You can see a lot in Panama in two weeks. I stayed for a little over two weeks and felt it was plenty of time. In fact, I would have maybe gotten bored if I had stayed on longer and felt like the places I visited covered the various regions of Panama from sea to jungle, luxe to eco. I really strived to see all the sides of the country while I was there and am excited to share my 2 week Panama itinerary with you!
First of all, make sure you read my other Panama articles:
For each of the places below on the itinerary, I also have more articles on each destination so won’t be going into detail on what to do in each place and will instead link to the articles I wrote on each place. I want to make sure you know where to go, in what order, and how to get to each of them in a budget-friendly way.
It’s not hard to see how to spend two weeks in Panama without getting bored – but these are really the top places to see and unless you have a real draw to this region I think this is pretty sufficient for a first-time visit. In fact, even if you go to Panama for a week or can try to stretch to just 10 days, you can see a lot. I’ll put a reduced itinerary below for one week. I stayed 3 nights longer than this itinerary so to make it two weeks, I took off a night in Panama City and 2 nights in Bocas Del Toro.
Perfect Panama Itinerary for Two Weeks
3 nights in Panama City (you’ll come back again later)
You can fly into Tocumen Airport and get an Uber ($17) or taxi ($30) to your hotel. I recommend staying Casco Viejo. Check out this article to see what to do in Panama City. I recommend staying in the American Trade Hotel or Las Clementinas. If you’re on a budget, check out a hostel in Casco Viejo for around $15.
3 nights in San Blas Islands
The San Blas Islands, or as they are now called Guna Yala Islands, are the best part of Panama. Don’t skip them! You need AT LEAST two nights here. Avoid taking a day trip and really go the extra effort to stay. Here are all my tips on San Blas.
For transportation, all options are listed in my San Blas article but it’s most likely that your hotel will arrange it for you to and from Panama City.
1 night in Panama City (you have to come back here to catch transport onward)
You’ll come back to Panama City for a night. Realistically, you cannot avoid this unless you go to the small airport of Playan Chico airport and fly to David from there (which honestly is an option if you’re short on time). I liked coming back to Panama City to regroup after being in the islands and have some good food, nightlife, and a comfortable hotel before heading off again.
Fly to David
You’ll fly to David which is the hub of the Western side of the country and is located just an hour from both Boquete and Boca Chica, which are both top tourist places to visit.
3 nights in the Gulf of Chiriqui, near Boca Chica
First, we went down to the Gulf Chiriqui which makes the most sense time-wise. You can come down here to get some of the Pacific vibes of Panama since Bocas Del Toro and San Blas are on the Caribbean side. This is the prime place for whale watching. I stayed on the epic Isla Palenque which you can read about here. I had the hotel arrange transportation, but there are taxis and buses that can take you from David airport to Bocas Chica which takes about 45 minutes.
2 nights in Boquete
You can take a bus or hire a taxi to take you up to Boquete. You’ll go back the way you came and it takes about two hours to reach Boquete, which is a mountain town located in a beautiful valley next to Baru Volcano. You can do adventure activities here and enjoy the cold fresh air. You can read my Boquete travel guide here.
2 nights in Bocas Del Toro
From Boquete, you can head to Bocas Del Toro which takes a little under 4 hours. This time, I did a tourist shuttle but you can go by bus or taxi as well. My shuttle was $30. Remember, in my Panama Guide and information on each place I have more details You can read my article 13 things you need to know before visiting Bocas Del Toro here.
Fly back to Panama City
From Bocas Del Toro, you can fly back to Panama City with Air Panama for $100, landing at Albrook Airport. It’s a $25 taxi to the main international airport to catch your flight home. Flights leave Bocas at 740 AM or 10 AM. They can sometimes be canceled due to weather apparently, but it was raining and gloomy when we left and they still took off so I imagine it’d have to be pretty bad weather.
Panama in One Week
If you only have one week to spend in Panama, don’t fret – you can still see some cool places! I’ll walk you through a one-week itinerary for Panama.
Panama City – 3 Nights
Day Trip to San Blas – technically one of the days you are in Panama
Fly to David early morning and spend 1 day and night in Boquete
Arrange transport in the morning to Chiriqui and stay in Boca Chica for 2 nights
Fly out to Panama City to catch a flight home
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