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Things to do in Panama City

Thanks to its ideal location, this Central American city boasts both tropical escapes and cultural highlights.

Our most recommended things to do in Panama City

Panama City: 4-Day Island Hopping San Blas Adventure

1. Panama City: 4-Day Island Hopping San Blas Adventure

Discover what local life is like in San Blas on this 4-days island hopping tour. Get to know the beautiful islands of this Central American paradise, and enjoy the white sand beaches and turquoise ocean. You may choose the standard transportation option which allows for a maximum of 6 passengers per vehicle, or choose the upgraded transport option to travel in a little more comfort with a maximum of 4 passengers per vehicle. Day 1 Pickup from selected hotels in Panama City begins at 5:20 AM. After pickup, you will stop by a supermarket in case you want to buy snacks or drinks. Then, head to the San Blas hills. The journey takes about 2.5 hours and is followed by a 30-minute boat ride to Ina island where you will sleep and have lunch and dinner. Pay a visit to a natural swimming pool and explore the pool on a paddle board. Visit the island in front of Ucusubi to go snorkeling and sample some fresh local lobster for dinner during lobster season. Day 2 After breakfast, visit a local Guna community and learn about this tribe's culture and rich history. Next, take a hiking tour in the San Blas jungle up to a waterfall. As you hike, pass a local cemetery, and spot monkeys, sloths, many birds, and iguanas. Come back to Ina Island for lunch and then take your boat to the 2nD Island Aguja. Relax and discover this island at your own pace. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are included. Day 3 After breakfast, take a boat to Perro Chico island where you will sleep. You will first visit Perro Grande Island where you can kayak all around and visit another natural swimming pool. Once in Perro Chico, take your snorkel gear and visit the sunken boat which is just in front of the island and full of tiny colored fishes. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are included. Day 4 After breakfast, take a boat back to Panama City. Breakfast is included.

Panama: All-Inclusive Taboga Island Catamaran Cruise

2. Panama: All-Inclusive Taboga Island Catamaran Cruise

Explore the serene waters of Panama on an all-inclusive day tour on a catamaran. Dive into the water for a refreshing swim before moving to the Island of Taboga to soak in the breathtaking views of the Panama City skyline, Cinta Costera, and enjoy a delicious lunch. After reaching Taboga, sail to the backside of the island to a secret spot where an amazing bay with beautiful natural views is waiting for you. Have the opportunity to jump off the boat and have your first swim. There is also stair access from the boat to the water in case you don't feel like diving right in. After some water fun, climb back into the boat to enjoy a cold beer and lie in the boat's nets or dance with the crew while you sail towards the town side of the island. Dock so you can head to the beach and visit the small village of Taboga. Spend time on the beach relaxing or getting a game of volleyball in. After your beach and town visit, hop back aboard for a delicious lunch that includes chicken with veggies, parsley rice, vegetable salad, potato salad, and oleo pasta. If the wind conditions are right, open the sails and continue the party as you cruise along the open water.

Panama City: Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing Bus

3. Panama City: Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing Bus

See Panama City from the top deck of an open top tour bus. New to the city, the tour takes you to all the major attractions of the Panama capital. Set amidst the Pacific Ocean, the rainforest and Panama Canal, Panama City is a striking modern city, not least because of its unique attractions. The tour is designed to ensure that you see all main attractions beginning with the World famous Panama Canal. Learn about the construction of this 8th wonder of the world with a live guide. The bus also travels to the colonial city of Casco Antiguo, as it is known in Spanish. Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, it boasts wonderful colonial Spanish and Italian architecture. Panama also has splendid examples of French architecture, due to the French presence during the last decade of the 19th century when the French attempted to build the canal. Visit the islands that are connected by a Causeway. From here you will experience great views of the Panama Canal entrance and the Bridge of the Americas, as well as stunning views of the Panama City skyline and skyscrapers. On the way to the islands, and at the entrance of the Causeway, is the amazing Frank Gehry-designed Bio-Museum. Also known as the "Bridge of Life," it explains how Panama rises from the seas and links North with South America. As well as taking in Panama´s key places of historical interest, the city has a vibrant outdoor scene with several cafés, which are a delight to hop-off and linger at. You can visit areas where you will find restaurants and bars that cater for all palates, as well as shopping areas like the Albrook Mall, which boasts brands from around the world, sometimes sold at bargain prices. Tour stops: 1. Balboa Boutiques Plaza 2. Parque Urraca 3. Mi Pueblito 4. Albrook Mall 5. Miraflores Locks - Canal 6. Entrada de Amador 7. Biomuseum 8. Punta Culebra 9. Isla Flamenco 10. Isla Perico 11. Sabores Del Chorrillo 12. Casco Antiguo 13. Multicentro

