Panama

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Panama GALLERY
2019 2019 Fodor’s Go List Destination
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In the past couple of years Panama has become Central America's hottest destination. Beyond its famous canal (which, 100 years after its completion, still astonishes all who visit), scads of travelers are discovering vast jungles that hold amazing biological diversity, idyllic islands ringed with coral reefs, and mountain forests filled with exotic birds. Panama City is the exciting, and rapidly developing, hub from which to explore–-a vibrant and diverse metropolis with excellent dining, lodging, and nightlife, and an abundance of day-trip options.

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Panama City

Founded nearly five centuries ago, Panama city is steeped in history, yet much of it is remarkably modern. The baroque facades of the city's...

Bocas del Toro

The town of Bocas del Toro, which the locals simply call Bocas, sits on a little headland connected to the island's primary landmass by a narrow...

Boquete

This pleasant town sits at 3,878 feet above sea level in the always springlike valley of the Río Caldera. The surrounding mountains are covered...

El Valle de Anton

A serpentine road winds north from the town of Las Uvas, on the Carretera Interamericana between Playa Coronado and Playa Farallón, to a small...

Isla Contadora

The island of Contadora, a mere 20 minutes from Panama City by plane, has some of the country's loveliest beaches. Half a dozen swaths of beige...

David

The province’s bustling, sweltering capital won’t be the Chiriquí you came to see. All services are here, however—at 144,000 inhabitants, lowland...

Portobelo

Portobelo has an inspiring mix of colonial fortresses, placid waters, and lushly forested hills. Christopher Columbus named it "beautiful port...

El Porvenir, Carti, and Rio Sidra

The most accessible and popular part of Guna Yala is the cluster of islands on its western end, the most prominent of which are the provincial...

Playa Santa Catalina

Literally at the end of the road, the tiny fishing village of Santa Catalina sits near some of the best surfing spots in the country and is...

Volcan

A breezy little town, Volcán has the best view of Volcán Barú, several miles northeast. The town is a dreary succession of restaurants, banks...

Boca Chica and Isla Boca Brava

Long a sleepy fishing port at the end of a long, paved road, Boca Chica has a small selection of hotels that serve the islands of Parque Nacional...

Colon

The provincial capital of Colón, beside the canal's Atlantic entrance, is named for the Spanish-language surname of Christopher Columbus, though...

Isla Colon

Once you’re outside of Bocas Town, Isla Colón is a wild and beautiful place, with just two dirt roads, two lovely beaches, and significant swaths...

Gamboa

Though it lies only about 40 minutes from downtown Panama City, the tiny community of Gamboa feels remote, no doubt due to the fact that it...

Parque Nacional Coiba

Remote and wild, Panama's largest island and one of the world's largest marine parks offers the country's best scuba diving, world-class fishing...

Parque Nacional Soberania

One of the planet's most accessible rain-forest reserves, Parque Nacional Soberanía comprises 19,341 hectares (48,000 acres) of lowland rain...

Cerro Punta

This bowl-shaped highland valley northwest of Volcán Barú offers some splendid bucolic scenery and is bordered by vast expanses of wilderness...

Isla Taboga

Isla Taboga is known as the "Island of Flowers" for the abundant gardens of its small town, San Pedro, spread along the steep hillside of its...

San Lorenzo Protected Area

The San Lorenzo region, on Panama's Pacific coast near the city of Colón, combines picturesque natural beauty and historic significance. The...

Playa Coronado

Playa Coronado began to develop as a weekend destination for wealthy Panamanians decades ago, and today the coast is almost completely lined...

Old Bank (Bastimentos)

Spread along a bay on the island's western tip, between the ocean and forested hills, is a colorful, crowded, poor collection of simple wooden...

La Palma

La Palma, the capital of the Darién Province, is a perfect illustration of just how undeveloped this province is. At the end of a peninsula...

Panama Viejo

Crumbling ruins are all that's left of Panamá Viejo (sometimes called Panamá la Vieja), the country's first major Spanish settlement, which...

Playa Farallon (Playa Blanca)

For years, few people visited this lovely, long stretch of white beach because it lay behind a military base used by Panama's national guard...

Macca Bite

Bastimentos’s southernmost point has an odd name, and its origin is as mysterious as Bocas del Toro's, though the theory is that wild macaws...

Golfo de Chiriqui Islands

The vast Gulf of Chiriquí holds dozens of uninhabited islands surrounded by healthy coral formations and excellent conditions for surfing, diving...

Achutupo

Achutupo, or Isla Perro in Spanish, is a medium-size community on an island near the mainland in the eastern half of Guna Yala. Because this...

Red Frog Beach and Bahia Honda

A couple of miles east of Old Bank, Isla Bastimentos gets narrow—a mere ½ km (¼ mile) wide—and the sea to the south is dotted with mangrove...

