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Punta Paitilla Neighborhood in Panama City

15 Best Places to Live in Panama

By Joshua Wood, LPC

Universal Tax Professionals
Universal Tax Professionals

Summary: If you're dreaming about living in Panama, here are the 15 Best Places to Live in Panama in 2023.

Panama City

Panama City

Panama City, the capital of Panama, is a vibrant and cosmopolitan city with a population of approximately 1.5 million people. It is located near other notable cities such as Colon, which is about 80 kilometers (50 miles) away, and David, which is approximately 330 kilometers (205 miles) away. Panama City boasts an efficient public transportation system, including the modern Metro de Panama and an extensive network of buses. The city experiences a tropical climate with temperatures ranging from 24 to 32 degrees Celsius (75 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit) throughout the year. There are numerous recreational activities available in Panama City, catering to a wide range of interests. For nature lovers, the Metropolitan Natural Park offers a lush green space within the city, while the nearby Soberania National Park provides opportunities for birdwatching and hiking. Golf enthusiasts can enjoy a round at the Summit Golf Club or the Tucan Country Club and Resort. The city also offers a vibrant nightlife scene, with numerous bars, clubs, and restaurants to explore. Additionally, the Amador Causeway is a popular destination for walking, biking, and enjoying stunning views of the city skyline and the Panama Canal.

Expats Talk about Living in Panama City:

"Travel as light as you can. Open yourself to the experience of daily life where you land. Don't choose a permanent base-of-operations until you have considered EVERYTHING that is important to you, and that you've been to other areas of Panama. It's a small country with amazing diversity. Give yourself the opportunity to experience the banquet!!!," said one expat living in Panama City.

Local Recommendations:

Savor the flavors of Panama City with a visit to Maito, a culinary gem that offers a unique fusion of Panamanian and international cuisine. Don't miss their tasting menu, which showcases the best of local ingredients and flavors. For a more casual dining experience, head to the Mercado de Mariscos, where you can indulge in the freshest seafood dishes, ceviche being the star of the show. If you're craving Italian, make a reservation at Riesen, an elegant eatery that serves up mouthwatering homemade pasta and wood-fired pizzas. After a day of exploring, retreat to the luxurious American Trade Hotel, a beautifully restored historic building in the heart of Casco Viejo. For a more budget-friendly option, consider the charming and cozy Magnolia Inn, also located in the vibrant Casco Viejo neighborhood.

Boquete

Boquete

Boquete is a charming mountain town located in the western highlands of the country. It is approximately 60 kilometers (37 miles) from the city of David and about 500 kilometers (310 miles) from Panama City. The town is known for its cool climate, with temperatures ranging from 12 to 28 degrees Celsius (54 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit), making it a popular destination for both locals and tourists seeking a break from the heat. Boquete offers a variety of recreational activities, such as hiking, birdwatching, and coffee plantation tours. One of the most popular hiking destinations is the Baru Volcano National Park, where visitors can trek to the summit of the highest peak in Panama. For those interested in golf, the Lucero Golf and Country Club provides a challenging course with stunning views of the surrounding mountains. In addition, the Boquete Tree Trek Mountain Resort offers zip-lining adventures through the cloud forest, giving visitors a unique perspective of the area's natural beauty.

Expats Talk about Living in Boquete:

"We visited here many times before moving and stayed in different areas each time. There are 13 micro-climates here and they vary greatly. Some roads are not good so that may play into housing decisions too. Temperatures vary, even 5 minutes away can make a big difference. There are also areas that get extremely windy in Jan-Feb. Rent before buying," said one expat living in Boquete.

