Is 2 days enough in panama city?

With two days to spend in Panama City, you'll have time to explore the old streets of Casco Viejo and the new city's modern skyscrapers, navigate the iconic Panama Canal and delve a little deeper into the local food and art scene. Keep reading to learn more about how to make the most of your 48 hours in Panama City. In three days, travelers can get an in-depth look at Panama City and the Panama Canal. With just one week, it's best to focus on no more than two regions, for example, combining Panama City and the Canal Zone with the Central Caribbean or with the Antón Valley.

Plan to spend around 10 days for a vacation in Panama that covers multiple areas and highlights, adding the Azuero Peninsula, Boquete or Bocas del Toro. Casco Viejo juts out into Panama Bay and its southeastern end offers beautiful views of Panama City, as well as several historic sites. This 10-day itinerary begins in Panama City with a flight to David and then a boat ride to Isla Palenque, in the Gulf of Chiriqui, for two days of diving, kayaking and hiking before heading to Boquete for rafting, ziplining, coffee shop tours and hiking in the Barú Volcano National Park. Then, enjoy a full-day mini-cruise through the locks of the Panama Canal; spend a day exploring the lush Soberanía National Park, plus a boat ride on Lake Gatún; then paddle down the Chagres River to visit an Emberá indigenous community. Therefore, I had trouble deciding between the ocean-to-ocean tour of the Panama Canal and the jungle on Viator or the Monkey Island, Indian Village and Lake Gatún tour offered by Barefoot Panama.

Start by exploring the modern city surrounding Punta Paitilla, or cycle along the Causeway, before exploring the ruins of Old Panama and the restored colonial cobblestone city of Casco Viejo. Finally, head to Boca Chica and the Gulf of Chiriqui Marine Park for three days before leaving your rental car and flying back to Panama City. A week allows you to explore Panama City and the Canal, as well as one or perhaps two other regions, such as Bocas del Toro or the Pearl Islands, for a more complete experience of country. On the third day, fly to Bocas del Toro to enjoy three days of relaxing on the beach, snorkeling, surfing, wildlife watching and enjoying the relaxed atmosphere of a tropical island in this Caribbean archipelago.

I love the ruins and enjoyed Old Panama, but anyone short on time can skip this attraction for a variety of reasons. After spending a few hours at the locks, I ordered an Uber back to Panama City and got ready to spend the night at Donde José. Then, board a rental car bound for Veraguas for five days, including a night sea turtle watching tour, a day trip to Coiba Island (the Galapagos of Central America) and Golden Granite, plus time free in Santa Catalina. On the second day, head to Old Panama, the original ruined city founded in 1519 but abandoned in 1617 after the attack of pirate Henry Morgan.

Once an aboriginal fishing village, Panamá Viejo was the first city founded by Spain on the Pacific coast of America in 1521. Its baroque façade is made of stones brought from the original site of Panama City, which was set on fire. Unfortunately, I finished the 2.5-mile hike to Flamenco Island too early to enjoy lunch at the restaurants surrounding the marina. The next day, head to Panamá Viejo to tour the ruins of Panama's first city, then head to the Miraflores Locks Visitor Center to observe the ships that transit through the Channel.

Abigail Angelotti
Abigail Angelotti

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