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Captain Carl Davis of Jungle Land Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
 
 
 
What is the one thing that comes to mind when you hear the word PANAMA? For many people, it is probably the PANAMA CANAL, and with good reason. Often considered one of the modern wonders of the world, it would be a crime to leave Panama without visiting its world famous locks. 
Exploring the Panama Canal with Jungle Land Panama - The one and only Original Panama Canal Tour – Best Places In The World To Retire – International Living
However, I am going to dare you to take it one step further - if you are planning on coming to Panama, especially if you are thinking about retiring here, then you most definitely should consider LIVING the Panama Canal experience. What is LIVING the Panama Canal experience? Swimming in a hidden waterfall somewhere within the Panama Canal. Kayaking through its secret passages... Discovering all of its incredible flora and fauna. Fishing in its waters. 

There is a hidden paradise within the Panama Canal... and you won't regret exploring it. We might be biased, but we definitely think that it is THE best thing to do in and around Panama ;)
 
 
 
 
 
Mirhanna Sandoya of Lucero Homes, Golf & Country Club – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
The Caribbean at Bocas del Toro, Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingFor me, the best thing to do in Panama is traveling around the country because there are so many different things that you can do in Panama. You can go to the Caribbean coast and see the white sand and blue water ocean, and then come back to the Pacific and go surfing or just lie on the beach. You can go to the mountains.  You can go hiking, camping, or even shopping, because we have many shops that buy directly at the Colon Free Trade Zone, giving us more choices at the malls that are sold at cheaper prices than anywhere else. 
 
There are so many things that you can do here in Panama when visiting. My favorite thing to do is traveling. I love to travel, not only to other countries, but also within Panama. The first time I left Panama a a lot of people asked me so many questions about my own country that I didn’t know the answers to that I felt a little bit lost, and I said that was never going to happen again.  
 
(The Caribbean  Sea at Bocas del Toro, Panama, pictured.)
David Bayliss of KW PACIFICA – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
The cold climate at the top of Volcan Baru, near Boquete, Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThere are lots of great things to do in Panama. The number one best thing that I did recently was to climb to a volcano that’s 11,400 feet high, which is located in Boquete. Most people don’t realize that we have a mountain that high here. It was freezing cold at the top and to be freezing cold in Panama is an ironic circumstance.
 
I like to run on the beach. I like to hike on regular mountains all around Coronado or around Panama City. Behind Panama City are regular mountains with trails and parks. Panama City has Metropolitan Park, which is a rainforest jungle in the city limits with hiking trails. I don’t think anywhere else in the world does anything like that exist in a city. You could be staying in a 5-star hotel and in 5 minutes you could be in the jungle with monkeys. That is pretty interesting and pretty unusual. 
 
Relative to the out of doors or the undiscovered bit of Panama, there are numerous hikes that we had to hire a guide just to find the trail because they are not marketed, they are not advertised, nobody is making a dollar from the trail to the top of the mountain or the trail to the waterfall so a little research and development had to be done to even find the hikes that we’ve done.
 
On other side to the Caribbean, especially in the area of San Blas, there is a native Indian area with 365 islands that has no high-rise condos and Americans cannot buy anything. You could just go there, hop on an island, snorkel around it, see the fish, and there is only you and whomever you came with on the island. 
 
The diversity of things to do in Panama is just amazing and we’re constantly picking up the next great thing to go do.  
 
(The cold climate at the top of Volcan Baru, near Boquete, Panama, pictured.)
Melissa Darnay of Choose Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Bridge of the Americas, Panama Canal, Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThere are so many things to do in the entire country of Panama. Because the climate is great year-round, you can do anything “outdoorsy” you can think of. There are so many different golf courses. You can walk on the beach. You can get involved in different water sports such as snorkeling or beachcombing. You can join dance classes. You can join a hiking group. You can start doing triathlons.
 
A good friend of mine came to Panama and at 60 years old starting doing triathlons. He lost 35 pounds and is now typically in the top three ranking of every triathlon he enters. So that was definitely a lifestyle change for him and something that he hadn’t experienced before prior to coming to Panama.
 
(Panama will serve again as the Pan American Pro Championship for the Ironman triathlon 70.3 Series. Bridge of the Americas, the Panama Canal, Panama, pictured.)