Panama City: Half Day City and Panama Canal Tour

4. Panama City: Half Day City and Panama Canal Tour

Enjoy 2 hours at the fascinating Panama Canal before exploring Panama City's history and sights. Discover 4 levels of exhibitions about the Canal at the Miraflores Visitor Center.  Take a panoramic drive along the Ancon foothills where you can take in the lush greenery and learn about the area's importance during the world wars. Stop at the Amador Causeway for a chance to get some incredible photos of the city, try one of its best ceviche places, have some amazing homemade ice cream, or do some shopping. Walk through the streets of the Old Town and visit the Cathedral Basilica Santa Maria la Antigua. Take a guided walk, ending in the Plaza de Francia on the old walls that protected the city from invasion over the years.

From Panama City: Panama Canal and Monkey Island Tour

5. From Panama City: Panama Canal and Monkey Island Tour

Spend half a day exploring the Panama Canal while learning about its history and creation. See the famed Miraflores Locks in action and take a scenic boat ride on the Chagres River. Get picked up at your hotel or other location in Panama City, and journey to the Panama Canal Visitors Center for a detailed explanation about how the canal and famous Miraflores Locks work. Visit the museum to learn more about this important water passage between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Drive by Miraflores Lake and the Pedro Miguel Locks as you make your way to the Chagres River. Climb aboard for a scenic boat trip across artificial Gatun Lake. Marvel at the surrounding landscape of the biggest and most important lake in the Panama Canal. Watch as large ships pass through the canal to get a sense of the magnitude of this masterpiece of engineering. Arrive at a group of islands to see different species of animals and monkeys. Return to Panama City and get dropped off at your hotel.

Panama City: Money Heist and San Blas Islands Day Trip

6. Panama City: Money Heist and San Blas Islands Day Trip

Be collected from your accommodation in Panama City to start the day trip. Drive 2.5 hours to San Blas Port, Carti, and then take a local Panga boat to the first of the San Blas islands. First arrive at Pelicano Island, made famous by the Netflix series Money Heist. Enjoy a light breakfast of fresh fruit and coffee and take some time to sunbathe with hammocks. Towels will be provided. Then take the paddleboards and your snorkel gear and go paddle to Ucubusi Island where you will find one of the best reefs to snorkel in San Blas. Discover a variety of colorful fish species. Afterward, enjoy a lunch of fresh fish, rice, and salad. After lunch, head to the natural swimming pool. Chill out on a bank of sand in the middle of the ocean where you can walk or swim around to find your starfish. Finally, visit a local community where you will see how the locals live. You can try the coconut bread made on the island, and see how molas are made by the grandmas on the island. Sail back towards the port and return to Panama City in the evening. 

From Panama City: Gamboa Rainforest Guided Tour with Lunch

7. From Panama City: Gamboa Rainforest Guided Tour with Lunch

Explore the Panamanian rain forest while gliding smoothly through treetops on an aerial tram. Learn the jungle's most interesting facts from a naturalist guide. Watch colorful birds flying around you.  Take a boat ride through the Panama Canal, observing marine life. End your tour with a delicious lunch. Board a tram bound for a 280-feet peak surrounded by leafy jungle. While going up to the observation tower, enjoy fabulous views of the Chagres River, the Embera indigenous community, and much of the Soberania National Park. Gamboa is home to many natural labs including a butterfly farm, an orchids center, and a frog pond. See around 20 species of butterflies native to Panama at the Butterfly House. Get up close to the sloths at the Sloth Sanctuary. This sanctuary hosts a rehabilitation and training program for injured, sick, and orphaned sloths. Enjoy a scenic boat tour along the Panama Canal's waterways. Observe the fascinating tropical wildlife of Gatun Lake and the surrounding forest. Get a chance to spot crocodiles, caimans, sloths, monkeys, and a host of birds with the help of your guide.