Bambito

Rather than a town, Bambito is a series of farms and houses scattered along the serpentine Río Chiriquí Viejo valley on the western slope of...

Parque Nacional Chagres (Chagres National Park)

The mountains to the northeast of the canal form a vast watershed that feeds the Chagres River, which was one of the country's principal waterways...

Lago Fortuna and Reserva Forestal Fortuna

...

Playa Santa Clara

The small beach town of Santa Clara lies just to the east of Playa Blanca. For years, it consisted of a tiny fishing enclave, a handful of vacation...

Playa La Barqueta

...

Isla Carenero

Just east of Bocas is the long, forested Isla Carenero (Careening Cay), the southern end of which holds a mix of fishermen's shacks, the large...

Isla Barro Colorado

The island of Barro Colorado in Lago Gatún is a former hilltop that became an island when the Río Chagres was dammed during construction of...

Cerro La Vieja

...

Playon Chico

This community of about 3,000 people lies just offshore, with a wooden footbridge connecting it to the mainland, where the town's school and...

Parque Nacional Volcan Baru

Towering 11,450 feet above sea level, Barú Volcano is literally Chiriquí's biggest attraction, and Panama's highest peak. The massive dormant...

Lago Gatun (Gatun Lake)

Covering about 262 square km (163 square miles), an area about the size of the island of Barbados, Gatún Lake extends northwest from Parque...

Playa Kobbe (Playa Bonita)

With a long beach on a cove of calm water backed by tropical forest, Playa Kobbe is a lovely spot. It's the closest beach to Panama City, less...

Sierra Llorona

...

Bahia Piñas

Nestled in the southwest corner of the Darién province, just north of the Jaqué River, lies remote and beautiful Bahía Piñas, a deep bay with...

Santa Isabela

To the east of Portobelo, the coast becomes wilder, and the ocean more pristine. About two-thirds of the way between Isla Grande and the Guna...

Parque Nacional Marino Isla Bastimentos

About one third of Isla Bastimentos and the Cayos Zapatillas, to the southeast, lie within Parque Nacional Marino Isla Bastimentos. The park...

Parque Nacional Darien

...

Playa Gorgona

...

Panama City

Founded nearly five centuries ago, Panama city is steeped in history, yet much of it is remarkably modern. The baroque facades of the city's...

Bocas del Toro

The town of Bocas del Toro, which the locals simply call Bocas, sits on a little headland connected to the island's primary landmass by a narrow...

Boquete

This pleasant town sits at 3,878 feet above sea level in the always springlike valley of the Río Caldera. The surrounding mountains are covered...

El Valle de Anton

A serpentine road winds north from the town of Las Uvas, on the Carretera Interamericana between Playa Coronado and Playa Farallón, to a small...

David

The province’s bustling, sweltering capital won’t be the Chiriquí you came to see. All services are here, however—at 144,000 inhabitants, lowland...

Portobelo

Portobelo has an inspiring mix of colonial fortresses, placid waters, and lushly forested hills. Christopher Columbus named it "beautiful port...

El Porvenir, Carti, and Rio Sidra

The most accessible and popular part of Guna Yala is the cluster of islands on its western end, the most prominent of which are the provincial...

Playa Santa Catalina

Literally at the end of the road, the tiny fishing village of Santa Catalina sits near some of the best surfing spots in the country and is...

Volcan

A breezy little town, Volcán has the best view of Volcán Barú, several miles northeast. The town is a dreary succession of restaurants, banks...

Boca Chica and Isla Boca Brava

Long a sleepy fishing port at the end of a long, paved road, Boca Chica has a small selection of hotels that serve the islands of Parque Nacional...

Colon

The provincial capital of Colón, beside the canal's Atlantic entrance, is named for the Spanish-language surname of Christopher Columbus, though...

Gamboa

Though it lies only about 40 minutes from downtown Panama City, the tiny community of Gamboa feels remote, no doubt due to the fact that it...

Parque Nacional Soberania

One of the planet's most accessible rain-forest reserves, Parque Nacional Soberanía comprises 19,341 hectares (48,000 acres) of lowland rain...

Cerro Punta

This bowl-shaped highland valley northwest of Volcán Barú offers some splendid bucolic scenery and is bordered by vast expanses of wilderness...

Playa Coronado

Playa Coronado began to develop as a weekend destination for wealthy Panamanians decades ago, and today the coast is almost completely lined...

San Lorenzo Protected Area

The San Lorenzo region, on Panama's Pacific coast near the city of Colón, combines picturesque natural beauty and historic significance. The...

Old Bank (Bastimentos)

Spread along a bay on the island's western tip, between the ocean and forested hills, is a colorful, crowded, poor collection of simple wooden...

