Imagine if I were to tell you I woke up to the sounds of waves lapping peacefully against the shore… had lunch overlooking a vibrant mountain range… and by sunset found myself toasting cocktails on the rooftop bar of a chic 64-level high rise.
You might think I had access to a private jet (or a very vivid imagination.) Living in Panama, however, a day like this is entirely feasible– whether or not you’re on a high-flying budget.
Panama offers the distinct advantage of offering many beautiful and diverse landscapes– many of which are within easy driving distance of one another.
With as little as an hour’s drive between lush rainforests, serene salt-and-pepper beaches, and a glamorous city skyline– one can easily experience a multitude of environments in one leisurely day.
What follows are some of our favorite ways to spend a day in Panama. Though we could happily spend a full day on any one item, most days we find ourselves mixing-and-matching between diverse activities and landscapes– creating our own daily adventure.
1. Cycling in Panama City
It’s hard not to be impressed by the Cinta Costera– the vibrant, expansive, and festive boardwalk running along the bay of Panama City. With fresh ocean breezes, fine landscaping, and stunning 360 views of the new city and old– any day is a good day to take a leisurely ride on the Cinta.
If you happen to go on Sunday, you’ll have an even more sprawling track to enjoy. Panama City shuts down long stretches of road from 6 AM to 11 AM every Sunday, providing a temporary bike line that runs from Panama Viejo all the way down the Cinta Costera. It’s a truly exhilarating way to explore the city and enjoy Panama’s beautiful tropical atmosphere.
Love the Cinta Costera? Check out this stunning 2-bedroom oceanview that overlooks it.
2. Enjoying Facilities at Coronado Golf & Beach Resort
Located in the heart of Coronado is the Coronado Golf & Beach Resort. This expansive resort and residential community offers an 18-hole golf course, a golf and beach club, a resort swimming pool, tennis courts, playgrounds, fitness center, and a luxurious spa.
Whether you own a condo at the prestigious Coronado Golf, a home within the community, or hold an annual membership– you’ll find Coronado Golf & Beach Resort to be a luxurious, relaxing, and fun-filled way to spend an afternoon, morning, or even the whole day.
Have you seen the stunning new development coming to the Coronado Golf community?
3. Indulge in a Lavish Brunch at Playa Bonita
Ideally located just 10 minutes from Panama City and 50 minutes from Panama’s popular Pacific beach communities, The Westin at Playa Bonita offers a truly unparalleled brunch experience.
As if the lavish spread of edible goodies weren’t enough, brunch-goers also enjoy a striking view of sparkling swimming pools, a serene beachfront stretch, the neighboring rainforest, and all the birds of paradise it brings. You can make out the skyline of Panama City glittering in the distance, and ships lining up to enter the famed Panama Canal.
Such a view is a daily reality for residents of Casa Bonita– the neighboring upscale residential palace. However, even if you don’t live in one of the fabulous condos at Casa Bonita, you can still stop by for brunch or an overnight stay on your way into or out of Panama City.
Residents of Casa Bonita enjoy these resort amenities every day. See what else they enjoy:
4. Surfing & Stand Up Paddleboarding in Coronado, Gorgona, and San Carlos
These 3 beach communities– all favorites amongst expats– offer some of the best waves near Panama City. A variety of diverse beach breaks offer levels suitable for everyone– from the sun-battered surfer to the cautious first-timer.
If surfing is one of your favorite past times– or has long been on your to-learn list– these beaches offer a great place to grab a board and dive in. And with some of the best beach developments in Panama– including Bahia, Coronado Golf, and Rio Mar–located within minutes of the beach breaks, you’ll be able to look out your window and see just when is the best time to hit the beach.
Live to Surf? This beachfront condo is footsteps from one of Panama’s best surf breaks.
5. Shopping in Panama City
Panama City offers one of the best shopping experiences in Latin America. Just ask the hordes of people that fly into Panama City specifically for blow-out shopping trips.
With several full-scale shopping malls and seemingly endless commercial plazas– you can find everything you need in Panama City (along with a lot of things you don’t need, but might still want!) Whether you’re looking for high-end brands, bargain hunting, or shopping for authentic indigenous handicrafts to add to your collection– you’ll have no trouble filling your shopping quota in Panama City.
Love the city life? Check out this turn-key furnished rental in the prestigious White Tower.
6. Soaking Up Beach Amenities
Certain developments in Panama’s Pacific beach communities offer amenities that would impress even the most distinguished travelers. If you live in one of these developments, having a resort-like day is as easy as catching an elevator ride.
Rio Mar in San Carlos, for example is home to an expansive spread of luxurious amenities– including multiple pools, a spacious outdoor lounge area, children’s playground and trampoline, gourmet restaurant, fitness center and, of course, direct beachfront access.
Intrigued? Check out this elegant 2-bedroom beachfront in Rio Mar.
7. Walking Tour of Casco Viejo
This might sound “touristy” at first– but no matter how long we’ve lived in Panama, we never tire of strolling around the charming colonial streets of Casco Viejo.
Casco Viejo is the chic historic district of Panama City, where modernity blends artfully together with culture and antiquity. It’s a neighborhood of charismatic contrast– beautifully renovated gourmet restaurants and boutique hotels stand amongst historic landmarks and antiquated walls. The government, along with private developers, have done an outstanding job of remodeling Casco Viejo over the past few years– revitalizing it into a modern-day hotspot while still maintaining its authentic cultural roots. Whether you’ve been in Panama for 2 weeks or 2 years, an afternoon spent strolling around the historic city is an afternoon put to good use.