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What to see in Panama in 10 days (San Blas and Bocas del Toro)

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There are so many things to do and see in Panama that it is a surprising country. Nature, water sports, indigenous peoples, colonial history, towering skyscrapers and economic progress come together to allow the traveler to enjoy a wonderful place. Country in perfect balance between the part cosmopolitan and the native cultures.

What to see in Panama

Why visit Panama?

We had ten days of vacation (almost two weeks) and we wanted a place with quiet beaches of clear waters in which to enjoy nature and diving. Also, we were looking for a country of friendly people with a certain development of tourism that would allow us a direct flight from Madrid. Panama met all these requirements.


City of Panama
San Blas

Before leaving for Panama

Weather

In Panama on climate is tropical and there are two seasons: the dry season (from December to March) and the rainy season (from April to December). On the Caribbean coast they are more numerous rains, even in the dry season. We we travel in July and we appreciated carrying the raincoat in the suitcase. Despite the rains, the average temperature was about 29 degrees.

Security

During our stay in Panama, we did not notice insecurity at any time. However, there are some neighborhoods in Panama City that do not recommend visiting them when the sun goes down (El Chorrillo, San Miguelito and Calidonnia).

We recommend take out travel insurance because in this type of countries, although in isolation, you can have setbacks. For the price it never hurts. We recommend the DeIati which also has a 5% discount


Panama

Transport

If you are going to use cab, it is convenient to set the fare before starting the journey. The transport of Uber It is widespread in Panama City. To travel through the interior of the country we use the plane or the bus, but it is also extended in tourism to be able to rent a car with total safety.


Classic Panama plane Sale Panama 1 (Lonely Planet Country Guides) English Language
  • Carolyn McCarthy, Steve Fallon
  • Publisher: GeoPlaneta
  • Issue no. 7 (07/02/2017)
22.80 EUR See on Amazon

A 10 day trip

We would have loved to enjoy Panama longer, but these 10 days were enough to give us an idea of ​​the things to see in Panama, especially those that attract more attention and the main points of interest.

  • Day 1 and 2 - Panama City
    • Panama Canal and Canal Reverted Area
    • Old Town
    • Amador Causeway and Coastal Belt
    • Ancon Hill
    • Metropolitan National Park
  • Day 3, 4 and 5- Guna Yala
    • Relax in the paradise of San Blas
    • Playón Chico
  • Day 6, 7 and 8 - Bocas del Toro
    • Bastimientos Island
    • Zapatilla Island
    • Coral key
    • Star beach
    • Bluff Beach
  • Day 9 and 10- Panama City

Panama Map

Itinerary for Panama in 10 days

Day 1

We arrived to City of Panama at 5pm We went to the El Cangrejo neighborhood, where our hotel was located and after leaving our luggage, we booked an Uber to go to Old Town. In 10 minutes we had arrived and we could enjoy the nightlife of this area, declared World Heritage in 2003.

  • El Cangrejo neighborhood
  • Old Town of Panama City

City of Panama
City of Panama

Day 2

We wake up early to enjoy the day. We visited the Panama Canal from the Miraflores lock and its visitor center. We were lucky to be able to see the passage of a ship from the Pacific to the Atlantic. A wonderful engineering work.

We toured the Amador Causeway, a journey of 2 km lined with palm trees, linking the continent with 4 small islands. Very suitable path for pedaling, skating and enjoying the views of the city.

When mealtime was approaching, we went back to the old town. Neighborhood that struggles to recover the beauty of the past, restoring all the facades of the buildings. After strolling through the Parque Bolívar, the Plaza de Francia, the Metropolitan Cathedral and the numerous churches, we returned to the hotel touring the coastal strip. Walk highly recommending as long as you wear a good hat.

  • Panama Canal
  • Amador Causeway
  • Bolivar Park, cathedral,…

Panama Canal
Panama Canal

Day 3

We wake up a lot to go to Marcos A. Gelabert Airport. At 7 in the morning our flight left forGuna Yala- San Blas. In just over half an hour, the plane left us in Playón Chico. The first impression was that of being in another world and in another time. We were clear that these three days we were going to love it.

