Popular Topics

Trip Report

City and ocean highlights in Panama

5 days short summary of Panamas beach and city life

by anika_around_the_worldAtlasGuru Contributor

North AmericaPanama5 days / December 2018

Highs & Lows

Palmar Beach Lodge - great atmosphere, relaxed vibes and yoga with ocean view

Ocean-to-ocean tour to Colón to see also the Caribbean side of the Panama Canal - too much time spent on the highway

Itinerary Overview

Following a Costa Rica trip, I took the opportunity of the nearby border and spent another 5 days in Panama. From Puerto Viejo on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica you can book a transport including border crossing to Bocas with several tour providers. From there you can easily get to the islands of Bocas del Toro with small speedboats. I chose Isla Bastimento, where I spent 3 days in a beautiful Eco Camping.

After that I went by plane to Panama City - I couldn't miss to see the famous Panama Canal live once. The old town is also interesting and so different from any other old town I have visited. Since I was there during the pre-Christmas season, the city was nicely decorated in a kitschy way - with oversized plastic Santas.

Even though I could only get a brief impression of the country, I was fascinated by nature and culture. The climate is a bit hotter and more uncomfortable than in Costa Rica and I also found the people in Costa Rica to be more open and relaxed. Nevertheless, it was great to have been there once!

  • 3 Nights: Isla Bastimentos
    To relax and enjoy beachlife after a three weeks trip to Costa Rica
  • 2 Nights: Panama City
    The closing point of a Costa Rica an Panama Trip

Q & A

  • What would you have changed?

    The expensive Ocean to ocean tour was not worth the money - to visit the dock close to Panama City should be enough to get an impression of the canals hugeness.

  • What tips would you give a friend?

    Stay at Palmar Beach Lodge and go with the flow ;)

  • Packing tips?

    Bring a high sunblocker and - the sun's rays are very intense in this part of the world.

  • Transportation Tips?

    To go to Islas Bastimento you have to take a "collectivo boat", which means that it runs when it's full. So look for people with the same route on your bus and go together.

  • Any surprises?

    In Palmar Beach Lodge we had a visit from a sloth every evening - i didn't know these animals could be so trusting ;)


  • Palmar Beach Lodge is an eco-camping directly at Playa Reg Frog with a great sustainability concept. Rainwater showers, electricity from solar energy and vegetarian, local food - everything has been thought of. They also organize tours and in the evenings there are campfires or quiz nights. Highly recommended!

  • I stayed at Lunas Castle Hostel, which has a perfect location at the entrance gate to the old town. From the balcony on one side you had a great view of the sea and the skyscrapers, from the other side into a quiet courtyard. My room had a fan and the atmosphere in the hostel was quiet and relaxed, so it was a good balance to the hustle and bustle of the city.