Guide to Panama: The Ideal Fusion of City and Nature

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Curated By

Maggie Larrea

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  • Panama

  • City Travel

  • Nature Escapes

  • Outdoors

  • Coastal

  • Entertainment

green panama trees
Curator’s statement

Upon our arrival in Panama, the captivating aerial view showcased a mesmerizing spectacle of ships awaiting their journey through the canal. The city in itself is a stunning blend of culture, history, nature and contemporary trends. Join us as we share our four day trip, offering a versatile itinerary suitable for a quick stop on your way to South America or the Caribbean.

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Insider knowledge

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Where to stay

Sofitel Legend Casco Viejo

Set in Panama's Casco Viejo district, this sparkling hotel boasts refined rooms with old-world charm, an outdoor pool and an on-site spa.

Fora Perks
  • $100 food / beverage credit.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

Hotel La Compañia - The Unbound Collection by Hyatt

Landmark property in the heart of Panama City with modern rooms and suites.

Fora Perks
  • Welcome amenity.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

  • Breakfast daily.

Waldorf Astoria Panama

High-end hotel set in a modern tower in Panama City's financial district located just 10 minutes away from historic Casco Viejo.

Fora Perks
  • $100 hotel / resort credit.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • Upgrade, based on availability.

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Unlock perks by contacting Maggie to book your trip.

Day 1: Arriving Panama

couple taking a selfie

Touching down at Tocumen International Airport, we embarked on a brief 30-minute taxi journey to our accommodation, the "Central Hotel" in Casco Viejo. The inaugural afternoon and evening were dedicated to leisurely strolls through the old town, immersing ourselves in the remarkable architecture and living history that graced every corner. As the day unfolded, we savoured the sunset from a rooftop bar overlooking Plaza Herrera, relishing the breathtaking views of the ancient city below and the striking modern panorama of Panama City on the horizon.

Day 2: Zip Line Adventure, Rainforest Exploration, Cultural Immersion

panama streets

Commencing the day with a swift breakfast, we geared up for the rainforest part of our adventure. Our guide picked us up, and we embarked on a one-hour journey to the Gamboa community for an exhilarating zip line experience. Ascend to the treetops through a network of cables, offering a crystal-clear panorama of the rainforest, the Panama Canal, and the Chagres River across 10 zip line platforms. Completing this thrilling journey takes approximately one-and-a-half to two hours. After immersing ourselves in the rainforest, we were transported back to Panama. A leisurely lunch by the hotel pool preceded our 3 p.m. rendezvous with a walking tour guide. Exploring the highlights of Casco Viejo, we were captivated by the fascinating history of the city and the country (it was such an enriching experience that I would highly recommend doing this!).

Day 3: Canal Transit Adventure

Couple taking a happy selfie

Rising early, we headed to Flamenco Marina on the Amador Causeway for our Northbound Panama Canal Partial Transit Tour. (You only get the confirmation for the time of the tour the day before as it is decided by the authorities of the Canal so make sure to check your email the day before!). Once aboard, the ship navigated toward the Bay of Panama, eventually reaching the entrance to the Panama Canal. Miraflores, the initial locks, provided an ideal photo opportunity as we observed colossal ships simultaneously transiting. (Venture to the outside deck to marvel at the engineering masterpiece of the lock system, even if you don’t understand about engineering!). Lunch was served between the Miraflores and Pedro Miguel Locks. After the second set of locks, we docked at Gamboa pier, where a waiting bus transported us back to the starting point. The whole tour takes around six-seven hours.

Day 4: Relaxed Morning, Coastal Stroll, Departure

food with coffee

On our final day, we opted for a leisurely morning, relishing breakfast at "Al Alma Cafe" conveniently situated next to the hotel. What a delightful spot! The staff are super friendly, polite and full of enthusiasm for life. The culinary experience matched the charm of the decor.

Post-breakfast, we embarked on a lengthy stroll along the boardwalk, extending to the new city area. Its skyline and surrounding nature resonated with Miami vibes. Returning to the hotel, we checked out and headed straight to the airport for our next adventure. With its flights to South America, the Caribbean and North America, Panama Airport serves as an excellent hub to connect flights and indulge in a few days soaking up the Panamanian vibes.

Need to Know

For more travel tips, check out Fora Advisor Barbara Zerbe's guide, Time to Unwind on a Panamanian Beach.

This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Panama.

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Travel Advisor

Maggie Larrea

Get in touch with Maggie

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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Panama.