 
Charles Conn of The Visitor – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Lobbt of Hotel Colon in Casco Viejo, Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingBlack Friday is huge here in Panama. Shopping during this time of year is great; it is like a national pastime. All year round, not only on Black Friday, you’ll find good deals in the stores. It is now part of the Panamanian culture to go out and spend a whole day at the mall to shop, watch a movie and dine. We have four main malls here in Panama City: Multi Plaza, Multi Centro, Metromall, and Albrook Mall.  These are all state-of-the-art, brand new buildings that will make you feel like you are in Miami.
 
Another big thing that people in Panama like to do is go to the casinos, which is more of a nighttime activity.  The whole of Panama City has such a high density of casinos. If you book a hotel, chances are, that hotel has a casino.  It doesn’t matter what time of the day and regardless it if is a holiday, the casinos are always open.
 
(The lobby of Hotel Colon in Casco Viejo, Panama, pictured.)
 
People also like going to the beach. There are tons of beaches to choose from. You can opt for visiting the Pacific coast or the Atlantic coast. Or you can take a day trip and go to one of the many islands on both sides of the country. On holidays, people tend to go to their beach houses, if they have one, or if one of their friends has one. Sometimes it seems the whole of Panama City packs up and leaves during holidays and weekends.
 
If you are the type of person who loves nightlife, you will have a great time here in Panama. You can go out every night and get together with your friends for drinks and music. We have all kinds of music here, including jazz, DJs, salsa and rock bands.  Every night of the week there is something. Casco Antiguo / Casco Viejo is a great place for music and nightlife. Also Calle Uruguay is another hotspot where you will find a lot of different clubs and things going on at night. People stay out late until 4 or 5 in the morning.
 
Outside of Panama City, the top thing to do is to go to the beach. When you get out of the city, you will have a more relaxed time because you get away from the stress of the metropolitan area. The mountain areas are fantastic because Panama is such a hot country, and the higher elevation presents cooler weather, but still within the context of the lush, tropical rainforest. My favorite getaways, for instance is going to Volcan, Boquete or El Valle de Anton, which is closest to Panama City. You can go trekking and just enjoy nature. 
 
Ecotourism in Panama is great. We have protected islands here such as Isla Coiba, which to me, rivals the Galapagos. Whether you like diving, snorkeling or bird watching, Coiba has such an abundance of wildlife that you will not be disappointed. Isla Coiba is more for people who are prepared to “rough it” because there is not much in the way of facilities there, since it is a protected area. You will not find a hotel there. Instead, you will find amazing, unspoiled nature.
Diana Chacon of SIUMA REALTY – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Plaza dela Independencia Panama best things to do in and around Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingA lot of people come to Panama and go on the tours. You wouldn’t get bored here because there are a lot of things to do, even in just the small areas of Panama City. If you go to Casco Viejo (a small, historic area within Panama City and pictured to the right), you will find many things to do.
 
You can also enjoy shopping here in Panama. Many people come to Panama City for shopping. There are big sales in different stores all the time.
 
YouPlaya Rio Mar beach Panama best things to do tourism Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire – International Living can also go to the beaches outside of Panama City. Most people spend their weekends going out to beaches and just come back to Panama City on the weekdays. Panama has very beautiful beaches that have clear waters and pristine sand.
 
The best things to do here in Panama are the tours, especially because the people of Panama are really good at it, being that they are selling Panama as a tourist destination.
Robert Adams of Retirement Wave – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Panama City Panama arial view from Punta Pacifica – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingI wish I were a normal retiree, so I could probably answer this question of the best things to do in Panama better.
 
I enjoy the whole experience of living here, meeting people, doing things and getting out there. There are tons of activities going on here in Panama. I live in Panama City (pictured to the right) so there are more activities than I can ever possibly involve myself in. I just do what sounds interesting to me and take it a day at a time.  I’m always busy.
 
For many retirees who are not working on something or have a business, they spend a great deal of their time traveling and going to places in the countryside and socializing with others.
 
Going to the beach is a big deal. Some people love to go to the mountains. We have very cool temperatures up there in the mountains and we city people enjoy that every once in a while.
 
Some people are very much into the arts.  Those people tend to be mostly located in the Panama City area where we have the National Symphony and the ballet. We have art shows every week.
 
It’s not really any different than what you’d expect to find when you were living elsewhere, except I think that people who move down to Panama go out to find things to do in contrast to how they acted when they were back in their homes in the United States or Canada or Britain when they rarely went out because they thought they had seen it all. They just didn’t visit new places in their old community.
 
