Top 10 experiences in Panama

Enjoy the country while you are here

Top 10 experiences in Panama

If you are planning on living in Panama for a year or more, you should try to complete this list. If you are just going to be there for a short time, pick your favourites and get going!

Sunrise and sunset

See the sunset on the Atlantic Ocean and the sunrise in the Pacific Ocean. Panama is the only country in the world in which you can do this!

Panama canal

Visit the Panama Canal, the biggest human modern engineering project in the world. It took 30 years and many lives to complete, finally opening in 1914. Its 82 kilometers will stay with you forever.

Festival of the Manito Ocureño

It takes place in the middle of August in the region of Ocú. It represents the traditions and costumes of the region’s farmers and shows many different aspects of their life over the centuries. There is a parade, gathering people from all the villages in the region, people wearing traditional costumes, they sing and dance to folkloric songs.

Go to a matanza

Traditionally in Panama, a family will kill a cow and invite extended family and friends to a intimate festival involving, not only the killing but also the cooking of the meat and dancing.

A good matanza may last up to two days (party through the night included). Nowadays, some matanzas are done for fund raising but many keep the tradition of celebrating a wedding, a baptism or other important family event. So if you get invited to one, you have been accepted as one of the family!

Enjoy the nightlife

Panama city is not only one of the best places for dining due to the variety of traditional dishes, but also a great place to party since it has hundreds of bars and clubs, and even several casinos.


It is one of the most important festivals in Panama and Latin America. Carnaval takes place 40 days before Easter and the dates change every year. Each region has a different tradition and the most important day may change, so check what is it where you are living!

Sea turtles laying eggs

See huge sea turtles laying eggs in the Festival de las Tortugas Marinas (Sea Turtle Festival) in Armila (Guna Yala). It takes place in May and you can enjoy the beaches during the day and this curious event at night, filled not only with the turtles but also with a folkloric festival of music and dance.

Old Panama

In the center of Panama city is old Panama, with lots of ruins and ancient buildings from the Spanish empire of the 17th Century.

Bocas del Toro

Wander around Bocas del Toro, the English speaking part of this Spanish speaking country. It is not only a beautiful town but also a wonderful place for scuba diving.

New Year in Panama

Welcome in the New Year the Panamanian way. Panama has an interesting tradition regarding New Years Eve that is widely practiced in some regions such as Capira, Sajalices, El Espavé, Bejuco, Chame, Santa Clara or San Carlos. 

People build real size human puppets with cardboard, paper and wood, often symbolizing some celebrity or politician. At midnight on New Years Eve they burn them down. This way they say goodbye to all the good things and bad things happened and they welcome the ones to come.  

Further reading

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