Thinking back about my 18-day trip to Panama, it has definitely been one of the best trips I have ever taken. I didn’t really know what to expect but I absolutely fell in love with this small Central American country. If you are looking for a place that is super diverse, has amazing wildlife and friendly locals, Panama is the place for you. Here is the perfect Panama itinerary including how to spend two weeks in Panama, enjoy!
If you are flying into Panama or coming from Colombia by boat then you will be starting your Panama itinerary in the capital of Panama City. And if you are coming from Costa Rica then just read this post the other way around.
Panama city is great! The first day I walked along the coastal walk and locals just randomly started talking to me and welcoming me to Panama, that has never happened before.
In general, most locals have been super welcoming and friendly which made solo female travel in Panama an amazing experience!
Day 1: Explore Panama City
Day 2-3 Beautiful San Blas Islands
Day 4: Visit the Panama Canal in Panama City
Day 5-7: Surfing in Santa Catalina
Day 7-9: Coffee Tour and Hiking in Boquete
Day 9-11: Nature at Lost and Found
Day 11-14: Island life in Bocas del Toro
But first of all, some general things you will need for two weeks in Panama:
Skyscanner: Find the cheapest flight to and from Panama
Hostelworld: All the very best hostel deals
italki.com: Brush up on some Spanish and speak with some native speakers. Sign up now and get $10 of italki credit if you ever spend $20 on lessons
Day 1: Discover Panama City
Panama City is the capital and also the largest city in Panama. What this city is probably most famous for is the Panama Canal.
There is a lot to see in Panama City. What you should definitely not miss out on, is the Coastal Walk (Cinta Costera) and the Old Town (Casco Viejo) of the capital. Casco Viejo is the historical district, which displays a variety of architectural styles.
Try out Panama’s traditional dish “Ceviche”, which you can find at the fish market on the end of the Cinta Costera.
Also read: 5 things you should see in Panama City
Day 2: San Blas Islands
San Blas, or Guna Yala, is a province in Northeastern Panama. In total there are 365 islands that belong to that district. However, only 49 of the islands are inhabited.
The islands are absolutely beautiful and great for snorkelling or enjoying life far away from civilisation. There are organised tours from Panama City that will take you to one of the islands.
You can do a day trip or stay for a night or two. As it takes about four hours to get there, including the boat and car ride, I would suggest to stay one night at least on one of the islands.
Day 3: Travel from San Blas to Panama City
After having spent a night on the San Blas Islands, you will return to Panama City early in the morning and arrive back in the capital around noon.
And of course there is one thing that needs to be included in any Panama itinerary. Now you can visit Panama’s most famous attraction: the Panama Canal. Either take a taxi or a Uber to get there, as there is no public transport connection.
If you still have time after that, you can do some shopping. There are some great shopping malls in the city, such as Multiplaza shopping centre. And if you are staying in Panama City for longer and looking for more activities to do, definitely check out this ultimate guide to Panama City.
Day 4: Travel from Panama City to Santa Catalina
Get up early in the morning and head to Albrook Bus Terminal. From there you can catch a local bus (8:20am or 10:20am) to Soná, from where you can catch another bus to Santa Catalina. (There are also later busses but then you will miss the connection bus)
It takes about 4,5 hours to get to Soná. Busses from Soná to Santa Catalina leave at 1:30pm, 2:40pm (apart from holidays and Sundays) and 4:30pm and it will take you another 1,5 hours.
Santa Catalina is a small town, which is mostly know for being a great spot for surfing and scuba diving.
Day 5: Go surfing in Santa Catalina
Rent a surf board and enjoy the waves, scuba dive or go on a day trip to the National Marine Park of Coiba Island. Santa Catalina isn’t one of the most popular or busy destinations but it really positively surprised me.
Day 6: Travel from Santa Catalina to Boquete
To get to Boquete, you can either take public transportation again or take a shuttle bus. Going by public bus will take two stopovers this time (Soná and David) and will therefore take quite a lot of time, so I would suggest the shuttle bus.
The shuttle costs $35 and you can book it online or at your accommodation. At leaves at noon so you still have the morning to catch some waves or walk along the beach. It takes about five hours to Boquete.
Tip: Stay at Bambuda Castle Hostel, which was one of the coolest hostels I have ever stayed in. Only $10 a night in the dorm and there is a pool, a whirlpool, and you can enjoy a lovely view on the balcony. (not sponsored in any way, I just really loved this hostel) And it is legit in a castle!
Day 7: Beautiful nature in Boquete
If you have two weeks in Panama or just a week, one place you need to include in your Panama itinerary is Boquete. Boquete is a great place for hiking, the nature is beautiful! If you are lucky you can also see some great wildlife! I saw some hummingbirds and a snake.
If you are in good physical shape then you should definitely hike the Volcán Barú, the biggest volcano in Panama. I didn’t do it which I really regret but I heard it is really difficult as well.
You start late at night and then spend about six hours hiking in the dark, so you will see the sunrise on the top. It is supposed to get really cold on the top so pack appropriately! And then after you still have to make your way back to the bottom but it should be a memorable experience for sure.
Day 8: A coffee tour in Boquete
Relax after the long hike or if you didn’t hike the volcano (like me), go on a coffee tour in Boquete, Panama . I’m not even a big fan of coffee but Panama and especially Boquete is famous for its coffee farms.
The tours itself are pretty interesting as you will not only learn about how to grow coffee but also learn about all the struggles that a lot of coffee farmers face.
Day 9: Boquete to Lost and Found
Take a bus to David and from there the bus in the direction to Bocas del Toro and tell the driver that you want to go to Lost & Found.
Day 10: Hiking around the Lost and Found Hostel
Lost and Found is an eco-friendly hostel in the middle of nowhere to be precise. But it is a famous backpacker spot when traveling between Bocas del Toro and Boquete. Spend the day lying around in hammocks and reading a good book. It is quite a unique experience. Also great again for some hiking and enjoying the nature before heading back to the beach.
Day 11: Lost and Found to Bocas del Toro.
Walk down all the steps back to the street where you got dropped of and wait for the bus to Bocas del Toro. Take the bus all the way to the last stop, then a taxi to the pier and lastly a boat to the main island Isla Colon.
Day 12-14 of the Panama itinerary: Enjoy the Bocas del Toro beach life
Enjoy your time on Bocas del Toro. Go island hopping, surfing, diving or walk around the island.
There is a huge island bar crawl (Filthy Friday) every Friday which you should definitely not miss out on when you are on Bocas on a Friday.
And that concludes two weeks in Panama. Now after Bocas del Toro you can either fly back to Panama City or move on to Costa Rica. The closest stop in Costa Rica on the gringo trail is Puerto Viejo de Talamanca. It will take you around 2.5 hours to get there (one to the border and 1.5 hours to Puerto Viejo).
Do you want to know if a trip to Panama fits your budget? I wrote down all my expenses in Panama to give you an idea of what costs you can expect.
If you have more time in Panama than you can easily spend another day in Panama City or take a day trip to the historic town of Porto Belo. In Porto Belo you can visit Spanish forts and it is home to the Cristo Negro (Black Jesus) statue.
If you just want to surf, dive or relax then you could basically spend an unlimited amount of time in beautiful Bocas del Toro. I could have honestly also spend a lot more time in Santa Catalina.
So this was my perfect two week Panama itinerary about how to spend two weeks in Panama! Would you have to add anything? Have you traveled to Panama? Let me know 🙂
Much love x
And if you are looking for cheap accommodation in Panama then Hostelworld will be able to offer you the best possible deals! It’s my favourite website on the Internet when looking for accommodation around the world! 🙂
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