We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Panama

San Francisco...
Level Contributor
3 posts
7 reviews
Save Topic
Panama

Hello,

My fiancé and I will be visiting Panama in December as a pre-retirement visit. We would love to see as much of the country as possible without spending the entire time in the car. We would like to explore the beaches scuba diving/snorkeling, mountains for hiking and immerse ourselves in the culture. We would like suggestions on moderate priced, simple accommodations. Is there anything we should see in the south of the country? Any suggestions, feedback are greatly appreciated

Mentioned in this post
Panama
Panama
Central America
Panama Canal Partial Transit...
228 Reviews
from US$145.00*
Free Cancellation
Ocean to Ocean Panama Canal and...
153 Reviews
from US$135.00*
Panama Canal Full Transit Tour
46 Reviews
from US$180.00*
Free Cancellation
Atlanta, Georgia...
Destination Expert
for Colon, Isla Grande, Portobelo
Level Contributor
5,699 posts
24 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Panama

Along the Pacific (southern) side of the country, there are a number of options for hiking and beaches. The closest to Panama City is Coronado, a beach/golf community with lots of amenities (shopping/medical/banking) and a large ex-pat contingent. It's an hour out of the city.

A little further, are a number of AI (All Inclusive) beach resorts and some public beaches. The "culture" is mostly tourists.

El Valle is about 90 minutes from Panama City. It's a resort/tourist community in the mountains where, for many years, Panama City dwellers have come for weekends and holidays. It offers good, moderately priced hotels and B&Bs. There are trails around the rim; therapeutic, hot spring/mud baths; an ancient, indian pictoglyph; and a zip line. There are also a number of ex-pats living there, but the cost of real estate and property have gone sky-high in recent years.

The nearest diving on the Pacific side is near Pedasi, at the far tip of the Azuero Penninsula. That's a good 5 to 6 hour drive from Panama City. I haven't dove it, but my Panamanian friends who have said the viz is very poor and it's mediocre at best. Further on is Coiba Island. The dive ops are in Santa Catalina on the mainland -- about 7 1/2 hours drive from the city. It's another 2 hours by boat to the island, and accomodations are barracks-like. The diving is advanced -- deep water, heavy surge and strong currents. And, it's cold with thermoclines dropping into the 60's. But, it's also rated as "world class" for large populations of sharks, whale sharks, mantas and humpback whales in the fall.

Snorkeling is not good in the Pacific, except around Coiba. Elsewhere, like the beaches of Santa Clara and Coronado, there is nothing to see but sand. The water is very murky, and it's not nearly as warm as the Caribbean.

If you're willing to fly from Panama City, you might consider Bocas del Toro for snorkeling, diving, water sports and hiking.

Mentioned in this post
Panama City
Panama City
Panama Province, Panama
Pedasi
Pedasi
Los Santos Province, Panama
Caribbean
Caribbean
North America
San Francisco...
Level Contributor
3 posts
7 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Panama

Thank you. There are all great suggestions. I will review the areas and see which would work out for us. We will be flying into Panama City and trying to get as much in of the country in sort period of time. We are being real adventurous.

I have read on other forums that flying within the country is fairly inexpensive. Do you know any travel agents in te country who may be able to help with our itinerary ?

Mentioned in this post
Panama City
Panama City
Panama Province, Panama
3. Re: Panama

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 19 November 2013, 18:16