Top things to do

Top Choice Panamanian in Panama City

Donde José

Elevating humble Panamanian staples to haute cuisine, this four-table eatery is Panama's hottest reservation, though overpriced. Chef Jose prepares ñandu beans (native black beans), crisp, tender pork and ñame (an…
Top Choice Museum in Panama City

BioMuseo

Celebrating Panama as the land bridge that has permitted astonishing biodiversity in the region, this museum is a visual feast. World-renowned architect Frank Gehry, who created the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao (Spai…
Top Choice Spanish in Panama City

Madrigal

Pure delight, this upscale eatery from Michelin-starred chef Andrés Madrigal has a fetish for details. Start with sea-bass ceviche (citrus-cured seafood) with coconut foam, slivers of hot pepper and passionfruit mou…
Top Choice Art in Portobelo

Galería Casa Congo

A wonderful gallery with museum-quality pieces made by Panamanian photographers, crafts people and artists. Helpful displays explain the cultural background of the groups represented, including Afro-Caribbean and in…
Top Choice Indian in Panama City

Avatar

Serving rich kormas, fragrant rice and complex curries in a swanky piano bar, Avatar is sheer delight for spice enthusiasts. Southern Indian cuisine is the house specialty, though if you want it really hot you will …
Top Choice Festival in Las Tablas

Carnaval

Held over the four days preceding Ash Wednesday, Panama's best Carnaval celebration sees floats and musicians parading parallel streets at dusk, and fireworks at night. The queens appear on Saturday night and their …
Top Choice Park in Isla Bastimentos

Parque Nacional Marino Isla Bastimentos

Established in 1988, this 132-sq-km marine park was Panama's first. Protecting 130 islands of the Bocas del Toro archipelago, including the coral-fringed Cayos Zapatillas, and the wetlands in the center of Isla Bast…
Top Choice Seafood in Farallón & Playa Blanca

Pipa’s Beach Restaurant

Love, love, love this mostly outdoor bar and restaurant hard by the beach and serving seafood with gourmet touches (think Thai mussels and crab claws in three sauces). One of the delights of dining here is enjoying …
Top Choice Middle Eastern in Pedasí

Bienvenidush

Love, love, love this place serving inventive dishes with Middle Eastern (especially Israeli) accents and lots of vegetarian choices. There are tapas (US$3) and sandwiches (US$6 to US$8) if you're just peckish. You'…
Top Choice Panamanian in David

Cuatro

This sleek eatery turns out sophisticated, modern takes on cocina local (local cuisine). Classic Panamanian basics such as cassava, tamales and new corn get gourmet treatment; be prepared for some happy surprises. S…