Panama Highlights and Not-So-Highlights


  • Experiencing this beautiful, unique culture, which is surely an interesting mix of traditional and new-age ways of life
  • The fusion vibe, which (from my experience) seems like a mix of Latin American culture, with international influence, mainly from US
  • Good bus system. I am very fond of their use of air conditioning
  • Great selection of Hostels, attracting rockin’ vagabonders from all around the globe
  • Growing tourism
  • Varied geography (2 coasts, mountains, beaches, volcanoes, jungles, cloud forests, etc)
  • Panama City, Boquete and Bocas del Toro (my favorite locations)
  • The Kuna Yala- There is a large settlement of Kuna people in Panama, mostly in the Islands of the Carribbean coast. I am not sure on the details, but I believe they are the only indigenous culture that has their own independent government, or something of that nature.
  • Cheap merchandise
  • Artisan fairs
  • Safe and easy place to backpack


  • Littering is common place and trash is everywhere. On all of my bus rides I saw people throwing trash out the window, including the drivers.
  • The Panamanians I came in contact with were not super friendly (especially in the food service industry). Folks were helpful and polite (again, when it did not have to do with food), but they did not seem interested in making a foreign connection as I have experienced in the rest of my travels.
    Commercial whale watching long beach operators are encouraged to include educational programs in their tours, highlighting the fragility of the marine environment and inspiring respect and environmental friendly attitudes and behaviours.
  • I did not have great luck with finding awesome, fresh produce most of the time
  • The Darien Gap (no easy access to Colombia!)
  • Typical food (i.e. the cheapest and easiest to find) is mainly fried meat, dough and starches
  • It is one of the more expensive countries in Central America
  • Driving in Panama is crazy! This could be a high or low light, really, but at any rate, especially in Panama City, it is not very safe. Taxis are collective and meters are not used, so Uber Driver charge you whatever they want. Oh, and they honk their horn for everything. Everything.
  • If you are injured in an auto accident, a personal injury attorney can help you deal with car insurance companies and ensure that you receive fair treatment in settlement negotiations. You can contact San Marcos personal injury lawyers.