[GUEST POST] 4 Must Dos When Visiting Panama City, Panama
Updated: Jan 6
Guest Post Written by Tashana Sinal
My favorite baecation was Panama City, Panama, which took place in June 2019. A close second in my list of favorite baecations is Iceland (February 2019)! I decided on Panama because we had more time here, did more here and of course, the 80 degree weather is always a good choice! I went to Panama with my boyfriend upon researching the best places to explore in Latin America. A close second to choosing Panama was Belize. However, we decided not to go to Belize due to the connecting flight (it’s hard to get a nonstop flight at certain times of the year) and similar airfare cost. Additionally, we are both travelers and wanted to pick a country that neither one of us had been to before. Upon doing some research, we realized that Panama was the place for us.
Where to Stay
We stayed in the Hotel Infiniti. We booked it on booking.com and got an amazing deal. Although the rooms are basic and nothing to blink at, the rooftop pool and lounge has views that are to die for! Probably some of the best views you'll get in all of Panama City! Hands down day or night.
1. Visit Las Islas de las Perlas (Pearl Islands):
One of the must-do excursions is: Islas de las Perlas (Pearl Islands). It cost about $100 pp on viator.com. It was well worth it. This island is a hidden gem. Beautiful, calm, and relaxing beach with great food and tranquil waters. We met at a docking port in Panama City, not far from our hotel and took a catamaran to the island. Upon landing on the island, we rented a go-cart that allowed us to have fun exploring all around the island and stopped at a local restaurant for some lunch. The whole island experience was fantastic!
2. Sailing on the Panama Canal:
The other must-do excursion is: the Panama Canal. Were you really in Panama if you didn't go to the Panama Canal? Definitely a must do. You can either do the whole shabang and pay for the day tour, or half day tour with a guide and historical commentary while watching the opening and closing of the ports as the ships come through. You can also do what we did and BE in the Panama Canal while exploring Monkey Island! The Monkey Island tour was phenomenal. We have so many long-lasting memories from that tour which included sailing on the Panama Canal while visiting the monkey's habitats and getting to feed them, seeing baby alligators, and seeing/sailing alongside huge cargo ships! My boyfriend and I are both animal lovers and were truly fascinated by the monkeys. One in particular drew both of us to the monkey island tour. Due to his grumpy looking appearance in photos, this monkey was affectionately dubbed by my boyfriend as "Monkey Grandpa." Contrary to what we thought, Monkey Grandpa was not at all angry or cranky. He was actually tinier than we expected, shy, and incredibly cute!! A species of about 3 or 4 monkeys, all had different looks. Most came onto the boat. Therefore, we were able to feed them treats, resulting in them quickly running back to their trees! Such a cute and enjoyable experience.
We also went to the museum, the Hard Rock Hotel--where we watched the Copa America and the NBA Finals on a large screen TV outside with other guests while enjoying food and drinks as well as to the Andres Bello Park (which has outdoor gym equipment, hammocks, a basketball court, and many other amenities).
My top two places to eat were Tio Navaja and Tacos La Neta.
1. Tio Navaja
Tio Navaja had the most delicious rice and chicken dish. It had an Asian flare with the addition of a delicious sweet and sour tangy sauce (Latin style of course). The dish was to die for! We went there twice. My boyfriend is a vegetarian and also raved about this spot (There are vegetarian options).
2. Tacos La Neta
Tacos La Neta was probably my favorite spot to eat at. Then again, I might be biased because I am a taco lover! You have a selection of delicious tacos to choose from (also vegetarian friendly), which are affordably priced. There is also a rooftop bar a couple floors up from this location. You can enjoy your tacos with amazing views and drinks. The bartenders there looked like Mixologists with the way they concocted our cocktails! Overall, the drinks were outstanding, the views were amazing and the place evoked such chill vibes that anyone can enjoy.
There is so much to do in Panama City. Although it seemed like it was still in the building stages of a major city, it has such a great deal of potential to be a Latin American hotspot. While it's not quite there yet, it should definitely be a must on anyone's bucket list! I am so happy that I went--and even more happy that I went with my boyfriend. We had such a wonderful and memorable experience. We often talk about potentially going back one day because we enjoyed it so much and there was no shortage of things to do!
Great food, good weather, friendly people, beautiful views, and excursions galore. If you are a couple looking for a new country to explore, Panama is the one for you. You won't regret it!