How to Enjoy the Holiday Season in Panama

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The holidays are here, and in Panama, that means a full month of celebrations all over the country. There are religious traditions, secular ones, and everything in between. December in Panama is a time to enjoy local culture, family, nature, and of course, good food and drinks. While December is best known for Christmas celebrations in Panama, it’s also the beginning of high season for tourism. This means that even if you’re not into the holiday spirit, you’ll find it’s the best time of year to visit Panama. Here are some of our recommendations on how to enjoy it the most.

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Take a Tour of Monkey Island

One of the most unique adventures you can have near Panama city is a tour of what’s commonly known as “Monkey Island.” This island gets its name (obviously) from the fact that it’s inhabited by thousands of monkeys, coming from a variety of species here in Panama. The island is uninhabited by humans, but tour companies offer afternoon trips that let you get up close and personal with its furry inhabitants. It’s easy to get to, fun for all ages, and a great way to learn about Panama’s wild animal population, and get a 1st-person view all at the same time.

See the Christmas Lights in the City

Each December, the city government goes above and beyond to create a festive space in Panama City’s parks and plazas with elaborate lighting and props. Check out Parque Urraca, Calle 50, and the three main plazas (Herrera, Francia, Catedral) in Casco Viejo for the best Christmas light experience. In each space, thousands of LED lights adorn trees, statues, and ornamental stars, creating an atmosphere that’s both festive and aesthetically pleasing. Bring the kids and bring your camera!

Visit Boquete

While Panama is a tropical country and largely has just a tropical climate, Boquete is a bit of an exception. Nestled high in the western mountains of Chiriqui, December is the best time of year to visit this cute mountain town. It has the feeling of a European village during Christmas (minus the snow), with crisp weather, lots of natural excursions to take part in. There’s a very small-town holiday spirit that goes on in Boquete, making it the perfect place to go for the holidays if you’re not a city person, and want an authentic, quiet, Panama mountain experience.

Party in Casco!

Casco Viejo (or Casco Antiguo, as it’s sometimes called) is the city’s go-to destination for tourism. This is particularly the case when it comes to dining, nightlife, and sightseeing. The holiday season is jam-packed with nightlife events, and is pretty much the premier neighborhood for both Christmas and New Years celebrations. Pick from any of Casco’s dozens of top restaurants, hop in and out of its cafes and ice cream parlors, and go grab a happy hour beer at one of its many rooftop bars. You can easily spend an whole weekend enjoying Casco’s nightlife without even seeing it all, so pace yourself, and make sure to avoid driving, as traffic is a nightmare year-round, but especially during the holidays.

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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