We only had one week to explore Panama so we had to be selective about what we could see. Here are my five favorite things we did during our stay.
1. EXPLORE CASCO VIEJO NEIGHBORHOOD
Stroll the narrow streets of Casco Viejo and take in the colonial architecture. Check out the Presidential Palace, Plaza Herrera, Iglesia de San Jose and the National Theatre. End the day with dinner at The Fish Market, a food truck nestled inside the ruins of a colonial building. All of their dishes are under $10.
2. HAVE LUNCH AT MERCADO DEL MARISCO
A quick walk from Casco Viejo, the fish market is a great place for lunch. For $5.00 you get a satisfying lunch for two consisting of two cups of fresh ceviche and two local beers. Once you’re done with your lunch, walk around to see the catch of the day, men cleaning fish and preparing ceviche.
3. VISIT A NGABE CHOCOLATE FARM
The Oreba Chocolate Tour in Almirante is run by indigenous Ngabe farmers. The guide takes you on a great hike of a cacao farm and you’ll learn everything from growing cacao trees, harvesting, fermenting, drying and ultimately roasting and making chocolate. The tour is a great introduction to the Ngabe community way of life.
4. GO ON A BIKE RIDE TO BLUFF BEACH
Ride your bike west on Jungle Highway from Bocas del Toro town to Bluff Beach Lounge. The ride is about 9 km. Stop for lunch at The Beach Bar and try their fish tacos. Spend the afternoon taking in the sun.
5. GO FOR A HIKE IN PARQUE NATURAL METROPOLITANO
This park is a convenient way to see a rain forest without leaving the city. The climb to the top is easy and you might get to see sloths, colorful birds, agouti (giant rodents) and diverse insects. At the end of the hike you’ll be rewarded with a panoramic view of Panama City.