This 10-day tour of Panama takes you from the city to the islands. Visit the world-famous Panama Canal and UNESCO World Heritage Site of Casco Viejo in Panama City. Then, venture to the Pearl Islands for some whale watching, hiking, and beach relaxation. Return to the city for more exploration, and head to Bocas del Toro for a few more relaxing free days by the beach enjoying nature walks and the surrounding waters. Spend a bit more time in Panama City to close out your visit.

Highlights

  • Visit the renowned Panama Canal and Casco Viejo in Panama City
  • Go whale watching, hiking in the forest, and sportfishing in the Pearl Islands
  • Embark on a decorated nature walk through Bastimentos National Marine Park
  • Dive, snorkel, surf, and relax along the pristine beaches of Bocas del Toro

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrival in Panama  Panama City
Day 2 Travel to Pearl Islands Pearl Islands
Day 3 Pearl Islands - Free Day Pearl Islands
Day 4 Fly Back to Panama City & Self-Guided Tour Panama City
Day 5 Half-Day City Tour - Casco Viejo & Panama Canal Panama City
Day 6 Fly to Bocas del Toro Archipelago Bocas del Toro
Days 7-8 Bocas del Toro Archipelago - Free Days Bocas del Toro
Day 9 Return to Panama City & Sightseeing Panama City
Day 10 Depart From Panama   

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Panama

Skyline
Welcome to Panama! 

Welcome to Panama City! After landing at the Tocumen International Airport, a travel representative will greet you and supply you with documentation surrounding your trip.
A driver will take you to your hotel, which is approximately 30 minutes away.

Check into your hotel, and take some time to explore the country that links the Americas, and is home to the Panama Canal. Prepare to discover native and rainforest landscapes, cosmopolitan and colonial areas, pristine islands, tradition and culture, and indigenous communities.

If you’d like to do some touring, consider the below:

  • Panama la Vieja: The ruins and museum honor the first Spanish settlement
  • The Causeway: Rent a bike and peddle along this area that connects four islands made of rocks excavated from the Panama Canal
  • Plaza Mayor: This is the main square of Old Panama City

Then, indulge in a delicious welcome dinner at one of the local restaurants.

Day 2: Travel to the Pearl Islands

A beach in the Pearl Islands
A beach in the Pearl Islands

This morning, make the early transfer to the airport for your domestic, 1-hour flight to San José Island to explore the Pearl Islands. Upon arrival, make your way to the hotel for check-in.

The Pearl Islands are named after the pearls that line the seabed. The islands were first occupied by Indians before the Spanish discovery and were frequently utilized by pirates in the years that followed.
 
Today, it’s a perfect destination for those in search of peace and relaxation on pristine beaches. Contadora, Saboga, Viveros, and the San José Islands offer stunning landscapes and host an abundance of active marine life. 

Day 3: Pearl Islands - Free day

Go on a whale watching tour from July-October
Go on a whale watching tour from July-October

Enjoy a free day to discover the Pearl Islands on your own. If your visit falls within July-October, embark on a humpback whale-watching tour. You can also go for a scenic hike in the forest or take a quad tour around the islands.

If you are interested in watersports, consider kayaking, snorkeling, or diving for exploration on the water. You can also take a mini cruise, visit different islands, or try your hand at sportfishing.

Day 4: Fly back to Panama City and self-guided tour

El tornillo in the modern city
El Tornillo in the modern city

Today, make your way to the airport to catch a domestic flight back to Panama City. A driver will take you to your hotel, and the rest of the day is at your leisure to explore more of the town on your own.

Some sights to explore include the below:

  • Mercado Nacional de Artesanías: Go shopping for Panamanian souvenirs and handicrafts
  • El Tornillo: Visit the iconic skyscraper that is 774 feet high
  • Iglesia del Carmen: See the standout gothic building built in the 20th century and reminiscent of the Middle Ages
  • Einstein’s Head: Visit the statue, which was created by sculptor Carlos Arboleda

Day 5: Half-day city tour - Casco Viejo and the Panama Canal

Casco Viejo without Coastal Beltway
Discover Casco Viejo today

Today, embark on a half-day tour with an English-speaking guide. The 4-hour tour includes roundtrip transportation to and from your hotel. First, head to the Old Quarter of Casco Viejo, which is a well-known neighborhood that was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1980. Walk through the streets of Casco Viejo and visit different historical monuments, France Square, which provides a beautiful view of the modern city, Bolivar Square, and the Interoceanic Museum of the Panama Canal.

Continue on to Miraflores, where you can view the technical operations of the canal locks from a platform. The Miraflores locks are one of the three sets of locks along the Panama Canal and reside on the Pacific side.

Following the tour, the rest of the day and evening is yours to enjoy on your own.

Day 6: Fly to Bocas del Toro Archipelago

surf
Go surfing in Bocas del Toro

Wake up and hop a flight to Bocas del Toro Islands, and then make the transfer to your hotel. Bocas del Toro and all the islands that form this archipelago represent one of the most important touristic regions of the country.

Spend the next couple of days enjoying the best of the islands.

Days 7-8: Bocas del Toro Archipelago - Free days

cacao
Embark on a local chocolate tour

For the next two days, enjoy Bocas del Toro on your own. Hang out by the crystalline waters of the Caribbean Sea. Take advantage of the beaches—dive, relax, snorkel, swim, and surf, depending on your preference.

Admire the incredible fauna and flora while exploring the Bastimentos National Marine Park on a nature walk. Go to the Bat Cave, visit the manatees and sea turtles at San San-Pond Sak, explore Sal Creek Village, and embark on a journey into an indigenous community.

For the adventurous, consider the ziplining tour at Red Frog, and those who appreciate good food can head out on a local chocolate tour.

The evenings are at your leisure, too.  

Day 9: Return to Panama City and more sightseeing

 Casco Antiguo in Panama City at sunset
 Casco Antiguo in Panama City at sunset

Head to the airport to catch your return flight to Panama City. A driver will take you back to your hotel.

Depending on when you arrive, you can do the following:

  • Walk around Punta Paitilla, where you will have a view of the skyscrapers along the waterfront
  • Explore Punta Pacifica, a modern area where you’ll find luxury condos along the edge of the Pacific Ocean
  • Stroll through Costa del Este, a high-end area with plenty of shops and restaurants

Then, enjoy a nice dinner on your final night in the city.

Day 10: Depart from Panama City

Tocumen international aiport
Farewell, Panama!

Take your time checking out of your hotel today. Enjoy your final morning in Panama. Visit the canal or Casco Viejo again, and shop for any last souvenirs. A private driver will transport you to the airport surrounding your flight time. Look back on new seaside memories of Panama as you board your departure flight home. Safe Travels!