One week in Panama is an excellent amount of time to explore the country's vibrant capital, hike in its highlands, and cruise between idyllic Caribbean islands. Panama City is a natural gateway, and a day or two here gives you ample time to explore its cultural highlights and the nearby Panama Canal. Then, include Valle de Antón, Boquete, or Santa Fe for time in the country's mountainous interior, while the San Blas Islands and Bocas del Toro are ideal spots for snorkeling and cruising among tropical islands.

Itinerary #1: Panama Culture & Nature Highlights Tour

Perfect for first-time visitors to Panama who are eager for a sampling of the country's cultural and natural wonders, this weeklong tour features Panama City and Valle de Antón. Throughout, expert guides will reveal historic secrets during city tours and lead the way through diverse jungles and into remote villages. Other highlights include a kayak excursion on the Panama Canal, a Jeep tour through cloud forests, and an idyllic catamaran cruise among the San Blas Islands.

Kick off your week in Panama in the capital's historic Casco Antiguo
Kick off your week in Panama in the capital's historic Casco Antiguo
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Panama City Panama City
Day 2 Visit Miraflores Locks & Casco Antiguo, Sea Kayak on the Panama Canal Panama City
Day 3 Nature & Indigenous Culture Tour Along the Río Chagres  Panama City
Day 4 Transfer to Valle de Antón, Village Cultural Tour Valle de Antón
Day 5 Cloud Forest Jeep Tour, Hike to Mirador Cerro La Cruz Valle de Antón
Day 6 Return to Panama City, San Blas Islands Boat Tour Panama City
Day 7 Depart Panama City  

Welcome to Panama! Your adventure begins in Panama City, and after transferring from the airport to your hotel, the rest of the day is yours to explore independently. Choose to laze on the beach or stroll through the historic area of Casco Antiguo. Then, uncover many more of the city's sights the following morning during a guided tour featuring the Miraflores Locks and Plaza de Francia, and spend the evening kayaking the Panama Canal. While based in Panama City, you'll also take advantage of the city's proximity to Chagres National Park, where a nature and Indigenous culture tour along the Río Chagres awaits.

Midway through your trip, transfer to the picturesque mountain town of Valle de Antón, nestled within a massive volcanic crater. Kickstart your stay here with an experience of your choice, perhaps visiting the Choro El Macho Waterfall or embarking on a cultural tour. Next, dedicate a day to checking out Valle de Antón's countryside, which is explorable by Jeep, and the evening admiring far-stretching views from Mirador Cerro La Cruz. You'll then spend the afternoon of Day 6 cruising around the San Blas Islands on a catamaran before wrapping up your vacation with a leisurely evening back in Panama City. Learn more

Itinerary #2: Panama City & the Caribbean Coast: Culture, History & Nature

Experience Panama's vibrant culture, rich history, and stunning natural beauty on this itinerary. Ideal for those eager to mix adventure activities with insightful culture and gastronomic experiences, you'll spend three nights each in Panama City and the quaint fishing village of Portobelo—both of which are surrounded by dense jungle and welcoming communities. Throughout, you'll attend cultural shows, canoe along the Río Chagres, sample traditional dishes at local restaurants, and tick off a hike in San Lorenzo National Park.

Walk in the footsteps of pirates on Panama's Caribbean coast
Walk in the footsteps of pirates on Panama's Caribbean coast
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Panama City, Cultural Experience Dinner Panama City
Day 2 Nature & Indigenous Culture Tour Along the Río Chagres Panama City
Day 3 Transfer to Portobelo, Gastronomic Experience in Colón Portobelo
Day 4 Portobelo Kayaking Tour, Visit San Lorenzo Portobelo
Day 5 Historic Portobelo Tour & Traditional Dance Performance Portobelo
Day 6 Transfer to Panama City, Dinner in Casco Antiguo Panama City
Day 7 Cruise the Panama Canal, Depart Panama City  

Upon arrival at Tocumen International Airport, you'll be met by a driver and whisked to your hotel in Panama City. Your first afternoon is perfect for shaking off travel weariness with a leisurely walk through the historic Panama Viejo and a delightful dinner paired with a traditional folklore show. The following day, head to Chagres National Park for a guided canoe journey up the Río Chagres and to visit an Indigenous Embera village. Then, transfer north to the Caribbean coastal town of Portobelo, where you'll immediately feel the slower pace of life while beach hopping and visiting local markets.

