hit with visitors for years, but many don’t realize how close they are to the city, and all the beach fun you can pack into just a day, or even a weekend. There are many big resorts in Playa Blanca, but if you want an awesome day on the beach without spending all the cash, or having the amenities of a resort, head over to Farallon. Farallon is the village that lies right in the middle of all the resorts, and has an amazing beach that can be accessed for free, or with a small fee if you want to rent an umbrella or a bohio from one of the local beach clubs.

5. Gamboa/Lake Gatun:

This area is at the heart of the Panama Canal, and is one of Panama’s most lush, diverse tropical rainforests and jungles. Here you can explore the lake and jungle by guided boat tour, offered by a number of tour groups and lodges/hotels in the area. It’s a 30-minute drive from the center of the city, and you can pack a full day or lazy afternoon’s worth of nature fun and learning, or stay a night or two out in the wilderness.

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