"Come and visit several areas before making the move. We have snakes, though I haven't seen one yet. We do not have mosquitos. If you select an International Mover, avoid Move Management. They are very efficient on the US side, but they use PIR on the Panama side. PIR can't create a ACH to withdraw funds from your checking account, nor can they swipe a debit or credit card. As Manny Rojas in Miami,says, you can always pay in cash. (his relatives in Panama City run PIR) If you do not have two thousand in cash it may take you nine days to get the cash from an ATM, meanwhile, port charges, at $50 per day, keep mounting. I was withdrawing from 2 different banks in the US banks on a daily basis. BTW, every ATM here spits out $20.00 bills. You may have to fight with your US bank to make them understand that there is no Foreign Exchange issue in Panama. Mastercard charged as much as $12 foreign transaction. They have since reduced those fees to $5 or $6. Visa charges $4. If you don't have a place for your goods to be delivered, PIR charges $500 per month or any portion thereof, even one extra day will cost you $500.00. One more thing, if you send them a wire transfer, their bank charges PIR $90, which they will gleefully pass on to you. Bring buckets of cash or avoid Move Management. Your local US contact will drop you like a hot potato as soon as your goods are on the water. There is a storage place on the way to Boquete called Chiriqui Storage run by Hellmut and Linda Pederson. One good sized locker is $100/mo. A 20 ft. container would take two lockers," wrote a member in Alto Boquete.

Local Recommendations:

Nestled in the lush highlands of Boquete, you'll find a culinary scene that's as vibrant as the surrounding landscape. Start your gastronomic journey at The Rock, a cozy restaurant offering a fusion of international and Panamanian flavors, where you can indulge in dishes like coconut curry shrimp and slow-cooked pork ribs. For a more casual dining experience, head to Big Daddy's Grill, a local favorite known for its mouthwatering burgers, fresh ceviche, and ice-cold beers. Don't miss out on RetroGusto, an Italian gem tucked away in the heart of Boquete, serving up homemade pasta and wood-fired pizzas that will transport you straight to the streets of Rome. After a day of feasting, retreat to the luxurious Panamonte Inn & Spa, a charming boutique hotel with beautifully appointed rooms and a rejuvenating spa. Alternatively, immerse yourself in nature at the eco-friendly Finca Lerida, a coffee plantation and boutique hotel offering stunning mountain views and a chance to explore the surrounding cloud forest.

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Interested in expat health insurance? Take a minute to get quotes from our partner, International Citizens Insurance, a trusted expat health insurance broker. They will provide you with comparison quotes from some of the biggest expat health insurers: Cigna, Allianz, IMG and GeoBlue.
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Bocas del Toro

Bocas del Toro

Bocas del Toro, is a stunning archipelago located in the Caribbean Sea, near the border with Costa Rica. It is approximately 32 kilometers (20 miles) from the Costa Rican town of Puerto Viejo and 191 kilometers (119 miles) from the Panamanian city of David. The climate in Bocas del Toro is tropical, with average temperatures ranging from 22°C to 30°C (72°F to 86°F) throughout the year. The region is known for its beautiful beaches, lush rainforests, and vibrant coral reefs, making it a popular destination for tourists seeking relaxation and adventure. Recreational activities in Bocas del Toro include surfing, snorkeling, scuba diving, and exploring the numerous islands by boat. Some of the notable spots to visit are Starfish Beach, Red Frog Beach, and the Bastimentos Island National Marine Park. While there are no golf clubs in the immediate area, visitors can enjoy the natural beauty of the region through hiking, birdwatching, and visiting local indigenous communities.

Expats Talk about Living in Bocas del Toro:

"Rent first before you buy. Your paradise today may not be what you will think in 6 months. Brings essentials and sell everything else, you can get it cheaper here," said one expat living in Bocas del Toro.

Local Recommendations:

Savor the flavors of Bocas del Toro at the enchanting El Ultimo Refugio, where Caribbean and international cuisine blend seamlessly to create mouthwatering dishes. Dine on fresh seafood and locally sourced ingredients while enjoying the waterfront view. For a more casual atmosphere, head to Bibi's on the Beach, a laid-back eatery offering scrumptious seafood tacos and ceviche, accompanied by stunning ocean vistas. After a day of exploring, unwind at the luxurious Azul Paradise, an eco-friendly resort boasting overwater bungalows and beachfront villas. Alternatively, experience the charm of the Caribbean at the boutique Gran Hotel Bahia, a beautifully restored colonial building with modern amenities and a prime location in the heart of Bocas Town.

