Panama is a great place for a scenic and adventurous road trip. In 15 days, this self-drive itinerary will take you around the most notable regions of the country. Begin in Panama City, then hit the road to discover the jungle, beautiful mountains, charming villages, and pristine islands. Some stops along the way include Gamboa, El Valle de Anton, Boquete, and the Pacific Coast.

Highlights

  • Tour the Panama Canal and Casco Viejo in Panama City  
  • Enjoy various boat excursions and national parks in Gamboa
  • Embark on honey, coffee, and tea tours in Boquete
  • Visit islands and go snorkeling, kayaking, and diving in the Pacific Coast

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrival in Panama Panama City
Day 2 Discover Panama City - Free Day Panama City
Day 3 Drive to Gamboa Gamboa
Day 4 Discover Gamboa - Free Day Gamboa
Day 5 Drive to Valle de Antón Valle de Anton
Day 6 Discover El Valle de Anton - Free Day Valle de Anton
Day 7 Drive to Azuero Chitre
Day 8 Discover Azuero - Free Day Chitre
Day 9 Discover Boquete - Free Day Boquete
Day 10 Half-Day Hiking Tour in Boquete Boquete
Day 11 Travel to the Pacific Coast Boca Chica
Days 12-13 Discover the Pacific Coast - Free Days Boca Chica
Day 14 Fly Back to Panama City Panama City
Day 15 Departure From Panama City  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Panama

Skyline
Welcome to Panama!

After landing at the airport in Panama City, a driver will transport you to your hotel about 30 minutes away.

Panama links the American continent and is home to the incredible Panama Canal. Prepare to discover beautiful landscapes, cosmopolitan and colonial cities, pristine islands, culture, and the rainforest on your trip.  

Once you are settled into your hotel, get out on the town to enjoy your first afternoon and evening at your leisure.

Day 2: Discover Panama City - Free day

Panamanian Chocolate Tasting
Enjoy a Panamanian chocolate tasting

Today, continue getting to know the city on your own. Optional activities and tours you can book include the following:

  • Visit the Miraflores Locks at the Panamá Canal
  • Stroll Casco Viejo, the Old Quarter, and the Interoceanic Panama Canal Museum
  • Embark on a gastronomic city tour in Casco Viejo
  • Enjoy a raspao (snow cone) tasting at Plaza de Francia
  • Do some chocolate tasting in Casco Viejo
  • Sample ceviche at the local fish market
  • Take a segway tour in Casco Viejo
  • Visit Panamá La Vieja
  • Hike in Cerro Ancón
  • Bike in the Coastal Beltway, known as Cinta Costera
  • Visit the Biomuseo & Causeway of Amador
  • Go to Portobelo & San Lorenzo Fort on the Transistmic Railway
  • Visit the indigenous community of the Emberá
  • Embark on a full day in San Blas via a Guna Yala Archipelago Tour
  • Take a full-day trip to Pearl Islands

Make sure to enjoy the Panama City nightlife in the evening.

Howler monkey
Spot monkeys in Gamboa

Today, transfer to Gamboa. This region of Panama is bordered in the north by the Caribbean Sea, while its core is accented by its colorful fauna and flora. The Chagres River, which nourishes the Panama Canal, hosts many species, such as cappuccino monkeys, alligators, and exotic birds, among other animals of the region.

Following some exploration of Gamboa, enjoy the evening on your own.

Day 4: Discover Gamboa - Free day

Cargos in the Panama Canal
Take a boat tour of the Panama Canal

Continue discovering Gamboa today at your leisure. Some activities and tours you can book locally include the below:

  • Visit the Metropolitan National Park
  • Discover the different tracks of Soberania National Park, including nature walks and hikes of different difficulty levels
  • Visit the Rainforest Discovery Center's watchtower
  • Do some birdwatching
  • Visit of Barro Colorado Island
  • Embark on a kayaking excursion
  • Take a Gatun Lake and Panama Canal boat tour
  • Go on an aerial tram tour
  • Enjoy some freshwater fishing
  • Take a night safari boat tour
  • Enjoy the sunset from a boat tour
  • Visit the Nature Exhibitions & Wildlife Rescue Center
  • Golf 18 holes at the Radisson Summit Hotel

Continue enjoying your free day into the evening at your leisure in Gamboa Town.

Day 5: Drive to Valle de Antón

Local market
A local market in El Valle of Antón

Today, make your way to El Valle of Antón, which is located in the heart of the crater of an extinct volcano. It is known for its permanent spring climate and offers a perfect place for restful stays. This region that upkeeps its traditions (hat-making, cigar factories, pottery, etc.) also offers hiking trails, diverse flora and fauna exploration, and beautiful landscapes.

