Why Panama should be on your go-to list
Every career lion needs some unwinding to stay sane after focusing on all that optimizing and productivity. Let's just call holiday's human chargers. I am currently on holiday and would like to share why you should add Panama to your go-to list. A list of places that you still want to visit and consider when you plan your holiday. We never really plan our holiday ahead and mainly decide last minute where to go and what to do, using the go-to list. Last year, I watched this small compilation on traveling to Panama on my flight to Cape Town. Truth be told, I couldn't get Panama out of my head. It was said to be a perfect mix of extremes, Panama City being the metropolis that it is and the blind blowing nature everywhere else. Panama truly has everything that I would want in a holiday destination. So, that being a small introduction to why you should visit Panama, here is a list of the highlights from of our itinerary.
First of all, the skyline of Panama City is gorgeous. The city offers huge malls, many restaurants, and some amazing places for sight seeing. Some of the highlights being the Panama canal locks, the Bilboa museum of biodiversity designed by Frank Gehry (the creator of the Guggenheim museum of Bilboa), and the historic town. Seeing the Panama canal locks in person was a dream come true, being an engineer and having studied transport, infrastructure, and logistics and all.
Santa Catalina and Coiba
Santa Catalina is the perfect surf spot on the Pacific side of Panama to get lessons and practice, with waves year-round. The nature is gorgeous and it is a small town that is still undiscovered by the crowds. It is also the gateway to Coiba, an island rich of wildlife that is one of Panama's national parks. Here, both the nature and marine life are exquisite. You can dive there, but even just snorkeling is worth the trip. On our trip we saw turtles, manta ray's, sharks, tarantula's, birds, and lots of different breathtaking fish.
Boquete is the go-to is you want to get adventures in nature. This place in the mountains is the place to hike and see birds. There is also this challenging hike to the volcano for the dare-devils that is supposed to be amazing (I am not that adventurous unfortunately). The hike to the three lost waterfalls is beautiful, though a bit muddy for my taste. My favorite hike and recommendation would be the "pipeline" trail. This brings you to a massive old tree and waterfall, enjoying a nice workout.
Bocas del Toro
Bocas del Toro is a group of islands in the Caribbean. Here, you can cycle on the main island, snorkel, dive, surf, see wild dolphins, and gaze at the sloths! This place is truly breathtaking. To see these creatures in their natural habitats is beyond. Surfing at Bocas entails reef breaks. We have tried both the reef and beach breaks now, all in all we definitely prefer beach breaks. Even if it’s just because I got seasick from the reef surfing. It is also a nice place to party, after all you need to "work hard, play hard".
In Panama it can be very rainy. Therefore, make sure you visit Panama in the dry season (mid-December till mid-April). During this period you might still get a few drops, but they won't stand in the way of your dreamy and recharging holiday. A few clouds here and there might even be nice, as it definitely can get around 30 degrees celsius when you are not in the mountains.
One final tip for all #careerlions that are also not much of a holiday planner, make sure you avoid any sorts of Panamanian holidays (like the Christmas break that lasts till at least the 2nd of January). Our first plan was to rent a car, but seriously all cars were rented out. In terms of hotel choice, we were definitely not able to stay at our first picks most of the time. Either way, the amount of busses that drive through Panama is crazy. You don't have to use any of the fancy shuttles, you can just take the bus with the locals. For most of the locations that we visited you might have to transfer busses, but you will never have to wait long.
Reading this, is Panama going to be on your list of holiday destinations? What are you looking for in a holiday? Already been to Panama and have any additions to this list? Let us know in the comment section.