Things to do in
Panama City

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

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Top sights in Panama City

Our most recommended things to do in Panama City

Panama: All-Inclusive Taboga Island Catamaran Cruise

1. Panama: All-Inclusive Taboga Island Catamaran Cruise

Meet at the Balboa Yacht Club to begin your all-inclusive day tour on a catamaran. Take a 45-minute cruise to the Island of Taboga and enjoy breathtaking views of the Panama City skyline, Cinta Costera, and ships waiting to cross the Panama Canal while having light snacks. 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 white sauce, rice with vegetables, vegetable salad, potato salad, and pasta. If the wind conditions are right, open the sails and continue the party as you cruise along the open water.

Panama City: 4-Day Island Hopping San Blas Adventure

2. 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 sample some fresh local lobster for dinner during lobster season. Day 2 After breakfast, enjoy a hiking tour in the San Blas jungle up to a waterfall. Spot monkeys, sloths, many birds, and iguanas. Come back to Ina Island for lunch and then take your boat to the 2nD Island Aroma. 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 Iguana 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 City: 5-Hour Tour and Panama Canal

3. Panama City: 5-Hour Tour and Panama Canal

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. See ships going through this iconic marvel of engineering. 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: Catamaran Cruise to Taboga Island

4. From Panama City: Catamaran Cruise to Taboga Island

Board a catamaran from Panama City, and set sail toward Taboga Island. Capture sights of the Bridge of the Americas, the Amador Causeway, and the Bay of Panama. Enjoy an open bar and musical atmosphere, as you swim and sunbathe on the beach. After lunch, explore the local village. Arrive at the meeting point and jump onto a maxi catamaran heading toward Taboga Island, located just 20 kilometers off the coast of Panama City. Admire the stunning Pacific Ocean and see along the way the Bridge of the Americas, the Amador Causeway, and the Bay of Panama. Drop anchor in a virgin bay, and take advantage of the sea and sun until lunchtime. Relax in the sun, listen to music and enjoy an open-bar onboard. Then, sail toward the main beach and the town of Taboga to enjoy lunch on the catamaran. Afterward, opt to go down to the island to visit the town and take advantage of the beach or continue with the vibe on the catamaran before riding back to Panama City.

Panama City: Money Heist and San Blas Islands Day Trip

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

Be collected from your accommodation in Panama City between 5:20 AM and 6:00 AM 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. Here, enjoy a light breakfast of fresh fruit and take some time to sunbathe with provided umbrellas, beach chairs, and towels. You can also use kayaks or paddleboards to explore the island surroundings. Afterward, enjoy a lunch of fresh fish, rice, and salad. After lunch, sail onwards to Perro Chico, known as the best snorkeling spot in the San Blas Islands. Here, you can see a variety of colorful fish species and a sunken boat. Next, visit Island Pelicano, made famous by the Netflix series Money Heist. Finally, head to the natural swimming pool. This is a bank of sand in the middle of the ocean where you can walk or swim around to find your starfish. At 3:30 PM, sail back towards the port and return to Panama City in the evening. On weekends, before coming back to the port, you'll visit one of the largest communities in San Blas to witness a traditional dance put on by locals.

Panama: 6-Hour Panama Canal Southbound Cruise & Lunch

6. 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.

Panama City: Ocean to Ocean Panama Canal and Jungle Tour

7. Panama City: Ocean to Ocean Panama Canal and Jungle Tour

Begin your tour with hotel pickup at 7:00 AM. Travel west of Panama City to start your exploration of the Panama Canal. Embark on a 90-minute boat tour on the Canal and Gatun Lake. Ride along the canal and get an up-close view of the ships passing through as well as the abundant wildlife along the shores. Visit the famous Monkey Islands, where you can see capuchins, howlers, and tamarins. Then, head 45 minutes north to the Caribbean side of Panama to visit the Agua Clara Visitor Center to see the new expansion locks operating up-close. Observe transiting vessels passing through the Agua Clara Locks on the way to the Pacific or the Atlantic Ocean from a scenic lookout point. Learn first-hand about the various operations of the Panama Canal, the history of its construction, its participation in world markets, and the importance of its watershed. Make your way to a scenic and quiet spot beneath the Gatun Dam and have a picnic lunch at the fork of the French West Diversion Channel and the Chagres River. Next, travel to San Lorenzo National Park, where you can visit a remote rainforest full of flora and fauna, followed by a tour of Fort San Lorenzo. Discover a 400-year-old Spanish fort on a scenic cliff overlooking the Caribbean. Hear about the many attacks by pirates and privateers at one of the most historically important places in Panama. Finally, be returned to your hotel in Panama City.