Coronado

Coronado

Coronado is a thriving beach town located approximately 80 kilometers (50 miles) west of Panama City, making it a popular destination for both tourists and locals alike. Its close proximity to other notable cities such as San Carlos, which is just 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) away, and El Valle de Anton, situated 28 kilometers (17 miles) away, adds to its appeal. The climate in Coronado is tropical, with average temperatures ranging from 24°C to 30°C (75°F to 86°F), providing the perfect setting for various outdoor recreational activities. The town offers a range of leisure pursuits, including golfing at the renowned Coronado Golf & Beach Resort, surfing at the nearby Malibu Beach, and exploring the natural beauty of the area through hiking trails and parks such as Cerro Chame and Cerro Picacho. While there is no public transportation system within Coronado itself, visitors can easily access the town via buses and taxis from Panama City and other nearby locations.

Local Recommendations:

Savor the flavors of Coronado with a visit to these top-notch eateries. Start your culinary journey at Picasso Café, Bar & Restaurante, where you'll find a delightful fusion of international and local cuisine, served in a cozy atmosphere adorned with local artwork. For a taste of the sea, head to Luna Rossa, an Italian seafood restaurant offering a variety of fresh, locally-sourced dishes, including their signature lobster pasta. Finally, indulge in authentic Panamanian fare at Restaurante Cholo's, where you can enjoy traditional dishes like sancocho and ceviche in a laid-back, open-air setting. After a day of exploring and dining, unwind at one of Coronado's highly recommended hotels. The Coronado Luxury Club & Suites offers upscale accommodations, complete with a private beach, golf course, and spa, ensuring a truly relaxing stay. For a more intimate experience, consider the boutique-style Casa de Los Suenos, where you'll find charming rooms and personalized service, all within walking distance of the area's top attractions.

Kovalenko & Vera Attorneys at Law in PanamaKovalenko & Vera Attorneys at Law in Panama
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Kovalenko & Vera is a Panamanian law firm that specializes in immigration law, corporate law, real estate law, banking, contract negotiation, taxes and flag registry. With more than 20 years of professional practice, Kovalenko & Vera builds lasting relationships with our clients to ensure your interests are safeguarded.

Click connect to have our partner contact you via e-mail and/or phone.

Kovalenko & Vera Attorneys at Law in PanamaKovalenko & Vera Attorneys at Law in Panama

Kovalenko & Vera is a Panamanian law firm that specializes in immigration law, corporate law, real estate law, banking, contract negotiation, taxes and flag registry. With more than 20 years of professional practice, Kovalenko & Vera builds lasting relationships with our clients to ensure your interests are safeguarded.
Connect

Click connect to have our partner contact you via e-mail and/or phone.

El Valle de Anton

El Valle de Anton

El Valle de Anton, is a picturesque town nestled in the crater of an extinct volcano, offering a unique and tranquil escape for visitors. Located approximately 120 kilometers (75 miles) west of Panama City, it is easily accessible by car or bus, making it a popular weekend getaway for both locals and tourists. The climate in El Valle de Anton is pleasant year-round, with average temperatures ranging from 18 to 28 degrees Celsius (64 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit), providing a refreshing break from the heat and humidity of the lowlands. There are numerous recreational activities available in El Valle de Anton, catering to a wide range of interests. Nature enthusiasts can explore the lush forests and stunning waterfalls on various hiking trails, such as the popular India Dormida trail or the Cerro Gaital Natural Monument. For those interested in wildlife, the Nispero Zoo and Botanical Garden is home to a diverse collection of animals and plants, while the Butterfly Haven offers a chance to observe and learn about the region's colorful butterflies. Adventure seekers can enjoy zip-lining through the treetops at Canopy Adventure or horseback riding through the scenic countryside. Additionally, the town is known for its vibrant artisan market, where visitors can shop for unique handicrafts and souvenirs. With its charming atmosphere, beautiful surroundings, and array of activities, El Valle de Anton is a must-visit destination in Panama.

Local Recommendations:

Nestled in the lush greenery of El Valle de Anton, La Casa de Lourdes offers a delightful dining experience with its exquisite international cuisine and enchanting garden setting. For a more casual affair, head to Bruschetta's, where you can indulge in mouth-watering Italian dishes and wood-fired pizzas while enjoying the cozy atmosphere. Don't miss out on the local flavors at Fonda El Valle, a charming eatery serving traditional Panamanian fare with a side of warm hospitality. When it comes to accommodation, the luxurious Los Mandarinos Boutique Hotel & Spa is a top choice, boasting elegant rooms, a relaxing spa, and stunning views of the surrounding mountains. For a more intimate stay, consider the charming Anton Valley Hotel, a quaint bed and breakfast offering personalized service and a serene ambiance, perfect for unwinding after a day of exploring this picturesque town.

