In this strip of land bordering two oceans, you’ll find a pristine, virgin Caribbean island paradise, a volcano from which you can see the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans at the same time, bird biodiversity that is only matched by few countries, the world’s most expensive coffee beans, thrilling ziplines through the cloudforest, a maritime route of global importance, and a town set in the crater of a dead volcano.
Compared to other countries in the region, there are several unique things to do in Panama. The locals have been enjoying these for a while, and if you can visit this country in Central America and not miss any of these wonderful things, you’re in for a treat.
So, Here Is The List 9 Unique Things To Do In Panama You Should Definitely Not Miss:
1. Hike the Barú Volcano
Located in the town of Boquete, in the province of Chiriquí, Panama, the Barú Volcano is Panama’s only active volcano, with an total altitude of 3,417m over sea level. The hike to the top of the Barú Volcano, is one of the most unique hikes in the world due to one reason. At the top of it, you can see both the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea at the same time, on a clear day. It’s the only place in the world where you can do that.
To get this view it is recommended to visit during the dry season(December to April), when it is less likely that a thick cloud cover that usually surrounds the volcano will obscure your view of the both the Pacific Ocean or Caribbean Sea.
Here is what the beginning of the hike to the volcano itself looks like in Boquete, Panama:
2. Bird-Watch a Record Number of Birds
In the exuberant, lush green rainforests that are in the vicinity of Panama City, you’ll find a hiking trails and parks that are every bird-watcher’s dream. Panama was recently given a recognition as the top place to bird-watch in Central America and 6th in the world.
Inside of Soberanía National Park and the Gamboa Rainforest, you can find up to 250 different of species of birds.
3. Check Out The World’s Largest Inhabited Volcano Crater
El Valle de Antón is a cute little town that is around 2-3 hours by car from Panama City. The town is set in the crater of an extinct volcano, and is the world’s largest inhabited volcano crater.
In the town, you can visit a waterfall, hike in the surrounding mountains, ride horses, take a bath in thermal pools, but most of all enjoy the scenic drive up to the town, which some visitors have described as spectacular, and containing a breathtaking view of the mountains at every turn.
4. Taste The World’s Most Expensive Coffee
The most expensive variety of coffee in the world, the Geisha coffee, grows in Panama. The Geisha coffee beans usually sell for around 1300$ a pound, mostly to international buyers in Asia and the Middle East.
Geisha grows in the town of Boquete and adjacent areas, in the Chiriquí province of Panama. Panama’s Geisha has obtained in the top score for quality in international tasting competitions, making it the highest quality coffee in the world, as well as the most expensive one. Panama’s geography, microclimates, rich soil and altitude make Panama’s Geisha unique.
While it is expensive, most coffee tours in the town of Boquete, Panama will offer you a cup of Geisha for free as part of the tour, which includes a mandatory tasting of the several varieties of coffee grown in the region.
5. Check Out The F&F Tower
Located in Calle 50 (or 5oth street in English), the busy main street of Panama’s capital, is a unique, stunning skyscraper that impresses any passerby.
The F&F Tower, colloquially known as “El Tornillo” tower in Panama, was completed in 2011 and is one of the best examples of modern architecture of the world in the 21st century. Some describe it as a glass tornado that falls from the sky.
If you are an architecture fan, you’ll want to make sure to check out this stunning building. A good spot for checking it out is in Soho Mall’s Nacion Sushi restaurant, which is located directly in front of it and offers stunning rooftop views of it and various other buildings that are in Calle 50.
6. Visit An Archipelago of 365 Islands
Surrounded by transparent blue waters and pristine beaches, the San Blas Islands archipelago is a hidden gem in the Caribbean. This Caribbean paradise consists of 365 islands, of which only 49 are inhabited. Their hurricane-free weather, proximity to Panama City, virgin and pristine status, transparent blue waters make them a unique destination, ideal for those who love undiscovered gems.
You can get to the San Blas Islands in three different ways. A 4×4 vehicle and then a water taxi, a plane the airport that is closest to them, and by chartering a boat and sailing there yourself.
The preferred option by the locals in Panama City is the car option, which is the cheapest option. The locals who don’t own a 4×4 vehicle mostly book a tour through one of various tour agencies in the city, who handle everything including transportation.
7. Do The World’s Only Zipline On An Active Volcano
Located at 2,400m over sea level, is the world’s only zipline on an active volcano, in the town of Boquete, Panama. It consists of 8 lines and reaches a speed of up to 75 km/h and a length of 550m.
As if this wasn’t enough though, the area surrounding the zipline is stunningly beautiful, with eucalyptus trees, flowers, clouds, and unique bird biodiversity(around 250 different species of birds) near you in the Baru Volcano National Park.
On a clear day, you have views of the Pacific Ocean from a few of the zipline stations, when the capricious cloud cover that usually surrounds the Barú Volcano relents to give way to an amazing view. But when the volcanic area is covered in clouds or fog, it gives the zipline stations a movie-like setting that is also completely beautiful:
8. Watch Giant Ships Go Through The Panama Canal
One of the most unique things to do in Panama, is of course, visiting the Panama Canal. You can watch the giant ships traversing the 82 km waterway at the Panama Canal Miraflores Visitor Center, which is close to Panama City.
The entrance at the Miraflores Visitor Center is at 20$ for adults and 12$ for children aged 6-12 (Admission is free for children younger than 6 years old).
9. See One Of The Most Beautiful Birds In The World
The resplendent quetzal (Pharomachrus mocinno) features in several places as one of the most beautiful birds in the world, and can only be found in Central America.
In Panama, you’ll find the quetzal in the province of Chiriquí, in all the towns adjacent to the Barú Volcano, including the town of Boquete.
A good spot for seeing quetzales is in the town of Boquete in a trail called Sendero de los Quetzales(Or Quetzals’ Trail in English) which is beautiful, and where you are allowed to camp and see them. The most propitious time to see them is from September to
Who would have thought you could do all of that in a tiny strip of land that is Panama? It definitely has amazing things to offer when compared to other countries in the region. Definitely, add this list unique things to do in Panama to your bucket list, and you won’t regret it.