5 Destinations For Backpackers In Panama

Bocas del toro

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Panama is the Southernmost country in Central America and the gateway to the world, thanks to the Panama Canal, one of the world greatest engineering feats. Panama has something for everyone, pristine Caribbean beaches, Pacific surfing beaches, rainforests, ancient architecture and history and up and coming metropolitan areas. I backpacked through Panama and loved it. These are the top 5 destinations for backpackers in Panama.

Bocas Del Toro

The Bocas del Toro Province is made up of tropical islands surrounded by crystal clear waters with extensive coral reefs and colourful varieties of tropical fish. Bocas Del Toro offers a variety of activities including Scuba Diving, surfing, fishing, underwater deep boarding (this is a unique adventure you have to try), jet skiing, hiking to private beaches and partying. Bocas Del Toro is well known for its party scene amongst backpackers. Anyone who has been to Panama will tell you not to miss out Bocas Del Toro.

Destinations For Backpackers In Panama

San Blas Islands 

The San Blas Islands are made up of 365 tropical islands and cays, 49 of which are inhabited. The Islands are located in the Caribbean Sea off the East Coast of Panama. People most commonly take sailing trips through the San Blas Islands from Panama or Colombia. Once in the Islands, you can enjoy snorkelling, swimming in pristine waters, island hopping, tanning and relaxing. Panama’s indigenous people, the Kuna, populate the Islands and welcome visitors for a nominal fee.

Destinations for backpackers in Panama

The San Blas Islands are much more untouched and pristine than the Islands of Bocas Del Toro. Bocas Del Toro, however, is more easily accessible.

Panama City

Panama City is a dynamic metropolis. Located at the crossroads of two oceans and two continents. The city has numerous tourist attractions. Particularly interesting for tourists are the Panama Canal, Casco Viejo and Ancon Hill. See my backpackers guide to Panama City here. 

Destinations For Backpackers In Panama

You might also like – 5 things to do in Panama City.


Explore coffee farms, hike to natural hot springs or climb Central America’s highest volcano, Volcano Baru. Boquete is an adventure packed destination offering just about an activity you can think of. Zip lining, horse riding, ATV tours, rock climbing, river rafting, you name it, you can do it in Boquete. I loved the little town of Boquete and recommend stopping in for 3 days. See my Boquete Destination Guide here.

Destinations For Backpackers In Panama

Santa Catalina 

Santa Catalina is an increasingly popular surf destination in Panama. This destination is a hidden gem and still fairly secluded so don’t expect glitz and glamour, get ready to catch fantastic waves, snorkel, scuba dive and relax on the beautiful beaches.

These are 5 of the best destinations for Backpackers In Panama. See more from Panama and Central America here.

Also check out this Complete Panama Backpacking Guide: Routes, Hostels, and What to Do.

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Disclosure: This post on Destinations For Backpackers In Panama contains affiliate links.

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