When you think of Panama, you probably think immediately of the Panama Canal or Panama Jack, the merchandise retailer. While many people come to Panama to visit the Panama Canal, that is not the only amazing destination to see while there. Panama is known as the crossroads of the Americas. It is known for this because this is the one point that four points cross. North America and South America meet along with the Pacific, and Atlantic oceans collide here. Here are the top five destinations to see while in Panama.
1. Playa Las Lajas, Panama
This destination is a beautiful beach that is more than 8 miles long. This beach is a great find with tiny current and warm waters. The waters here are perfect for swimming, surfing, bodysurfing, snorkeling and just having fun at the beach. There are rustic shacks and cheap restaurants clustered all along the beach. This is one of those gems that remains a hidden treasure yet undiscovered by any of the large hotel chains.
2. Coiba, Panama
One of the things that I love about Panama is the vast diversity of marine life in the waters around Panama. If you enjoy snorkeling, then stop by the Coiba National Marine Park. This marine park is chocked full of over 800 species of marine life to snorkel with and take lots of pictures. Coiba Park is listed as one of the best places on earth to go snorkeling or diving in the Pacific Ocean.
3. Panama Canal, Panama
Of course, we cannot skip past the Panama Canal while talking about Panama. The Panama Canal stands as one of the largest engineering feats for humanity still today. While visiting the canal, you can take a partial or complete crossing to experience the canal. Depending on how long you want that experience to last, it can take up to eight hours to cross the whole canal. There are restaurants located on the top floor of the Panama Canal Museum.
4. El Valle de Anton, Panama
This small town situated in the crater of an extinct volcano, yes I did say volcano, is surrounded by lush rainforests and very sharp peaks. This little town sits 2000 feet above sea level, so it is a little cooler up there compared to down at the canal. The countryside is great for walking, hiking and horseback riding. The nearby forests are teeming with exotic animals and will give you the chance to see lots of birds, frogs, bugs and many other animals. Don’t forget to see some of the impressive waterfalls while there. You just might see a golden frog too!
5. Santa Catalina, Panama
This destination may be one of the quietest places to visit in Panama, but don’t let the village’s remoteness spoil your perception of this destination. Santa Catalina is a world-class surfing spot with great beaches, amazing sunsets, warm waters and just a skip away from Coiba National Marine Park. This secluded fishing village is a gem, but don’t forget to pack everything you need for this day trip. The closest ATM is an hour away. It is a tropical paradise the is relaxing with beautiful forests and friendly people.
Santa Catalina is tropical year-round. The summer is from December through may and the wet season or winter for us is from June to November. Don’t worry, though, their temperatures do not fluctuate like ours. They stay consistent all year round between 90-100 degrees.