What to do in Panama?

Que faire au Panama ?

Welcome to my account of my recent trip to Panama, a destination that dazzled me with its natural beauty, vibrant culture, and endless adventures.

Bocas del Toro: Immersion on the Island

From the moment I arrived in Bocas del Toro, I was greeted by a relaxed island atmosphere that immediately enveloped me.

Bocas del Toro, an archipelago located on the northwest coast of Panama, is a true tropical gem that attracts travelers from around the world.

My stay at Selina Bocas del Toro was simple yet comfortable, featuring a youthful and friendly vibe.

I started my day with a snorkeling trip to Cayo Zapatilla, which was an unforgettable experience with its crystal-clear waters and colorful marine life. Swimming among the corals and tropical fish was quite commonplace here.

On one of the secluded beaches of Cayo Zapatilla, I noticed a small group of people gathered in the distance. Intrigued, I approached and discovered an extraordinary sight: dozens of tiny newborn turtles making their way out of the sand and heading towards the ocean.

It was a truly magical, almost surreal moment. The little turtles, barely larger than my palm, seemed determined and brave as they faced the long journey to the ocean.

Photos taken with the Pro-2 Pack

I sat on the sand, completely captivated by the spectacle before me. Eventually, the little turtles reached the ocean, where they disappeared into the waves with surprising grace and agility.

In the evening, I joined the lively atmosphere of the Aqua Lounge, a bar on stilts where travelers from all over the world gathered to share stories and laughs over exotic cocktails. The sunsets were spectacular, painting the sky in warm, golden hues, while reggae music resonated in the air.

The next morning, it was more of the same. I decided to go on a boat excursion to explore the crystal-clear waters surrounding the archipelago. As we sailed along the coast, the captain spotted a group of dolphins playing in the waves in the distance. He immediately directed the boat towards them, and we had the chance to observe them up close.

It was an absolutely captivating sight. The dolphins swam alongside the boat and played right in front of us...

Fun fact: The islands of Bocas del Toro are home to a wide variety of dolphins, including the long-beaked and the pantropical spotted dolphin.

Boquete: Retreat in the Mountains

Leaving the enchanting atmosphere of Bocas del Toro, I headed towards the lush green mountains of Boquete.

Boquete enjoys a spring-like climate all year round, with mild temperatures and sunny days. Surrounded by Panama's mountains, the region offers spectacular panoramic views of lush landscapes, winding rivers, and waterfalls.

You will find many American retirees living there.

I settled into the Boquete Tree Trek Mountain Resort, a rustic but comfortable hotel, with wooden chalets nestled among the trees. The view of the mountains from my room was breathtaking.

After a morning of exploring the lush green mountains of Boquete, I set out to discover the picturesque waterfalls scattered throughout the region. The afternoon promised to be promising, with radiant sun and fresh mountain air. Armed with my curiosity and my camera, I ventured onto the winding trails leading to Boquete's hidden natural wonders.

Photos taken with the Pro-2 Pack

The soothing sound of flowing water accompanied me throughout my hike, creating a natural symphony that seemed to guide me to my destination. At every turn of the trail, I was rewarded with breathtaking views of lush vegetation and majestic mountains that rose on the horizon.

Finally, I reached my first waterfall, and what a wonder it was! The crystal-clear water cascaded down from the heights, creating a sparkling foam curtain that shimmered in the sunlight. I approached with awe, feeling the fine water droplets on my face, a true refreshment when temperatures can reach up to 35°C.

After some time, I continued on my way, eager to explore other waterfalls that awaited me in this enchanting region. With each new discovery, my wonder only grew, and my afternoon turned into a magical and unforgettable adventure in the heart of nature.

At dusk, I decided to return to my hotel, but unfortunately, there are few taxis in this remote area. There was only one thing to do, walk back. (2h)

Fact: During my visit to Boquete, it rained a lot, so I was unable to hike the trails of Volcan Baru National Park, which offered breathtaking panoramas of the lush jungle and verdant valleys below. Even in 4x4s, it is forbidden to climb due to the risk of getting stuck.


Santa Catalina, a Lost Paradise

Santa Catalina is a small fishing community located on the Pacific coast of Panama, renowned for its spectacular waves and world-class diving spots.

My first day in Santa Catalina started early, with the soothing sound of waves crashing against the shore waking me up. Despite the lack of electricity, I was thrilled to find myself in the heart of this rustic and authentic community.

After a simple breakfast by daylight, I headed to the beach, eager to discover the famous waves of Santa Catalina. La Punta, the iconic surf spot. But I wasn't prepared for such a current. At knee height, the waves could simply knock you over. I chose to take no risks and stayed on the shore to watch the pros!

After a busy morning, I enjoyed a hearty seafood lunch at one of the modest beachside restaurants.

In the afternoon, I ventured into the surroundings of Santa Catalina to explore the natural beauty of the area. I followed winding hiking trails that cut through dense jungle, stopping regularly to admire the breathtaking panoramas of the ocean and distant islands.

The next day, I went on three shark dives.

Everything starts with the agency's briefing. Then it's about an hour boat ride to a deserted island.

In total, we saw no less than 7 reef sharks just a few meters away.

At first, the idea of swimming near sharks filled me with excitement mixed with a hint of apprehension. But once I saw these magnificent creatures up close, any fear was swept away by a feeling of pure awe.

It was an unforgettable experience. Instead of feeling fear, I felt respect and admiration for these magnificent ocean predators.

Photos taken with the Pro-2 Pack

Panama City: A Dynamic City

My journey ended in Panama City, a dynamic metropolis where skyscrapers abound and the city's electric energy is almost palpable. The accommodation at the American Trade Hotel was elegant and sophisticated.

My days were filled with urban discoveries - exploring the cobblestone alleys of Casco Viejo, a historic district full of colonial charm, visiting the famous Panama Canal and its impressive Miraflores Locks, and experiencing the lively nightlife of the city. This was a stark contrast to the rest of my trip, as here you find yourself in the 21st century with skyscrapers and new architecture.

The restaurants offered innovative fusion cuisine, mixing traditional Panamanian flavors with international influences. And after dinner, I joined the crowd in the bars and clubs, dancing to the mesmerizing rhythm of Latin music until the early hours of the morning.

Photos taken with the Pro-2 Pack

Panama City was an explosion of cultures and contrasts, a place where one could feel ancient history and modernity mingling in the air. It was the perfect grand finale to my trip to Panama.

Fun fact: Panama City is home to the largest metropolitan area in Central America, with a diverse and dynamic population representing many cultures and nationalities.

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