Must-see attractions in Panama

  • Museo de la Sal y Azúcar

    Coclé Province

    Officially called the Museo Regional Stella Sierra, but better known by its former title, Museo de la Sal y Azúcar, this museum in the former post office,…

  • Sitio Barriles

    Highlands

    The pre-Columbian ruins at this site 6km west of Volcán along the Río Gariche date from between AD 300 and 900, when the settlement had as many as 1000…

  • Museo Belisario Porras

    Península de Azuero

    South of the main square is the former home of three-time president Belisario Porras, during whose administration the Panama Canal opened. The museum…

  • Museo Casa de Manuel F Zárate

    Península de Azuero

    Set in the former residence of Manuel F Zárate, the folklorist devoted to conserving the traditions of the Azuero region, this museum is a good…

  • Casas de Terrín

    Panama City

    Facing the Plaza Mayor in Panamá Viejo, these houses were built by Francisco Terrín. The better houses were usually built from timber and placed wall to…

  • Casas Reales

    Panama City

    Panamá Viejo's center of power resided at Casas Reales, a complex ringed by timber ramparts and separated from the city proper by a moat. Within the…

  • Baha’i House of Worship

    Panama City

    On the northeastern outskirts of Panama City, the white-domed Baha’i House of Worship is the mother temple for all of Latin America. It looms like a giant…

  • Square-Trunk Trees

    El Valle

    El Valle’s peculiar árboles cuadrados (square-trunk trees) are located northeast of the Hotel Campestre. After a 30-minute hike through the forest and…

  • Mercado de Artesanías La Pintada

    Coclé Province

    La Pintada’s artisans' market – specializing in sombreros pintados, the 'painted hats' unique to Panama and especially famous in Penonomé and surrounds –…

  • Museo Histórico Padre José Noto

    El Valle

    The most interesting exhibits in this small, very central museum divided into seven sections are the ones focusing on petroglyphs and ceramics produced by…

  • Cementerio Francés

    Panama Canal

    This cemetery in Paraíso on the road to Gamboa about 5km north of the Pedro Miguel Locks dates from between 1880 and 1889. Though there are just 300…

  • Fuerte San Lorenzo

    Darién Province

    Just across the Golfo de San Miguel on Isla El Encanto are the ruins of the Fort of St Lawrence slowing being consumed by the jungle. There's not much…

  • Ceramica Hermanos Calderón

    Península de Azuero

    Ceramica Hermanos Calderón is where you can buy traditional painted ceramics at wholesale prices. These pieces are made on the premises in a workshop…

  • Catedral San Juan Bautista

    Península de Azuero

    Unlike many cathedrals that impress through ostentation, this 18th-century number is striking for its elegant simplicity and fine balance of gold and wood…

  • Chorro Las Mozas

    El Valle

    The most accessible of the waterfalls around El Valle is Chorro Las Mozas, located about 2km southwest of town; you can reach it on foot from the center…

  • Playa Barqueta

    Chiriquí Province

    This long and lovely black-sand beach 25km southwest of David is a popular weekend escape for city folk, but you'll have the place all to yourself if you…

  • Castillo Inspíración

    Isla Colón

    French-Canadian Robert Bezeau crafted this four-story castle from 40,000 plastic bottles. The epitome of recycling, it's one of a kind and worth a good…

  • City of Knowledge

    Panama City

    Once the headquarters for the US Southern Command in Panama, ‘Ciudad del Saber’ is today a government-sponsored center for education, research and…

  • Refugio de Vida Silvestre Playa Barqueta

    Chiriquí Province

    The Refugio de Vida Silvestre Playa Barqueta Agricola oversees about 14km of eastern Playa Barqueta, where mangrove and scrub offer protection to four…

  • Fuerte de San Gerónimo

    Darién Province

    Yaviza's only real 'sight' (apart from the wobbly footbridge spanning the Río Chucunaque), the ruined Fort of St Geronimo, built by the Spanish to keep…

  • Playa El Istmito

    Isla Colón

    Playa El Istmito, also called Playa La Cabaña, is the closest beach to Bocas town (2.5km away), but as it's on Bahía Sand Fly the chitras (sand flies)…

  • Fuerte Amador Resort & Marina

    Panama City

    At the end of Isla Flamenco, this complex contains a two-story shopping center, a marina, a cruise-ship terminal and a number of restaurants and bars. At…

  • Basilica Mayor San Juan Bautista

    Coclé Province

    Dominating the central plaza, this 'major basilica' (a title bestowed on certain Roman Catholic cathedrals) stands on the site of an original 16th-century…

  • Isla El Morro

    Panamá Province

    This island off Taboga’s northeast coast contains an English cemetery and a monument erected by the Pacific Steamship Company, which had its headquarters…

  • Museo de Penonomé

    Coclé Province

    This renovated museum housed in a beautiful blue-and-white colonial building is small but does a thorough job examining the history and traditions of…

  • Iglesia y Convento de La Merced

    Panama City

    Erected by the Mercedarian friars in the early 17th century, these Panamá Viejo buildings survived the fire that swept the city following privateer Henry…

  • Bosque Protector de Palo Seco

    Bocas del Toro Province

    This is a lush cloud forest covering more than 167,000 hectares set high in the Talamanca mountains. There are three trails maintained by MiAmbiente in…

  • Pedro Miguel Locks

    Panama Canal

    North past the Miraflores Locks, the Pedro Miguel Locks can be seen from the highway to Gamboa. One hundred meters beyond the locks there’s a parking…

  • Playa Punch

    Isla Colón

    Further up the coast from Playa El Istmito and Sand Dollar Beach is Playa Punch (or Paunch), which is dangerous for swimming but good for surfing. It's…

  • Paseo las Bóvedas

    Panama City

    This esplanade runs along the top of the sea wall built by the Spanish to protect the city. From here, you can see the Puente de las Américas arching over…

  • Ella Puru

    Panamá Province

    Located within the Parque Nacional Soberanía, this Emberá indigenous community has been receiving visitors for years. You can take cultural tours, watch…

  • Playa Chame

    Panamá Province

    The beach on the southern side of the peninsula has lovely tan sand and a wilderness backdrop. The area is notorious for stingrays, though, so swim with…

  • Iglesia de San José

    Panama City

    In Panamá Viejo, Iglesia de San José belonged to the Augustine order. Of special interest here are the building’s vaulted side chapels, an architectural…

  • Playa Restinga

    Panamá Province

    Right (north) of the pier as you arrive by boat, Taboga's main beach links to the tiny Isla El Morro at low tide by a sandbar.

  • Cabildo de la Ciudad

    Panama City

    Facing the Plaza Mayor in Panamá Viejo, the Cabildo de la Ciudad was built by one of the city’s wealthiest citizens, Francisco Terrín, in the early 17th…

  • Museo Afro-Antilleano

    Panama City

    The small Afro-Antillean museum has exhibits on the history of Panama’s West Indian community, particularly their work building the railroad and later the…

  • Bayamón

    Darién Province

    This Emberá village south of Sambú is worth visiting. Get here by public bus (US$1), which runs along the paved road leading south from town between 6am…

  • Puente del Matadero

    Panama City

    This awkwardly over-restored stone bridge in Panamà Viejo took its name from a nearby slaughterhouse. It marked the beginning of the Camino Real to…

  • Palacio de las Garzas

    Panama City

    The Palacio de las Garzas is named after the great garzas blancas (white herons) that reside here. The president of Panama lives on the upper floor.

  • Palacio Municipal

    Panama City

    This neoclassical Casco Viejo building, dating to 1910, houses the modest Museo de Historia de Panamá.

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