Discovering the Hidden Gems of Panama: A British Perspective

Panama may not be the first destination that comes to mind for British travellers, but it is a hidden gem that should not be overlooked. Located in Central America, Panama offers a unique blend of natural beauty, rich history, vibrant culture, and cosmopolitan cities. From pristine beaches to dense rainforests, from ancient ruins to modern marvels like the Panama Canal, this small country has something for everyone.

One of the reasons why Panama is a great choice for British travellers is its accessibility. With direct flights from London to Panama City, getting to this tropical paradise has never been easier. Additionally, English is widely spoken in Panama, making it easy for British tourists to navigate and communicate with locals. The country also uses the US dollar as its official currency, eliminating the need for currency exchange.


  • Panama is a hidden gem for British travellers, offering stunning beaches, rich history, diverse wildlife, cosmopolitan cities, delicious food and drink, off-the-beaten-path adventures, and fascinating indigenous cultures.
  • The best hidden beaches in Panama are a must-visit for sun-seeking Brits, with options ranging from secluded coves to lively surf spots.
  • Uncovering Panama’s rich history is a journey through time, from the days of pirates to the engineering marvel of the Panama Canal.
  • The best wildlife spots in Panama offer a unique perspective for British travellers, with opportunities to see exotic birds, monkeys, sloths, and more in their natural habitats.
  • Exploring Panama City is a cosmopolitan experience, with a mix of modern skyscrapers, historic landmarks, and vibrant nightlife.

The Best Hidden Beaches in Panama: A Guide for Sun-Seeking Brits

Panama is home to some of the most beautiful and unspoiled beaches in the world. From the Caribbean coast to the Pacific Ocean, there are plenty of hidden gems waiting to be discovered by British travellers seeking sun and relaxation.

One of the top hidden beaches in Panama is Playa Venao. Located on the Pacific coast, this beach offers pristine white sand, crystal-clear waters, and world-class surfing conditions. Whether you’re an experienced surfer or a beginner looking to catch your first wave, Playa Venao has something for everyone. The beach also offers a range of amenities including beachfront hotels, restaurants, and beach bars.

Another hidden gem is Isla Zapatilla in Bocas del Toro archipelago. This remote island paradise is part of a protected national park and offers untouched beaches surrounded by lush rainforest. Snorkelling and diving enthusiasts will be delighted by the vibrant coral reefs and diverse marine life that can be found in the surrounding waters. There are no hotels or restaurants on the island, making it the perfect destination for a day trip or a camping adventure.

For those looking for a more secluded beach experience, Playa Blanca in the San Blas Islands is the perfect choice. This idyllic beach is located on a small island inhabited by the indigenous Guna Yala people. Visitors can stay in traditional thatched-roof huts called “cabañas” and enjoy the tranquillity of this untouched paradise. The crystal-clear waters and white sand make it an ideal spot for swimming, snorkelling, and sunbathing.

Uncovering Panama’s Rich History: From Pirates to the Panama Canal

Panama has a rich and fascinating history that dates back thousands of years. From its indigenous cultures to its colonial past, there are plenty of historical sites to explore for British travellers interested in learning about the country’s heritage.

One of the key historical sites in Panama is Casco Viejo, also known as the Old Town of Panama City. This UNESCO World Heritage site is a beautifully preserved colonial neighbourhood that dates back to the 17th century. Visitors can wander through its narrow streets, admire the colourful buildings, and visit historical landmarks such as the Cathedral of Panama and the Presidential Palace.

Another important historical site is Portobelo, a small town on the Caribbean coast that was once a major hub for Spanish trade in the 16th and 17th centuries. Today, visitors can explore the ruins of forts and churches that were built to protect the town from pirates and privateers. The town also hosts an annual festival called the Black Christ Festival, which attracts thousands of pilgrims from around the country.

Of course, no visit to Panama would be complete without a visit to the Panama Canal. Considered one of the greatest engineering feats of all time, the canal connects the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and plays a crucial role in global trade. Visitors can take a tour of the canal and learn about its history and operation at the Miraflores Visitor Centre. Watching ships pass through the locks is a truly awe-inspiring experience.