Pedasi

Pedasi

Pedasi is a charming small town located on the Azuero Peninsula, known for its beautiful beaches, vibrant culture, and friendly locals. It is situated approximately 336 kilometers (209 miles) southwest of Panama City and 77 kilometers (48 miles) southeast of Chitre, making it a popular destination for both tourists and locals alike. The climate in Pedasi is tropical, with average temperatures ranging from 24°C to 30°C (75°F to 86°F) throughout the year. Recreational activities in Pedasi are abundant, with a focus on outdoor and water-based pursuits. Visitors can enjoy surfing, snorkeling, and scuba diving at nearby beaches such as Playa Venao and Playa Destiladeros. Sportfishing is also a popular activity, with many local operators offering guided tours to catch tuna, marlin, and other big game fish. For those who prefer land-based activities, the surrounding countryside offers opportunities for hiking, horseback riding, and birdwatching. While there are no golf clubs or parks within Pedasi itself, the natural beauty and diverse activities available in the area more than make up for it.

Local Recommendations:

For a taste of authentic Panamanian cuisine, head to Smiley's Restaurant, where you'll find a laid-back atmosphere and a menu filled with local favorites like ceviche and patacones. If you're craving something a bit more international, indulge in the Italian delights at Pizzeria Villa Romana, where the wood-fired pizzas and homemade pasta dishes are sure to satisfy. For a more upscale dining experience, visit La Huerta, where the farm-to-table concept is taken to new heights with a menu that changes daily based on the freshest ingredients available. When it comes to accommodations, the charming boutique hotel Casa Lajagua is a top choice, offering a serene oasis with its lush gardens and inviting pool. For a more luxurious stay, consider the upscale Villa Camilla, where you'll be treated to stunning ocean views, a private beach, and top-notch amenities.

International Citizens Insurance

Interested in expat health insurance? Take a minute to get quotes from our partner, International Citizens Insurance, a trusted expat health insurance broker. They will provide you with comparison quotes from some of the biggest expat health insurers: Cigna, Allianz, IMG and GeoBlue.

Learn MoreGet Quotes

International Citizens Insurance

Interested in expat health insurance? Take a minute to get quotes from our partner, International Citizens Insurance, a trusted expat health insurance broker. They will provide you with comparison quotes from some of the biggest expat health insurers: Cigna, Allianz, IMG and GeoBlue.

Learn MoreGet Quotes

Santa Fe

Santa Fe, is a picturesque town nestled in the highlands of the Veraguas province. It is located approximately 58 kilometers (36 miles) from the provincial capital, Santiago, and about 172 kilometers (107 miles) from Panama City. The town is known for its lush green landscapes, cool climate, and outdoor recreational activities. The average temperature in Santa Fe ranges from 18 to 24 degrees Celsius (64 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit), making it an ideal destination for those looking to escape the heat of the lowlands. There are numerous recreational activities available in Santa Fe, Panama, including hiking, birdwatching, and exploring the numerous waterfalls in the area. The town is surrounded by the Santa Fe National Park, which offers a variety of trails for hikers of all skill levels. Some popular hiking destinations include the Cerro Tute and Cerro Mariposa trails, which offer stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. Additionally, the Alto de Piedra Waterfalls and the Bermejo Waterfalls are must-see attractions for nature enthusiasts. While there are no golf clubs in Santa Fe, visitors can still enjoy the natural beauty and outdoor activities that this charming Panamanian town has to offer.

Local Recommendations:

Discover the culinary delights of Santa Fe, with a visit to Restaurante La Yeguada, where you can indulge in mouthwatering traditional Panamanian dishes, such as sancocho and patacones, while enjoying the stunning views of the surrounding mountains. For a more casual dining experience, head to Soda y Restaurante Terpel, a local favorite offering delicious home-cooked meals and a warm, welcoming atmosphere. Don't miss out on the opportunity to try their famous fried chicken! When it comes to accommodations, the charming Hotel Anachoreo is a top choice, boasting comfortable rooms, lush gardens, and a refreshing swimming pool. Alternatively, consider the eco-friendly Coffee Mountain Inn, nestled amidst the verdant hills of Santa Fe, where you can enjoy cozy rooms, a serene ambiance, and a delightful breakfast featuring locally grown coffee.