Do some solo exploration, and enjoy the evening at your leisure.

Day 6: Discover El Valle de Anton - Free day

Views of El Valle de Anton
Views of El Valle de Anton

Continue getting to know El Valle de Anton today. Some activities and tours you can book at the local level include the following:

  • Go for a hike in Chorro del Macho
  • Visit of the India Dormida for a mountain trek
  • Venture to the archaeological site of Piedra Pintada
  • Visit an orchid farm
  • Go to the Golden Frog’s protection center
  • Visit the village of La Pintada and learn how to make the sombrero pintao, the typical Panamanian hat
  • Visit the archeological vestiges of El Caño
  • Go on a ziplining tour
  • Enjoy some birdwatching
  • Visit the local market

Day 7: Drive to Azuero

Diablos Espejos
Visit the colorful Azuero region

Today, venture to the central provinces, which are considered the Panamanian center of traditions and folklore. The Azuero Peninsula offers pastures, small villages, and many other treasures to discover. Known for its carnival (in February) and famous dresses, known as polleras, this part of the region has some unique and standout accents.

Do some exploration during the day and into the evening on your own.

Day 8: Discover Azuero - Free day

The desert lands of Sarigua National Park
The desert lands of Sarigua National Park

Continue enjoying the Azuero region today. Some local activities and tours to consider include the following:

  • Attend a diablicos sucios mask-making workshop
  • Learn the Tipico in a dance class
  • Enjoy a pottery workshop
  • Visit a trapiche to learn the traditional production of the sugarcane juice
  • Learn about the production of the local rum in Pesé
  • Visit the town of Arena to taste its traditional bread
  • Explore Sarigua National Park
  • Make the trip to Isla Iguana National Park

Day 9: Discover Boquete - Free day

Volcan Barú
Volcan Barú

The region of Boquete and its charming villages are famous, thanks to its biodiversity and fresh climate. Chiriqui hosts the Amistad and Volcan Barú National Parks that represent the perfect meeting point for hikers and lovers of mountains and nature. Discover the beautiful landscapes, and taste the local coffee from the region.

Some local tours and activities you can enjoy include the below:

  • Horseback riding
  • Honey and sugarcane juice tastings
  • Honey, coffee, and tea tours
  • Hanging bridges tour and adventure
  • Trekking and hiking
  • Birdwatching
  • Rafting
  • Zipline canopy excursion
  • Hiking the Barú Volcano 
  • Visiting the islands in the Gulf of Chiriqui
  • Adventuring to Los Cangilones of Gualaca
  • ATV tours
  • Visiting a Ngobe indigenous community

Enjoy more of Boquete into the evening.

Day 10: Half-Day hiking tour in Boquete

Quetzal
The Quetzal

Today, go on a half-day (3.5 hours) walking tour of Boquete with a local, English-speaking guide. Observe wildlife and flora along one of the scenic trails of the region, and search for the Quetzal. Your guide will adapt the tour, according to your physical condition.

Enjoy another night in Boquete on your own.

Day 11: Travel to the Pacific Coast

Pacific Coast
Pacific Coast views

The Gulf of Chiriqui is located on the Pacific side of the region. Today, visit the Gulf of Chiriquí Marine Park, which offers outstanding biodiversity—perfect for those interested in exploring off-the-beaten-track sites. Take in the beauty of the wild landscapes and pristine islands all around.

Then, transfer to the Pacific Coast and check in to your accommodation. Enjoy the evening at your leisure.

Days 12-13: Discover the Pacific Coast - Free days

Fishing on the Pacific Coast
Go fishing on the Pacific Coast

The next two days are dedicated to exploring the Pacific Coast on your own time. Activities and tours to consider include the below:

  • Visit the islands of Games, Bolaños, and Paridas
  • Go snorkeling, kayaking, and diving
  • Rent an ATV
  • Embark on a nature walk
  • Enjoy some fishing
  • Go whale watching

Enjoy your Pacific Coast evenings at leisure.

Day 14: Fly back to Panama City

Views of Casco Viejo
Views of Casco Viejo

Today, drive from Pacific Coast to the national airport and drop off of your rental car. Then, catch a flight back to Panama City and transport to your hotel. Enjoy the Panama City nightlife on your final evening of the trip.

Day 15: Departure From Panama City

Adios, Panama!
Adios, Panama!

It is time to say goodbye to Panama. Take a private transfer to the airport, according to your flight schedule. Safe Travels!