I haven’t been to Panama yet myself, but a good friend from back home told and recommended me the top 6 things to do and places to visit in Panama.
Bocas del Toro (5 days)
Together with the San Blas islands, Bocas del Toro is the main hotspot in Panama for travellers.
Go to Polo Beach in Red Frog/Bastimento and visit the bat cave. Walk around Carenero island.
Rent a bicycle and bike to Playa Bluff.
Do a beautiful Zapatilla island boat tour. Or go sailing and snorkeling as there are so many amazing spots to see the underwater world.
One day you should visit as well the Starfish beach, as there are literally million starfish in the water.
I recommend to stay at the Casa Verde or The Bocas Beach House.
On the the main island, rent a quad in Bocas town. It is not cheap but worth it and a fun and adventurous experience. You can drive yourself to empty untouched beaches, where nobody else is.
Bajo Boquete (2 days)
If you have a lot of time and want to make a stop between Bocas (Caribbean coast) and Santa Catalina (Pacific coast), Boquete is the right place. It is chilly compared to the beach but good to cool down for some days. You can walk along the coffee plantations and visit the orchid or rose farms. People say the coffee beans from Boquete are the best in the whole country.
Santa Catalina (2 days)
Santa Catalina is a nice coastal village and another place to chillax and show your surfing talent.
Playa Venao (4 days)
Playa Venao is a relaxed place with many cool people and perfect to improve your surf skills in the water.
Panama City (3 days)
Walk around Panama City and explore the old quarters (Casco Viejo) and as well the new modern area with its tall skyscrapers. Bellow you will see the Panama City Skyline as you can see it from Casco Viejo.
Visit the well-known Panama Canal to see the massive cargo ships. The best place to see it is at the Miraflores Locks. Chill a day at the Panama City beach. The recommendation is to stay at Hostal Casa Areka.
Don’t miss the rooftop bar at the Hard Rock Hotel with a stunning view to the skyline from Panama City.
Sail around San Blas Islands (1-5 days)
One of the most famous thing to do when you are in Panama is to explore the stunning Caribbean San Blas Islands. You can go there for a daytrip but it is highly recommended to do a 3, 4 or 5 days sailing trip. There are so many little islands with untouched white sand beaches, palm trees all over and crystal clear water where you almost don’t need a snorkel and mask to see the beautiful creatures in the water.
If you go from Panama to Colombia or vice versa, check out http://colombiapanamasailing.com/san-blas-catamaran-santana/ or https://sailcolombiapanama.com/ for two good and reliable companies for the sailing trip.
Best time to visit Panama
The best time to visit Panama is between November and April.