Panama A family's experience.

Thinking about a family trip to Panama? Stop thinking. Do it! It's a perfect location for a family trip. It is close to the U.S. with direct flights from many major cities and uses the dollar as its currency, so it is especially easy. Here are some of the things you can do and some of the destinations you could travel to:

Panama Canal - you can do a short boat trip in the canal and see the big ships pass. You should also visit the nice visitors center and see one of the locks in action.
Casco Viejo - definitely visit the old town and see historic buildings, cathedrals and visit the museum there. There's good eating here as well.
Amador Causeway - a nice place to walk and see the skyline, have lunch and visit a big artesanal market.
Santa Clara Beach - Very nice beach on the Pacific side that can be reached in under 2 hours. It can easily be done as a day-trip from Panama City.
Near the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute near Panama City in Barro Colorado. This is a great way to spend a day.
Portobelo: An old city close to Isla Grande with an impressive fort. Really nice and doable in a day-trip. On the way you may stop and see the "Black Christ."
View of the Black Christ Church
Panama City seen from high above on Ancón Hill. This is a nice way to spend an afternoon. Climb to the top of the hill and on your way back treat yourself to lunch at the lovely Country Store.
Valle de Anton: A village up in the mountains where the air is fresh. There is a big Sunday market worth visiting and then you can hike on a trail to see some animals and birds. I really enjoyed this trip; but it's at least an overnighter.
Last, you might want to catch some baseball. The season is in full swing during the time of your visit. Any game at Rod Carew Stadium is a great experience!

Bocas del Toro

This is where we went in December, 2014 - January, 2015. It is a gorgeous group of islands in the Atlantic with accommodations ranging from backpacker inns to high-end resorts. It takes around 8-10 hours to drive there form Panama City. We took a domestic flight that leaves from the local airport in Panama City--very easy to get to.

Other Places to consider

  • Isla Grande - Another nice beach on the Caribbean side that is also great for a day-trip. Less than 2 hours away.
  • Zipline Adventures: About 1.5 hours away from Panama City there's a zipline adventure company where you can place yourselves in harnesses and zip through the rainforest!
  • Contadora Island - Small island on the Pacific side with several really nice hotels. White beaches and very tranquil. You can take a 30 min flight there or take the boat from Panama City. The boat ride takes only 1 hour and 40 minutes so you can even go over the day.
  • Taboga Island - an even smaller island than Contadora. Good for a day trip, I am told.
  • San Blas Archipelago - a group of islands in the Caribbean managed completely by the native people of the Kuna Yala tribe. You fly (20 minutes) or go by car (4 hours) to a village on the coast. Then take a boat to one of the islands where you stay in a rustic bungalow. Rates usually include all meals and they will serve you what they catch that day. Fish, lobster, etc. It's simple fare but served in paradise.
Created By
Lawrence Swiader


Lawrence Swiader, Zoe Leoudaki

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