La Palma

La Palma, the capital of the Darién Province, is a perfect illustration of just how undeveloped this province is. At the end of a peninsula...

Panama Viejo

Crumbling ruins are all that's left of Panamá Viejo (sometimes called Panamá la Vieja), the country's first major Spanish settlement, which...

Playa Farallon (Playa Blanca)

For years, few people visited this lovely, long stretch of white beach because it lay behind a military base used by Panama's national guard...

Achutupo

Achutupo, or Isla Perro in Spanish, is a medium-size community on an island near the mainland in the eastern half of Guna Yala. Because this...

Golfo de Chiriqui Islands

The vast Gulf of Chiriquí holds dozens of uninhabited islands surrounded by healthy coral formations and excellent conditions for surfing, diving...

Red Frog Beach and Bahia Honda

A couple of miles east of Old Bank, Isla Bastimentos gets narrow—a mere ½ km (¼ mile) wide—and the sea to the south is dotted with mangrove...

Macca Bite

Bastimentos’s southernmost point has an odd name, and its origin is as mysterious as Bocas del Toro's, though the theory is that wild macaws...

Playa La Barqueta

...

Lago Fortuna and Reserva Forestal Fortuna

...

Playa Santa Clara

The small beach town of Santa Clara lies just to the east of Playa Blanca. For years, it consisted of a tiny fishing enclave, a handful of vacation...

Bambito

Rather than a town, Bambito is a series of farms and houses scattered along the serpentine Río Chiriquí Viejo valley on the western slope of...

Cerro La Vieja

...

Playon Chico

This community of about 3,000 people lies just offshore, with a wooden footbridge connecting it to the mainland, where the town's school and...

Sierra Llorona

...

Santa Isabela

To the east of Portobelo, the coast becomes wilder, and the ocean more pristine. About two-thirds of the way between Isla Grande and the Guna...

Playa Kobbe (Playa Bonita)

With a long beach on a cove of calm water backed by tropical forest, Playa Kobbe is a lovely spot. It's the closest beach to Panama City, less...

Bahia Piñas

Nestled in the southwest corner of the Darién province, just north of the Jaqué River, lies remote and beautiful Bahía Piñas, a deep bay with...

Lago Gatun (Gatun Lake)

Covering about 262 square km (163 square miles), an area about the size of the island of Barbados, Gatún Lake extends northwest from Parque...

Playa Gorgona

...

Chiriqui Province

Panama's southwest province of Chiriquí contains the country's most varied scenery. Landscapes that evoke different continents—from alpine peaks...

The Canal and Central Panama

The Panama Canal bisects the country just to the west of Panama City, which enjoys excellent views of the monumental waterway. Between the canal...

Bocas del Toro Archipelago

With its turquoise waters, sugar-sand beaches, and funky island towns, the relatively isolated archipelago of Bocas del Toro has the same attractions...

Eastern Panama

The Guna Yala Archipelago and surrounding sea are the main attractions in Guna Yala—an indigenous comarca (autonomous territory) stretching...

Guna Yala (San Blas)

...

The Darien

The easternmost province of Darién is Panama's wildest, least accessible region; home to extraordinary flora, fauna, and indigenous communities...

The Panama Canal

Panama's most famous landmark stretches 80 km (50 miles) from the edge of Panama City to the Caribbean port of Colón, and a paved road follows...

Parque Nacional Coiba

Remote and wild, Panama's largest island and one of the world's largest marine parks offers the country's best scuba diving, world-class fishing...

Parque Nacional Chagres (Chagres National Park)

The mountains to the northeast of the canal form a vast watershed that feeds the Chagres River, which was one of the country's principal waterways...

Parque Nacional Volcan Baru

Towering 11,450 feet above sea level, Barú Volcano is literally Chiriquí's biggest attraction, and Panama's highest peak. The massive dormant...

Parque Nacional Marino Isla Bastimentos

About one third of Isla Bastimentos and the Cayos Zapatillas, to the southeast, lie within Parque Nacional Marino Isla Bastimentos. The park...

Parque Nacional Darien

...

Isla Contadora

The island of Contadora, a mere 20 minutes from Panama City by plane, has some of the country's loveliest beaches. Half a dozen swaths of beige...

Isla Colon

Once you’re outside of Bocas Town, Isla Colón is a wild and beautiful place, with just two dirt roads, two lovely beaches, and significant swaths...

Isla Taboga

Isla Taboga is known as the "Island of Flowers" for the abundant gardens of its small town, San Pedro, spread along the steep hillside of its...

Isla Barro Colorado

The island of Barro Colorado in Lago Gatún is a former hilltop that became an island when the Río Chagres was dammed during construction of...

Isla Carenero

Just east of Bocas is the long, forested Isla Carenero (Careening Cay), the southern end of which holds a mix of fishermen's shacks, the large...

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