With two more days based in Portobelo, you'll find plenty of opportunity to delve into the diverse landscapes and history of the region. Start with an exciting kayak excursion through Río Cascajal's mangrove tree tunnels, then head to San Lorenzo National Park for a guided rainforest hike. Your final day in Portobelo is spent touring the village's historical sites and watching a traditional dance. Lastly, return to Panama City to conclude your adventure with a leisurely afternoon, a three-course dinner, and, time permitting, a morning cruise along the Panama Canal. Learn more

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Itinerary #3: Rainforests, Cloud Forests & Beaches of Panama

Delight in a fine-tuned mix of city excursions, jungle hikes, and time along the Caribbean on this weeklong itinerary in Panama. Starting in Panama City, you'll explore its historic center and visit the iconic Panama Canal. Then, catch a flight to Boquete for an overnight in the highlands. The last leg of the journey features three spectacular days of snorkeling, cruising, and relaxing on the idyllic islands of Bocas del Toro, making this adventure perfect for those eager to spend time on the sea without missing out on cultural highlights. 

 Discover some of Panama's wildlife on this weeklong tour
Discover some of Panama's wildlife on this weeklong tour
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Panama City, Casco Antiguo Walking Tour & Dinner Panama City
Day 2 Cruise the Panama Canal & Visit Miraflores Locks Panama City
Day 3 Fly to Boquete, Bees & Butterflies Tour, Coffee Tasting Boquete
Day 4 Boquete Cloud Forest Hike, Transfer to Bocas del Toro Bocas del Toro
Day 5 Discover Isla Bastimentos Marine National Park Bocas del Toro
Day 6 Cacao Workshop & Dolphin Bay Sailing Trip, Turtle Nesting Experience Bocas del Toro
Day 7 Transfer to Panama City, Depart  

Your adventure begins in the vibrant and historical Panama City, where you'll spend two days exploring the city's architectural marvels and significant landmarks. With a guide, you'll delve into the charming Casco Antiguo, featuring the Teatro Nacional and the Church of San José, and enjoy a journey along the Panama Canal on a passenger boat. Then, on Day 3, head back to the airport for a brief flight to the charming mountain town of Boquete, nestled in Panama's highlands. Here, you'll experience a visit to a butterfly house and honey farm, followed by an enlightening tour of the Río Cristal Coffee Plantation.

Before leaving Boquete, tick off an activity of your choice in the morning, with options including a half-day adventure to Los Cangilones de Gualaca and a hike in La Amistad National Park. Afterward, transfer by vehicle and boat to the Bocas del Toro archipelago, a group of picturesque Caribbean islands. Over two full days in this tropical paradise, you'll have ample time to explore the aquatic marvels of Isla Bastimentos National Marine Park, visit a chocolate farm, and observe turtle nesting at Playa El Bluff. Then, on your last full day, return to Panama City in preparation for your onward flight. Learn more

Itinerary #4: Panama City & San Blas Islands Sailing Escape

Board a luxury catamaran to discover the idyllic San Blas Islands on this Panama sailing escape. Throughout the five-day cruise, you'll snorkel tropical-fished-filled reefs, learn about the archipelago's timeless local Guna Yala tribe, and spend your nights falling asleep to the serene sounds of the ocean. Plus, with two days in Panama City to start the trip, this itinerary is perfect for those who love both the city and the sea.