The Best Wildlife Spots in Panama: A British Perspective

Wildlife Spot Location Animal Species Best Time to Visit
Bocas del Toro Caribbean Coast Red-Eyed Tree Frog, Three-Toed Sloth, Howler Monkey June to September
Coiba National Park Pacific Coast Whale Shark, Hammerhead Shark, Sea Turtle December to April
Chiriqui Highlands Western Panama Quetzal, Resplendent Quail, Highland Tinamou January to April
Darien National Park Eastern Panama Harpy Eagle, Jaguar, Tapir December to March

Panama is a paradise for wildlife enthusiasts, with its diverse ecosystems and abundant biodiversity. From tropical rainforests to coral reefs, there are plenty of opportunities to spot unique and exotic animals in their natural habitats.

One of the top wildlife spots in Panama is the Darien Gap, a vast and untouched rainforest that stretches from Panama to Colombia. This remote region is home to an incredible array of wildlife, including jaguars, tapirs, monkeys, and hundreds of species of birds. Exploring the Darien Gap is not for the faint of heart, but for those willing to venture off the beaten path, it offers a truly unforgettable experience.

Another must-visit destination for wildlife lovers is the Bocas del Toro archipelago. This group of islands is home to several national parks and protected areas, where visitors can spot dolphins, sea turtles, and colourful tropical fish. The region is also known for its diverse bird population, with over 200 species recorded in the area.

For those interested in marine life, Coiba National Park is a must-visit destination. Located off the Pacific coast of Panama, this UNESCO World Heritage site is home to one of the largest coral reefs in the Eastern Pacific. Snorkelling and diving enthusiasts can explore the vibrant underwater world and encounter species such as sharks, rays, and sea turtles.

Exploring Panama City: A Cosmopolitan Destination for British Travellers

Panama City is a vibrant and cosmopolitan capital that offers a unique blend of old-world charm and modern sophistication. From its historic neighbourhoods to its towering skyscrapers, there are plenty of attractions to explore for British travellers looking for a city experience.

One of the top attractions in Panama City is the Casco Viejo, or Old Town, which we mentioned earlier. This charming neighbourhood is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is home to beautifully restored colonial buildings, trendy restaurants, and boutique shops. Visitors can wander through its cobblestone streets, visit historical landmarks, and enjoy panoramic views of the city from its rooftop bars.

For those interested in modern architecture, a visit to the Panama City skyline is a must. The city is home to an impressive collection of skyscrapers, including the iconic Trump Ocean Club and the F&F Tower, which is shaped like a screw. Visitors can take a stroll along the Cinta Costera, a waterfront promenade that offers stunning views of the city skyline and the Pacific Ocean.

Panama City is also known for its vibrant food scene. From traditional Panamanian cuisine to international flavours, there are plenty of options to satisfy every palate. The Mercado de Mariscos, or Fish Market, is a must-visit destination for seafood lovers. Here, visitors can sample fresh ceviche and other local delicacies while enjoying views of the Panama Bay.

The Best Food and Drink in Panama: A Guide for British Foodies

Panama’s cuisine is a delicious blend of indigenous, Spanish, African, and Caribbean influences. From hearty stews to fresh seafood, there are plenty of dishes to tempt British foodies.

One of the top dishes to try in Panama is sancocho, a traditional stew made with chicken, vegetables, and herbs. This hearty dish is often served with rice and is considered a comfort food by locals. Another must-try dish is ceviche, a refreshing seafood salad made with raw fish or shrimp marinated in lime juice and mixed with onions, peppers, and cilantro.

For those with a sweet tooth, Panama offers a range of delicious desserts. One of the most popular is tres leches cake, a sponge cake soaked in three types of milk and topped with whipped cream. Another sweet treat to try is hojaldres, a type of fried dough that is often served with cheese or jam.

When it comes to drinks, Panama is famous for its coffee and rum. The country’s rich volcanic soil and ideal climate make it the perfect place for growing high-quality coffee beans. Visitors can take a tour of a coffee plantation and learn about the coffee-making process from bean to cup. As for rum, Panama produces some of the finest in the world. Ron Abuelo is one of the most popular brands, known for its smooth and complex flavours.

Off-the-Beaten-Path Adventures in Panama: A British Perspective

While Panama offers plenty of well-known attractions, there are also many off-the-beaten-path adventures waiting to be discovered by British travellers seeking unique experiences.

One such adventure is hiking in the Chiriqui Highlands. This mountainous region is home to several national parks and offers stunning landscapes, including cloud forests, waterfalls, and volcanic peaks. Hiking enthusiasts can explore trails that lead to hidden lakes, hot springs, and panoramic viewpoints.