A small boat took us to the accommodation and after a breakfast that tasted like glory, we prepared for a small trekking towards the waterfall of Playón Chico, where we could then bathe. Jungle path where the guide's machete was necessary.

After a meal based on freshly caught vegetables and fish, we begin the visit to the Ukupseni community, where they explained to us the Kuna culture, its traditions, its economy, the architecture of its houses….

  • Departure from Panama City to San Blas
  • Guna Yala- San Blas
  • Playón Chico waterfall
  • Visit to the Ukepseni community

San Blas
San Blas

Day 4

We woke up at dawn, when the first rays of sun entered the cabin. We have breakfast over the sea and prepare to enjoy a relaxing day, beach and snorkeling. The boat took us to the Pelican Island, in which we could see several lobsters, sea cucumbers and fish from the area.

We spent the afternoon reading a good book while we rocked in the hammocks over the sea. I still remember that feeling of peace.

  • Pelican Island
  • Relax 🙂

Day 5

We woke up with the sadness of knowing that we had to leave this wonderful place, but before we left we were lucky enough to see the arrival of the children to primary school. The same children we had seen barefoot and almost naked in the Ukupseni communityThey had put on their unpolluted uniform and came by boat to school with a huge smile on their faces.

We took the plane back to Panama City. We had several hours before catching the flight to Bocas del Toro, so it gave us time to visit Cerro Ancon and the Metropolitan National Park. The first is a forest-covered elevation within the urban area, where we could see toucans and lazy bears. The Metropolitan is a protected area where you can enjoy some spectacular views from Panama City thanks to its viewpoints.

In the afternoon, we returned to the airport for domestic flights to travel to Bocas del Toro - Isla Colon.

  • Return to Panama City
  • Ancon Hill
  • Metropolitan National Park
  • Flight to Bocas del Toro

Back to school

Day 6

The day dawned with rain and wind. We had a boat excursion to visit several points in the area, but we doubted if it could be carried out with this weather. The wind began to subside and they approved the activities. We go to the Dolphin Bay and despite the rain, we could see several and we walked through several mangroves watching the starfish in their bottoms.

The rain gave us a break when we reached Zapatilla Island, an uninhabited island surrounded by reef where we could swim, do snorkel and stroll carefully so that the coconuts did not fall on us. After a quick meal, we enjoyed another swim in Cayo Coral.

In Colon Island There are several places where you can drink and eat where the environment is guaranteed. We spend the rest of the evening and night at the docks of these bars.

  • Dolphin Bay
  • Zapatilla Island (snorkeling)
  • Colon Island

Zapatilla Island

Day 7

Time accompanied us to practice the coveted diving, so we don't doubt it. We hire two dives, one in the Pandora area and another in the Shipwreck. The water temperature was 29 degrees so no neoprene was necessary. We saw lion fish, trumpet fish, seahorses, manta ray, lobsters ...

After diving, we took a public bus to go to Estrella Beach. Travel by van with the odd curve to reach a long beach with crystal clear waters, but with only starfish. According to local people there, the rains had removed the stars.

  • Diving in Pandora
  • Estrella Beach

Bull's mouths

Day 8

Although the day was cloudy, we headed to Bluff Beach in collective transport. Before arriving, it started to rain. Despite this, we put on the raincoat and started the ride. The beach is very long with fine sand and many waves (recommended place for surfing). As it seemed that the weather was not going to improve and we had already got quite wet, we returned to the hotel. It was raining all day.

  • Bluff Beach (if you surf, paradise 🙂)

Day 9

Our flight to Panama City left at noon. We take the morning to take a last walk around Isla Colon. Upon arriving at the hotel to collect our bags, we were notified that the plane was leaving at least three hours late. It was a task. If we had known, we would have organized the day differently. Then we learned that this type of delay is very common in Air Panama.

We arrived in Panama City for dinner time.

  • Colon Island
  • Return to Panama City

Sloth
Views of Panama City from Metropolitan

Day 10

The flight to Madrid did not leave until noon, which left us some time for one last ride and some shopping before returning home.

Conclusion

Panama is a vibrant country, struggling to evolve economically and develop a modern architecture without leaving aside his colonial past. All this, adding to the possibility of walking through its jungle and to bathe in their Beaches They make this Central American country a safe bet for all types of travelers. To travel for free!

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