Explore the culture and beaches of the San Blas Islands on this seven-day tour
Explore the culture and beaches of the San Blas Islands on this seven-day tour
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Panama City, Miraflores Locks & Casco Antiguo Panama City
Day 2 Day Trip to Portobelo & the Caribbean Coast Panama City
Day 3 Transfer to San Blas Islands, Board Catamaran Cruise (Day 1) San Blas Islands
Day 4 Catamaran Cruise (Day 2): Explore Isla Diablo San Blas Islands
Day 5 Catamaran Cruise (Day 3): Snorkeling & Swimming at Isla Perro Chico San Blas Islands
Day 6 Catamaran Cruise (Day 4): Discover Isla Waili San Blas Islands
Day 7 Transfer to Panama City, Depart  

After arriving at Tocumen International Airport and transferring to your hotel in Panama City to refresh, your trip begins with a fascinating visit to the Miraflores Locks, followed by a guided tour through the city's historic district. Next, embark on a day trip to the charming fishing village of Portobelo, where you'll delve into the city's past while touring The Plaza and watching a traditional dance show at San Jerónimo Fort. Then, on the morning of Day 3, set your sights on the tropical San Blas Islands for a five-day cruise onboard a luxury catamaran.

You'll first sail to the island of Isla Diablo. After a restful evening sleeping to the rhythm of the waves, you'll hop off the boat and spend an afternoon on this tiny island, learning about the local Guna Yala tribe's traditions and crafts. The following day, sail to nearly uninhabited Isla Perro Chico (Dog Island), where you'll snorkel a reef created by a sunken gunship. Your final full day among the San Blas Islands brings you to Isla Waili for another day of snorkeling, swimming, and relaxing. Then, enjoy one last night on the water before returning to Panama City to catch your onward flight. Learn more

Itinerary #5: Panama Off-the-Beaten-Path Road Trip

Crafted for travelers who enjoy the freedom of a rental car, this off-the-beaten-track road trip takes you from the bustling capital city through the highlands to the unspoiled Azuero Peninsula. During the self-drive adventure, you'll swim in natural pools near Slot Canyon Waterfall, conquer short hikes in Santa Fe National Park, and explore Coiba National Park by boat. Other highlights include a cooking class and cultural show in Panama City, a cruise along the Panama Canal, and a boat tour of Isla Iguana National Park.

Get off the beaten path as you head into the Panamanian highlands near Santa Fe
Get off the beaten path as you head into the Panamanian highlands near Santa Fe
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Panama City, Tour & Cooking Class in Casco Antiguo Panama City
Day 2 Drive to Valle de Antón, Cultural Tour & Slot Canyon Waterfall Valle de Antón
Day 3 Drive to Santa Fe, Santa Fe National Park Highlights & Night Hike  Santa Fe
Day 4 Drive to Playa Venao, Coiba National Park Boat Tour Playa Venao
Day 5 Drive to Pedasí, Discover Isla Iguana National Park Pedasí
Day 6 Drive to Panama City, Cultural Experience Dinner Panama City
Day 7 Panama Canal Cruise, Depart Panama City  

Before hitting the road, your trip begins with a day in Panama City, and thanks to an expert guide, you'll have time to explore the historic district of Casco Antiguo, visit a local market in the Santa Ana neighborhood, and help prepare lunch at a local's home. Then, pack up the rental car the next morning and set your GPS to the mountainous town of Valle de Antón. Here, the option is yours to join a Jeep and hiking tour to the Slot Canyon Waterfall or learn about the region's art scene on a cultural excursion.

A drive to Santa Fe is next on the agenda, where you'll tour the best of Santa Fe National Park, dine in the village of Alto di Piedra, and spot nocturnal wildlife during a night trek. Then, split your time over the following two days between Azuero Peninsula's Playa Venao and Pedasí. While here, explore the islands of Coiba National Park and the marine refuge of Isla Iguana National Park, both by boat, and laze on deserted beaches. Afterward, return to Panama City for a dinner and cultural experience and squeeze in a cruise along the Panama Canal before catching your departing flight. Learn more

More Great 1-Week Panama Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your trip to Panama? Check out these other one-week Panama itineraries, with outdoor adventures, cultural trips, and best-of tours to hit the highlights.


Map of 1 Week in Panama - 5 Unique Itinerary Ideas
Map of 1 Week in Panama - 5 Unique Itinerary Ideas