Another off-the-beaten-path adventure is exploring the Embera indigenous community in the Darien region. The Embera people have lived in this remote area for centuries and offer visitors a glimpse into their traditional way of life. Visitors can learn about their customs, traditions, and crafts, and even take a ride in a traditional dugout canoe.

For adrenaline junkies, white-water rafting on the Chiriqui Viejo River is a must-do activity. This river offers thrilling rapids surrounded by lush rainforest, providing an unforgettable experience for adventure seekers. There are several tour operators that offer guided rafting trips suitable for all skill levels.

Panama’s Indigenous Cultures: A Fascinating Insight for British Travellers

Panama is home to several indigenous cultures, each with its own unique traditions, languages, and customs. For British travellers interested in learning about different cultures, there are several cultural sites to visit in Panama.

One of the top cultural sites is the Kuna Yala region, also known as the San Blas Islands. This archipelago is home to the indigenous Guna Yala people, who have managed to preserve their traditional way of life despite outside influences. Visitors can stay in traditional thatched-roof huts, learn about their handicrafts and textiles, and even participate in traditional ceremonies.

Another important cultural site is the Embera village in the Chagres National Park. The Embera people are known for their intricate basket weaving and woodcarving skills. Visitors can learn about their crafts, listen to traditional music and dance performances, and even try on traditional clothing.

It is important to note that when visiting indigenous communities, it is crucial to respect their customs and traditions. Many communities have strict rules regarding photography and interaction with visitors, so it is important to follow their guidelines and ask for permission before taking photos or participating in activities.

How to Get Around Panama: A Guide for British Tourists

Getting around Panama is relatively easy, thanks to its well-developed transportation infrastructure. There are several options available for British tourists, depending on their preferences and budget.

One of the most popular ways to get around Panama is by domestic flights. The country has several regional airports that offer flights to popular destinations such as Bocas del Toro, David, and San Blas Islands. Domestic flights are relatively affordable and can save travellers a significant amount of time compared to overland travel.

For those who prefer a more scenic route, buses are a popular option. Panama has a well-connected bus network that covers most major cities and towns. Buses are affordable and offer a comfortable way to travel, with air-conditioned coaches and reclining seats. However, it is important to note that bus travel can be slow, especially on rural routes.

Taxis and ride-sharing services such as Uber are also available in Panama City and other major cities. Taxis are relatively affordable and can be hailed on the street or booked through a mobile app. Ride-sharing services offer a convenient and safe way to get around, especially for those who prefer not to navigate public transportation.

Why Panama Should be on Every British Traveller’s Bucket List

In conclusion, Panama is a hidden gem that offers a unique and diverse travel experience for British travellers. From its pristine beaches to its rich history, from its vibrant culture to its cosmopolitan cities, there is something for everyone in this tropical paradise.

Whether you’re seeking sun and relaxation on the country’s hidden beaches, exploring its rich history through its historical sites, or immersing yourself in its vibrant culture and cuisine, Panama has it all. With its accessibility, English-speaking locals, and use of the US dollar, it is an easy and convenient destination for British tourists.

So why not add Panama to your bucket list? Start planning your trip today and discover all that this hidden gem has to offer. From the natural beauty of its beaches and rainforests to the fascinating history of its colonial past and the engineering marvel of the Panama Canal, Panama is waiting to be explored by British travellers. Don’t miss out on this incredible destination.


What is Panama?

Panama is a country located in Central America, bordered by Costa Rica to the west, Colombia to the southeast, the Caribbean Sea to the north, and the Pacific Ocean to the south.

What is the capital city of Panama?

The capital city of Panama is Panama City, which is also the largest city in the country.

What is the official language of Panama?

The official language of Panama is Spanish, but English is also widely spoken, especially in tourist areas.

What is the currency used in Panama?

The currency used in Panama is the Panamanian balboa, which is equivalent in value to the US dollar. The US dollar is also widely accepted in Panama.

What is the climate like in Panama?

Panama has a tropical climate, with temperatures ranging from 75°F to 85°F throughout the year. The rainy season runs from May to November, while the dry season runs from December to April.

What are some popular tourist attractions in Panama?

Some popular tourist attractions in Panama include the Panama Canal, the San Blas Islands, Bocas del Toro, the Darien National Park, and the historic district of Panama City.

What is the population of Panama?

As of 2021, the population of Panama is approximately 4.4 million people.

What is the economy of Panama like?

Panama has a rapidly growing economy, with a focus on services such as banking, tourism, and logistics. The Panama Canal is a major contributor to the country’s economy.

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