Panama may seem far away, but this historic city offers plenty to see and do within driving distance of Newark – history, architecture, ceviche, and rooftop bars all await! Here are four exciting suggestions for Panama Weekend Trips, ensuring that your time here counts as much as possible.
Explore Casco Viejo before visiting Frank Gehry’s eccentric Bio-Diversity Museum and marveling at massive container ships passing through Miraflores locks at Panama Canal.
1. Casco Viejo
Casco Viejo is Panama City’s historic district and hub. With narrow brick streets lining hip coffee shops, breweries, boutiques, and trendy chit-chat spots – Casco Viejo makes for the ideal stroll-able area of Panama City to experience local Panamanian culture first-hand!
Central American offshoot of Havana and New Orleans. Gated courtyards and long windows frame old buildings while street art adds modernity. The district can be divided into four sectors: San Felipe, Santa Ana, Caledonia and El Chorrillo with San Felipe being most well-known and drawing tourist attention, but exploring other neighborhoods should not be discounted either.
At Casco Viejo, there are plenty of colorful spots worth seeing and experiencing, like Mercado de Mariscos (Seafood Market). Residents and tourists alike appreciate its selection of ceviches and inexpensive beer. Paseo Esteban Huertas waterfront walkway adorned with bougainvillea flowers is another colorful stop worth taking advantage of in Casco Viejo.
History enthusiasts must visit the Museo de la Historia for an educational treat, especially when planning their Panama weekend trips. It houses an array of historical artifacts related to French attempts at building the Panama Canal as well as Panamanian independence efforts.
2. Amador Causeway
Attraction: Amador Causeway for anyone, locals or tourists alike! Whether navigating by bike, walking or exploring on foot. Built from rock unearthed during construction of Panama Canal, this man-made peninsula connects islands that once formed part of Panama. Moses Bike Rentals offer bikes at $4 an hour along this protected bike highway and provide stops where you can admire massive container ships at Panama Canal entrance or purchase some pipa fria (iced coconut water).
Returning south, take the ferry ride to Isla Taboga for a tropical oasis featuring postcard Caribbean beaches. Isla Taboga is especially known for Monkey Island – a wild jungle where white-faced monkeys happily jump right on board to say hi and say hello – an unforgettable wildlife encounter which must not be missed by animal enthusiasts!
If you have the energy, a two-hour bus ride will bring you to El Valle – literally meaning “Blue Mountain,” this region boasts breathtaking waterfalls, lakes and world-class hiking trails that will leave an impressionable impression upon any visitor.
Are you seeking an authentic Panamanian experience during your Panama weekend trips? Look no further than Centro Artesanal near Biomuseo for the answer. Located on the ground floor of Figali Convention Center, these stalls sell colorful molas, Embera baskets, and Panama hats – providing visitors with an opportunity to purchase handmade souvenirs at competitive prices.
Pedasi lies at the southern tip of Panama’s Azuero Peninsula and boasts breathtaking Pacific waters that attract local fishermen, adventurous surfers and expats seeking comfort in its simple lifestyle.
Panamanian culture and people are very welcoming, making for an exceptional community spirit in this village, attracting visitors for memorable Panama weekend trips. They take care in watching out for one another and offering assistance, which explains why so many retirees choose Panama as their retirement spot.
Time here moves slowly and freely, as its main plaza makes for easy strolling. Country roads converge from here to smaller villages and stunning beach vistas – providing the ultimate relaxing vacation.
Playa Venao is an oasis in Panama for surfers seeking perfect waves. Visitors come from around the globe to catch its perfect curl, while non-surfers also find peace and serenity here.
Canas Island Wildlife Refuge is an ecological gem that’s home to sea turtles from July through November and offers ecotours for tourists. Kayak through mangroves while looking out for birds, iguanas and monkeys! Though located about 5.5 hours drive from Panama City, its journey will feel like traveling into another world!
4. Bocas del Toro
Bocas del Toro is an archipelago in the Caribbean Sea comprising numerous islands. This destination offers peace, relaxation and beauty – well worth making the journey from Panama City.
Travel to Bocas del Toro, especially for Panama weekend trips, can be simple and cost-effective with advanced planning. While there are multiple means of travel available, the easiest is likely flying into Panama City before taking either a private or shared shuttle from Boquete or David to Almirante and then onto water taxi service at Almirante; this usually takes around 6.5 hours and costs from $30 USD.
Once you arrive on Bocas del Toro, one of the best ways to see and experience it is through tours or staying in hotels that provide excursions. This allows you to visit all the highlights efficiently.
Bocas del Toro offers numerous beach hotels that specialize in snorkeling, diving, kayaking and whale watching activities. Casa Acuario stands out as an exceptional luxury boutique hotel featuring overwater bungalows – it’s the ideal spot for beach lovers close to Bocas Town! La Loma Jungle Lodge also provides unforgettable rainforest experiences – they boast amazing rain forest bungalows including their new “Rainforest King Bungalow,” as well as permaculture farms with award-winning food products and offer one of a kind experiences found anywhere on Bocas del Toro!