But down here in Panama, people get out. I think what you will find is most people just go everywhere, they look at all sorts of things, then they find what they enjoy doing and that is what they continue to do.  Of course, all this depends on every single person.
Lorna Culnane – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
By a waterfall in Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingWhat are the best things to do in and around Panama?
 
Wow, where do I start?
 
When we moved from the UK, one of the most important things for us was the need for lots of outdoor activities. Our children had been brought up outside doing things kids should be doing and I had come from a sporty background.
 
We love the fact that there is so much to do here in Panama; such diversity. I remember commenting to my husband one day how amazing it was that we could spend the morning hiking in El Valle, in the lush, cool tropics with waterfalls and stunning mountain views, then spend the afternoon on the beach, with equally stunning views, swimming and surfing, all in the same day!
 
If sightseeing is your thing, in the city (Panama City) alone, you have all the beautiful and fascinating things to see there. You can visit the Canal, wander round the old city of Casco Viejo, stroll along the Cinta Costera, and Ancon Hill, where you get stunning views of the city  and ocean and Amador Causeway These are but a few.
 
Visit the National Parks such as Soberania, where you can enjoy walking, hiking and biking. There are waterfalls and breathtaking beauty.
 
There are some fabulous tours, such as Embera Village, Monkey Island, Whale Watching, Fishing, Diving & Snorkling, City tours, and the list goes on.
 
There are also many hidden treasures: waterfalls, mud baths, zoo's, secret beaches, little artisan markets; practically something for everyone!
 
If you like your sports there is baseball, football, tennis, golf, horseback riding, climbing, just to name but a few. If shopping is your thing, there are plenty of markets and huge malls, ranging from inexpensive to designer. 
 
We are certainly never bored.  There is so much to do here in Panama that we often wish we had more hours in the day.
 
 
 
Alexandre Moreno  of EPA Español en Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Panama offers you a wide variety of things to do. In Panama you can have a good time at a beach, city or forest. Everything is near to the city [Panama City].
 
For example: You can visit the Coronado Hotel Beach & Resort, which is an hour and a half drive from the city.  There you can spend a good time playing golf, swimming in the pool and have a good Panamanian and international food.
 
Alternatively, you can stay in the city and take a walk around the city in Cinta Costera, which is a great place to spend time with family, friends, pets etc. 
Lourdes Townshend of Multimodal  & Logistic Transports Magazine – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Panama Canal Museum, Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingIf you are first time visitor to Panamá, you might like to visit the canal, which offers a variety of interesting things including a 4 floor museum with videos on the premises.  Visitors to the center can see all the locks function, and ships from all over the world, as well as a good quality restaurant.  The fee for entrance is $10 / adult.  This might take about 4 hours of your time. The best time to arrive is early morning.  The reason is that usually later in the day, between 1 pm and 3 pm, there are no ships crossing the canal, other than yachts and other small boats. There are many tour operators, or people at the hotels will coordinate this tour for you.
 
In addition, the most important other things to see and do in Panama are:
  • Panamá Viejo Ruins (located by the Pacific Ocean; entrance is $6) which were burned by pirates in the 15th century.  There's a visitor center with an excellent souvenir store.
  • The Casco Viejo, by the Panamá Bay, including the "Bóvedas", a place that used to be a fort against pirates.  This is a beautiful place to take pictures, with the bay and Panama City in the back.  Casco Viejo has many old and historic buildings and the National Theater.  Here, you will find the Presidential Palace, in which you can make reservations in advance with ID and you´ll have a complete one hour tour of the inside for free.  For your convenience, there is a tourist bus (2 floors) that goes from one place to another, the price is $39 / person.
  • Another very popular place is Ft. Amador, also called the "Causeway", at the entrance of the Panama Canal in the Pacific Ocean.
  • Also there is the "Aquabus", that will take you for a city ride, as well as inside the bay (as a boat), for $39 / person.
Of course, there are many other picturesque places along the country, beaches, mountains, country coffee farms, resorts, hotels and casinos.  There are excellent native (indigenous) places and tours, like the Emberá community and San Blas.  El Valle de Antón has a great public market and good weather.  You could also see Bocas del Toro, Isla Grande, Taboga Island, and the first hemisphere train between Panama City and Colón (round trip is $60 + / person and takes around 90 minutes), partial and complete canal transits.
 
Some of these places are many hours from Panamá City, but you can also go by local airplane.  It all depends on the time you plan to stay, and if you want adventure or a relaxed visit.  There are hotels by the canal with beautiful views, very modern hotels in the city, as well as at the beaches or in the mountains, but also very modest hotels from which to chose.
 
