Panama in 7 Days: Advice on Planning a Week-Long Vacation in Panama

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Search our blog about all things Panama! From must dos, where to party or eat, to which beaches and hiking trails you shouldn't miss, in our blog you'll find great insider info about Bocas del Toro, Panama City and Boquete, as well as Panamanian culture, customs and traditions, and certainly tips and advice for learning Spanish! We've been writing about all things Panama for over 15 years and nothing beats local knowledge from the locals themselves.


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Panama in 7 Days: Advice on Planning a Week-Long Vacation in Panama

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Knowing even a little bit of Spanish will make your Panama vacation so much more exciting! Checkout Habla Ya's top rated Spanish for Travelers' Course here... Or if you're in the country for several weeks (or months), look into our Spanish learning vacations which combine top notch Spanish lessons, eco-adventure tours, cultural/social activities and the best reviewed accommodation options within each price range.

There are many places in Panama off the beaten track. Destinations that don't get a lot of press or regular traffic: isolated, romantic white sand beaches; remote islands; lush, green rainforest trails and tucked away little spots, rich in history and culture. This article is not about these places.

Most people, when visiting Panama, travel between Panama City, Bocas del Toro and Boquete. And why not? They are accessible and they represent much of what is Panama.

A Panama Vacation isn't complete without a visit to Boquete, Bocas del Toro and Panama City
A Panama Vacation isn't complete without a visit to Boquete, Bocas del Toro and Panama City

"This itinerary is popular because it is comprehensive and allows you to see as much of Panama as possible in a short period of time," says Julio Santamaria, Co-Founder of Explora Ya Eco-Tours & Adventure Travel. "The nightlife, world class shopping and the Panama Canal of Panama City meet the mountains, fresh air, challenging hikes, whitewater rafting and coffee tours of Boquete, which meet the island excursions, sun and sand and snorkeling of Bocas del Toro. The best part? You can experience Pacific beaches and Caribbean beaches all in one day."

A complete Panama vacation—especially if you only have a week to do it. If you have more time up your sleeve you can easily spend twice the amount of time in Bocas and Boquete, or you can also consider the Azuero Peninsula.

Even though this itinerary is the most common, it can still be tricky to plan. Message boards are full of questions about how to navigate these three destinations in a limited span of time.

"Our guests have a lot of questions about planning their time in Panama," says Jay Thomas, Boquete Garden Inn. "Our top recommendations? If you can stay three days in Boquete—do it. Our guests tell us all the time that they wish they had scheduled more time for Boquete. And when in Boquete, rent a car. Boquete isn't about the downtown, it's about the beautiful areas surrounding it. And from Boquete, you can explore a number of other great destinations in Chiriqui Province."

The Boquete Garden Inn, one of Panama's most sought after boutique hotels, located in the Palo Alto region of Boquete
The Boquete Garden Inn, one of Panama's most sought after boutique hotels, located in the Palo Alto region of Boquete

The purpose of this article isn't to write tour book descriptions of each stop. You've done your research. We’re strictly talking logistics. The order of this itinerary is by design—a key factor is availability of flights (once again there are flights between David and Bocas del Toro as well as private shuttles). Depending on your international flight schedule, you may be able to add an extra day to either Boquete or Bocas del Toro.

DAY 1: Panama City

Most tourists enter and exit via Tocumen Airport. Depending on when your flight lands, you can cover a lot of Panama City in your first day. The easiest way to get from one place to another is by taxi or on Panama City's Hop On - Hop Off Bus for Sightseeing.

Panama City Must-sees:

  • Casco Viejo: beautiful architecture, rich history, excellent restaurants and great photo ops. This is also where you want to buy your souvenirs. The Kuna Indians sell beautiful jewelry, molas and crafts here and the prices are reasonable.
  • Amador Causeway: great place to dine out. Breathtaking views of the city and of the ocean.
  • Panama Canal
  • Panama Viejo (also great place to buy souvenirs)

For more in depth info about what to do in Panama City click here, here and here, or if you'd like to know more about what the Casco Viejo is all about it, check out this post...

DAY 2 and 3: Boquete

  • Take a regional flight from Albrook airport to David (www.flyairpanama.com, the website isn't that user friendly and flights only open for bookings three months prior to a specific travel date... if you need help booking your ticket, feel free to contact us...)
  • Rent a car during your stay in Boquete. You can pick it up at the domestic airport and then drop it off in Boquete before you leave to Bocas. This will allow you not only to explore Boquete, but the surrounding areas.
  • Stay in Boquete – the restaurants and hotels are great, there is plenty to do and it has small town charm with big city infrastructure
  • Book a flight from David to Bocas with www.flyairpanama.com or take either a shuttle bus (approximately $40 per person) or a private taxi (about $140 for 2 people) to Bocas

Things to do in and from Boquete

DAY 4 and 5: Bocas del Toro

For more Bocas del Toro tips and advice click here, here and here...

DAY 6: Fly from Bocas del Toro to Panama (Albrook Airport)

  • Whatever you couldn't fit into day 1, do it on day 6
  • Afternoon heat buster: Some people are turned off by the idea of going to a mall on their vacation, but if you are finding the heat of Panama City oppressive, it’s a great cool down time. Try Multiplaza, Multicentro or Albrook Mall (try the steak at Leños y Carbón, have a mocha batido at Gelarti, get a seated massage…20 minutes for only $10

DAY 7

If you don’t have an early morning flight, combine a city tour with your airport pick up. Panama Viejo is on the way to Tocumen International Airport and is a perfect final stop before flying out.

FIND MORE ABOUT SPANISH LEARNING VACATIONS IN PANAMA... »

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Search our blog if you're visiting Panama! From must do's, where to party or eat, to which beaches and hiking trails you shouldn't miss, you'll find great insider info about Bocas del Toro, Panama City and Boquete, as well as Panamanian culture, customs and traditions, and certainly tips and advice for learning Spanish while in our country! We've been writing about all things Panama for over 10 years and nothing beats local knowledge from the locals themselves.


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3 Responses to "Panama in 7 Days: Advice on Planning a Week-Long Vacation in Panama"

  1. Swap Houses says:

    Wow, These are beautiful pictures which are put in your blog, I really appreciate your thinking Panama city is right for vacation,It is beautiful place,Your Site style fabulous,mind blowing, Thanks.

  2. Louise Nehl says:

    My husband and i are planning a trip to Panama We will be there for ten days and would like to make the most of trip to see the country. Can you offer a tour a tour, we would like to stay a couple of days at the beach

  3. Sure. Feel free to check out our section of tours and contact us so that we can set up something specific for you: http://www.hablayapanama.com/ecotourism/


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