From Panama: 3-Day San Blas Islands Tour

8. From Panama: 3-Day San Blas Islands Tour

Enjoy a unique adventure in the San Blas Islands. Swim in crystal-clear natural pools, admire the blue ocean, and visit islands including Ucusidup, Pelican, Aguja, Perro grande, and Perro Chico on this multi-day trip. After getting picked up from your hotel in Panama, begin your adventure with a boat ride to the islands. Stay in a private cabin on Pelican Island (where scenes from the 3rd series of the Netflix series Money Heist were filmed). Paddle boards are available for your use. Take a paddle board and head out to a tiny island called Ucusubi which has one of the best spots for snorkeling in San Blas. On the 2nd day after breakfast, visit a Guna Community, and experience daily life at a school and health center. Afterward, continue to the Guna jungle, crossing the Sidra or Masargandi River. Make a stop along the way at the Rio Sidra Community Cemetery and learn more about its history from your guide. Along the way, admire colorful butterflies, various bird species, and with a bit of luck, maybe even some toucans. After a 40-minute hike, reach the beautiful Saiba Waterfall where you can dive and soak in the waters of this crystal-clear natural wonder. Then take your boat to the 2nd Island, Aguja. Explore the scenic sandy beaches and sleep in a private 2-person hut. On your final day, after breakfast, your guide Naidi will pick you up early in the morning. Take a tour to snorkel in the sunken boat at Perro Chico island, and explore Perro grande island with kayaks and paddle boards. After lunch, say goodbye to the islands and arrive at your hotel around 6 PM.

Panama City: 1-Night San Blas Islands in Sea Huts

9. Panama City: 1-Night San Blas Islands in Sea Huts

Spend a full day and night on the San Blas Islands: swim, kayak, and paddle out on the water and overnight in a bungalow on the beach. San Blas is an indigenous zone, so prepare for a rustic time. There’s no hot water, Wi-Fi, electricity, or other amenities, so you’ll spend 2 days experiencing what life is like for the Gunas. On the morning of Day 1, you’ll be picked up at 5:20 AM from the lobby of your Panama City hotel and taken on a 2.5-hour trip by 4WD over the San Blas hills up to Port Tupile. From there, take a typical Guna boat on a 30-minute ride to paradise over turquoise waters. Arrive on the white sand beach where you’ll spend 2 days and 1 night in a bungalow right on the beach. The Yani Lodge bungalows are rustic with shared bathrooms, and the island is very calm. On the island, taste the catch of the day around mid-day and then take a tour with a guide to Perro Chico, where you can snorkel in a sunken boat full of colorful fish. Then, visit a natural swimming pool and spot starfish and other marine wildlife. Spend the rest of the time kayaking, paddle-boarding, or just relaxing on the beach.   On Day 2, enjoy breakfast and spend your free day to explore the island, and relaxing! Transportation back to Panama City around 3:00 PM, arriving around 6:00 PM to your hotel.

Panama: 6-Hour Panama Canal Southbound Cruise & Lunch

10. Panama: 6-Hour Panama Canal Southbound Cruise & Lunch

Travel southbound through the Panama Canal during this 6-hour tour from Panama City. With your local guide, board a bus for a 45-minute journey to Gamboa, home of the Panama Canal Dredging Division. Meet your vessel, the Pacific Queen, for a trip through the Gailard cut, the Pedro Miguel Locks, and the Miraflores Locks. Admire scenic views of the Centennial Bridge, the Chagres River, and the Bridge of the Americas. Eat a complimentary lunch on board during your journey. Disembark at the Flamenco Marina in Panama City. - Journey southbound through the Panama Canal - Travel on a small vessel to see the workings of the locks up close - Navigate through the Pedro Miguel and Miraflores locks - Box Lunch is provided onboard the boat.

Top sights in Panama City

Available activities

  • Exploring the Panama Canal
  • Tropical islands, beaches, & more
  • Monkey Island & jungle adventures
  • Indigenous Panama
  • Panama water adventures
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What people are saying about Panama City

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 1,661 reviews

This is truly an excursion worth taking . Tony is very accommodating knowledgeable , entertaining and will customize the trip to maximize the experience in Panama . He does not sugarcoat what to expect and see. He will show you Panamá city in a way that you will see the different perspectives and lifestyles of the locals. He was kind enough to take us to lunch at a local fish market. What a beautiful experience.

our guide was very good. he was prepared with food for the monkeys which helped us see them much better than other tour companies on the water and he even provided us with water for the day. very informative and thoughtful guide. safe and smooth driver. very good experience

It was a pleasant tour in a small group. Our guide made sure the experience was unforgettable and there was virtually no waiting. The lock tour was great. Attention, the entrance to the locks and the IMAX theater cost about 17.5 dollars extra.

Exceptional! Very pleasant trip, excellent tour guide and drivers. Totally respectful for the animals and nature. Speaking English

Great trip, very well organized. Our guide Juan was amazing.