From Panama City or Portobelo: Caribbean Cruise with Lunch

8. From Panama City or Portobelo: Caribbean Cruise with Lunch

Explore the beauty of the Blues Veins lagoon and the white sands of Playa Blanca beach on this tour from Panama City or Portobelo. Sit down for a delicious lunch on a catamaran.  Choose to be picked up from the comfort of your accommodations in Panama City or to make your own way to Portobelo. Hop aboard a speedboat that will connect you to the catamaran. Feel the wind in your hair as you soak up some sun on the way to your first stop at Blues Veins. Make your way to the interior lagoon aboard a dinghy. Disembark at a secluded beach where you can take a walk or snorkel through the coral in the crystal-clear waters.  Head back to the boat to eat a lunch of local products with a variety of dietary options. Continue to Playa Blanca beach where you can make the most of the sea by swimming, kayaking, and paddle boarding.  Return to you Portobelo where, depending on the option you select, you can be dropped-off at your accommodation in Panama City, or you can drive back to your accommodation. 

Panama City: Small-Group Miraflores Locks and City Tour

9. Panama City: Small-Group Miraflores Locks and City Tour

Starting the day early will give you the chance to learn even more about the Panama Canal. Skip the traffic and arrive at the Miraflores Locks visitor center when it opens, so you can watch the action in peace. After the canal, head to Casco Viejo, the second city of Panama built in 1673. Walk around and enjoy the architecture and hear about its historical relevance.  Drive over the Bridge of the Americas for amazing views. Stop at the viewpoint to hear more about Panama City and its future. The Amador Causeway, Panama City's bustling boardwalk, is one of the most refreshing places in the city. End the tour with some recommendations for lunch and further exploration from your guide, leaving you with the tools to get the most out of your visit to this beautiful and modern city.

From Panama City: Monkey Islands Tour on Gatun Lake

10. From Panama City: Monkey Islands Tour on Gatun Lake

Travel to the Gamboa Marina in an air-conditioned tour vehicle with a guide and the rest of the tour group, before a transfer to a riverboat for a ride on the Chagres River, one of Panama's largest rivers, and head for Monkey Island. Observe the different species of monkeys that live on the island, from white-face monkeys, howler monkeys, and Geoffrey´s tamarinds, while taking some time to snap photos, and learn interesting facts and information about the different species from a knowledgeable guide. Return to the marina and to Panama City, and end the tour with drop-off at the hotel.

Frequently asked questions about Panama City

What top attractions are a must-see in Panama City?

Planning Your Visit

  • When should I visit?

    The high season in Panama, when the weather is most pleasant, is December to April. This period has the least rain, but can also be the busiest. Carneval, which takes place 40 days before Easter, is another popular and vibrant time to visit the city. Book accommodation well in advance and come prepared to dance!

  • Backpacking Panama

    South America is a popular destination with backpackers, who are well-served in Panama by many hostels, cheap food, and heaps of culture to explore. Visit the islands for total relaxation, and to make those working away back home very jealous.

  • Get your groove on

    Can't dance, won't dance? You haven't yet been to Panama City! Take a taxi to the three key areas of Panama City nightlife - the business district, Casca Viejo, and the Amador Causeway.

Good to know

  • Language
    Spanish
  • Currency
    Panamanian balboa (B/)
  • Time Zone
    UTC (-05:00)
  • Country Code
    +507
  • Best time to visit
    December to April is the busiest, but also the nicest time to visit. Known as the dry season, there will be plenty of crowds out, but also much more on offer.

Other Sightseeing Options in Panama City

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What people are saying about Panama City

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 909 reviews

Great trip and a wonderful, helpful crew. We definitely recommend this trip for all no matter what age. The crew speak English and are willing to give advise for other adventures while visiting Panama.

Amazing tour. Saw Miraflores Locks, did a bot ride on Gatun Lake, and saw Monkey Island. The guide was full of knowledge. Just the right amount of time for a tour. Highly recommend.

Great adventure! We got to see different types of monkeys, crocodile, birds, and other creatures. Service is outstanding, guide Alejandro was very accommodating, highly recommend!

This is a MUST DO when in Panama. This has historical significance as well as technological significance. I highly recommend.

Great layover tour with a friendly and knowledgeable guide