(Panama Canal Museum, Panama, pictured.)
Alan Filliger of Alana la Casa del Arte – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
For me the best things to do in Panama would be about the same best things to do where you are now.  What is best for you? 
 
If you love the outdoors Panama is great for biking, hiking, sightseeing, hunting for orchids in the mountains, checking out waterfalls, boating, fishing, horseback riding, ATVing, scuba, snorkeling, golfing, river-rafting, kayaking, surfing following the "beckoning road", climbing trees, bird watching, searching for wildlife .... You name it.  I think Panama has it all for outside activities.
 
Shopping, movies, health clubs, horse races, the auto show, concerts, boxing, soccer and baseball are all fun things to do.  Finding good to great restaurants is wonderful.  Checking out the party scene of discotheques,  bars and lively casinos might just be a great ticket for you.
 
You can do just about anything and everything in Panama.  I believe the only real limits are in your mind.
Allen Rosen – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Go see the 16th century Spanish stone fort at San Lorenzo on the Atlantic coast in Colon Province. It is one of the great historical treasures of Panama and rarely visited by tourists. 
 
Henry Morgan, the Welsh pirate, liked it enough that he stormed the fort with his band of miscreants and killed the Spanish defenders.
 
You can have a great time just by driving there and seeing the spectacular views of the confluence of Rio Chagras and the Atlantic ocean, plus some very impressive old cannons and stone fortifications.
 
Go! 
 
 

 
Anne Gordon de Barrigón of Whale Watching Panama/Emberá Village Tours – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
One of the best things to do in Panama is to visit an Emberá Indian village.  The Emberá people are one of 7 indigenous tribes in Panama and many of them still live in traditional villages deep in the rainforest.  Emberá Village, Chagres National Park, Panama
 
The Emberá people are warm, open and welcoming and are equally curious about the visitors who come to meet them.  They are eager and happy to share about their culture and traditions with others.  Spending a day or an overnight with the Emberá people is like stepping into a National Geographic film.
 
Emberá girls, Emberá Puru village, Panama                                     
 
The Emberá people have the quality of life the rest of the world is searching for.  The people are very happy and content without most of the trappings of the modern world.  In most Emberá villages there is no electricity, internet and no cell phone signal.  It is so refreshing to see the peaceful and happy faces of the Emberá children without video games, cell phones and iPads. 
      Many villages can be easily accessed in a 1 day tour or an overnight tour for complete immersion into the Emberá culture.  You leave Panama city around 8:00 am and return by 5:00 pm for the day tour, and early afternoon the next day for the overnight tour.
Emberá dugout canoe, Panama     You will drive for about an hour out to the boat ramp on Lake Alajuela and embark in a handmade (very stable) dugout canoe to travel about 45 minutes across the lake and up the river to the Emberá village.  Upon arrival in the village you will be given a traditional greeting of music and then given a fascinating presentation about the Emberá culture, traditions, how they live and survive today. 
Emberá cooking lunch, Emberá Puru village, PanamaYou will be served a traditional lunch of delicious fried fish and patacones (plantains) with fresh fruit. 
   After lunch you have the option of taking a short hike with a village elder to learn about medicinal plants, and/or take a refreshing swim in the river, take pictures, talk with the Emberá people, get a temporary tattoo or purchase some of their exquisite world class baskets made from palm fibers or sophisticated cocobolo wood or tagua seed carvings. All items are handmade by the Emberá people and often charge $1.00 per day that it took the artist to make the basket or carving! 
Tourism is their only source of income, as they live inside the Chagres National Park that was created around them in 1984.  This park protects the water source for the canal.  However the park department prohibits the Emberá from traditional hunting, commercial agriculture and any materials they would like to harvest from the forest to use to build their houses, or boats, they are required to pay a fee to the park.  So your visit and purchases in the village help the Emberá people sustain their chosen lifestyle, culture and traditions.
Emberá women's dance, PanamaFinally, your day tour visit will end with a presentation of women's shamanic dances and some celebrational music and dancing, that you may be invited to participate in.  Be careful, the Emberá say that if you don't dance, you have to live with them in the village for 8 months! 
As you get ready to board the dugout canoe to head back down the river, your head and heart will be filled with new friends and great memories of your day or overnight with the friendly and warm Emberá people.  It is truly an unforgettable experience. 
 

 

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