Backpack and Snorkel Travel Guide for Two Wonderful Weeks in Panama - Panama Purple Guide

Panama is the most developed country in Central America. It features lots of histpry, tropical rainforest, a large biodiversity and wonderful beaches. This Panama Purple Guide tells you about the best things to see and do during two wonderful weeks in Panama.

Table of contents

Introduction to Panama

Best time to visit Panama

Two week itinerary for Panama

Highlights of Panama City

One day tour of Comarca Guna Yala (San Blas Islands)

Bocas del Toro: Panama's prime beach location

Las Perlas: Panama's secret beach destination

Road trip to Portobelo, Colon and Gatun Locks

INTRODUCTION TO PANAMA

Panama is the most developed country in Central America. In Latin America, only Chile and Argentina were ranked higher in the 2019 Human Development Index. The high living standard is especially visible in the capitol Panama City, but even if you leave the big city for rural areas, you will find roads in often excellent condition and people living in conditions that are far higher compared to other Central American countries.

Skyline of Panama City in Panama

One source of Panamanian wealth is, you guessed it, the Panama Canal. Being a democracy for more than 30 years, Panama has built the largest financial center in Central America. It certainly has helped that Panama was known as a tax haven for many years and to some extent still is.
Panama is also greatly profiting from being part of the Colón Free Trade Zone, which is the largest free trade zone in the Western Hemisphere.

Panama has a tropical climate and with it comes a large area of tropical rainforest and a large biodiversity. The temperatures rarely exceed 90°F (32°C) for an extended period of time. On top of that, Panama has incredible beaches. Taking all this into account, it is easy understandable that Panama’s tourist industry is constantly growing.
Besides tourism, Panama is also offering generous retirement benefits and has therefore long been a favorite for US, Canadian and European retirees.

Other things to know about Panama:

  • Capital: Panama City

  • Flag: Skyline of Panama City in Panama

  • Official language: Spanish

  • Time zone: EST (Eastern Standard Time), Daylight Savings Time is not observed

  • Currency: US dollar (the official currency is the Panamanian Balboa. One Balboa is the same as 1 US dollar and only Balboa coins are minted, no bills. With the exception of the 1 Balboa coin, all other Balboa coins are the same size and weight as the respective US coins). Everybody accepts US dollars.

  • Country code: 507

  • Population: 4.25 million (2019)

  • Cars drive on the right side of the road

  • Internet sites: .pa

  • Independence from Spain: November 28, 1821

BEST TIME TO VISIT PANAMA

As a country with a tropical climate, Panama has a dry season and a wet season. The driest months are typically December through April and the wettest months May through November.
Be advised that the rainy season is not a total washout, however. You will often have sunny skies for much of the day but there is a good chance for sudden, short-lived but heavy thunderstorms at around noon or in the early afternoon. Some rural areas may be difficult to reach during the rainy season.
As for the temperatures, the difference between daytime temperatures is higher than between the seasons. Please be advised that, the higher the elevation, the cooler it gets.

Here is the climate of Panama City and Las Perlas that you can expect:

Average monthly temperatures in Panama City and Las Perlas
Average monthly precipitation in Panama City and Las Perlas

Here is the climate of Bocas del Toro that you can expect:

Average monthly temperatures in Bocas del Toro
Average monthly precipitation in Bocas del Toro

WONDERFUL TWO WEEK ITINERARY FOR PANAMA

To fully appreciate the beauty of Panama, one would likely need to spend at least a month in this country. If you have two weeks, then you will be able to see many of the highlights and, if you like it as much as we do, you will probably want to come back to explore the country even more, or just spend more time on your favorite beaches.

Day

Night

Sat

Flight to Panama City (PTY)

Best Western Plus Panama Zen Hotel

Sun

Panama Viejo; Miraflores Locks

Best Western Plus Panama Zen Hotel

Mon

Day tour: San Blas Islands (Comarca Guna Yala)

Best Western Plus Panama Zen Hotel

Tue

drive to Portobelo, Fort San Lorenzo and Gatún Locks; drive to Panama City

Best Western Plus Panama Zen Hotel

Wed

Casco Viejo; Calzada de Amador

Best Western Plus Panama Zen Hotel

Thu

Flight to Bocas del Toro; explore Bocas Town

Hotel Posada Los Delfines

Fri

Snorkel at Boca del Drago (Starfish Beach)

Hotel Posada Los Delfines

Sat

Red Frog Beach and Bluff Beach

Hotel Posada Los Delfines

Sun

Cayos Zapatilla

Hotel Posada Los Delfines

Mon

Flight to Panama City (PTY)

Radisson Hotel Panama Canal

Tue

Ferry to Las Perlas; Playa Larga

B&B Gerald

Wed

Playa Galeon

B&B Gerald

Thu

Playa Ejecutiva

B&B Gerald

Fri

Snorkeling at Isla Chapera; Playa Cacique

B&B Gerald

Sat

Ferry to Panama City (PTY)

Crowne Plaza Airport

Sun

Flight back home

We rented a car in Panama City. In general, driving a rental car in Panama is easy. Roads, even in rural areas, are usually well maintained and most Panamanians are not rude or aggressive drivers. Traffic signs like speed limits are frequent and easy to understand. Outside Panama City there are actually not too many cars on the roads which makes for relaxed driving.
In Panama City, however, driving is very much like in big cities in the US. There are way too many cars on the roads and rush hour traffic is plain awful. Avoid it at all costs. Outside rush hour, driving a car is the best way to get to your destinations in Panama City. Parking can sometimes be difficult to find but we were always able to find a spot even if it meant that we had to walk a few city blocks.

Many people suggest Waze as a GPS. After we had some not-so-good experiences with Waze in Costa Rica, we used google maps for the entire Panama trip and had absolutely no problems. Just make sure to save the road maps to our cell phone in advance so that you don’t need an active internet connection while you are driving.

BEST DESTINATIONS IN PANAMA - PANAMA PURPLE GUIDES

Which part of Panama do you want to visit next?

Backpack and Snorkel Panama Travel Guide - Panama Purple Guide
Backpack and Snorkel Panama City Travel Guide - Panama City Purple Guide
Backpack and Snorkel Panama Viejo Travel Guide - Panama Viejo Purple Guide
Backpack and Snorkel Casco Viejo Travel Guide - Casco Viejo Purple Guide
Backpack and Snorkel Panama Travel Guide - Panama Purple Guide
Backpack and Snorkel Panama Travel Guide - Panama Purple Guide
Backpack and Snorkel San Blas Islands Travel Guide - San Blas Islands Purple Guide
Backpack and Snorkel Bocas del Toro Travel Guide - Bocas del Toro Purple Guide
Backpack and Snorkel Las Perlas Travel Guide - Las Perlas Purple Guide
Backpack and Snorkel Portobelo Travel Guide - Portobelo Purple Guide

Sharing is caring

facebooktwitterpinterestinstagramyoutubemixflipboardFollow us
Backpack and Snorkel Travel Store

Other popular Purple Guides you may be interested in:

Like this Backpack and Snorkel Purple Guide? Pin these for later:

Backpack and Snorkel Panama Travel Guide - Panama Purple Guide
Backpack and Snorkel Panama Travel Guide - Panama Purple Guide
Backpack and Snorkel Panama Travel Guide - Panama Purple Guide
Backpack and Snorkel Panama Travel Guide - Panama Purple Guide
Backpack and Snorkel Panama Travel Guide - Panama Purple Guide
Backpack and Snorkel Panama Travel Guide - Panama Purple Guide