Volcan

Volcan

Volcan, is a charming town nestled in the highlands of the Chiriqui province, with an approximate population of 14,000 residents. It is located about 60 kilometers (37 miles) from the provincial capital, David, and is a popular destination for tourists seeking a cooler climate and beautiful natural surroundings. The climate in Volcan is generally mild, with average temperatures ranging from 15 to 25 degrees Celsius (59 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit), making it an ideal location for outdoor activities. There is no public transportation system within Volcan itself, but buses and taxis are available for travel to and from nearby cities. The town is also within close proximity to other popular destinations, such as Boquete, which is approximately 50 kilometers (31 miles) away, and Cerro Punta, which is about 20 kilometers (12 miles) away. Recreational activities in Volcan include hiking, birdwatching, and exploring the lush cloud forests and coffee plantations that surround the town. One notable recreational spot is the Volcan Baru National Park, which is home to Panama's highest peak, the Volcan Baru, and offers a challenging hike with stunning views of both the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. Another popular destination is the Finca Dracula Orchid Farm, which boasts a vast collection of orchids and other tropical plants. While there are no golf clubs in Volcan itself, the nearby town of Boquete offers the beautiful Lucero Golf and Country Club for golf enthusiasts.

Local Recommendations:

Nestled in the lush highlands of Volcan, you'll find a culinary scene that's as vibrant as the surrounding landscape. Start your gastronomic journey at Restaurante Mana, where you'll be treated to a fusion of Panamanian and international flavors, all made with fresh, locally-sourced ingredients. For a more casual dining experience, head to Bistro Boquete, a cozy eatery offering a variety of comfort food classics, from juicy burgers to mouthwatering pastas. And don't miss out on the opportunity to dine at Fanny's Terrace Bistro, where you can savor delectable European-inspired dishes while taking in the breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains. After a day of exploring, unwind at the charming Hotel Bambito, a boutique property offering comfortable accommodations and a range of amenities, including a heated pool and spa. Alternatively, immerse yourself in nature at the eco-friendly Cielo Paraiso Tree Houses, where you can sleep among the treetops and wake up to the sounds of the forest.

Kovalenko & Vera Attorneys at Law in PanamaKovalenko & Vera Attorneys at Law in Panama
Connect

Kovalenko & Vera is a Panamanian law firm that specializes in immigration law, corporate law, real estate law, banking, contract negotiation, taxes and flag registry. With more than 20 years of professional practice, Kovalenko & Vera builds lasting relationships with our clients to ensure your interests are safeguarded.

Click connect to have our partner contact you via e-mail and/or phone.

Kovalenko & Vera Attorneys at Law in PanamaKovalenko & Vera Attorneys at Law in Panama

Kovalenko & Vera is a Panamanian law firm that specializes in immigration law, corporate law, real estate law, banking, contract negotiation, taxes and flag registry. With more than 20 years of professional practice, Kovalenko & Vera builds lasting relationships with our clients to ensure your interests are safeguarded.
Connect

Click connect to have our partner contact you via e-mail and/or phone.

Las Tablas

Las Tablas

Las Tablas is a charming town known for its rich culture and vibrant festivals. Located approximately 280 kilometers (174 miles) southwest of Panama City, it is easily accessible by car or bus. The town is also just 30 kilometers (19 miles) away from the popular beach destination of Pedasi. While there is no public transportation within Las Tablas itself, taxis and private car services are available for getting around. The climate in Las Tablas is tropical, with average temperatures ranging from 24°C to 32°C (75°F to 90°F) throughout the year. Recreational activities in Las Tablas include exploring the town's historic sites, such as the beautiful Iglesia de Santa Librada, and attending the various festivals that take place throughout the year, like the famous Carnival of Las Tablas. The nearby beaches, such as Playa Venao and Playa El Arenal, offer opportunities for swimming, surfing, and sunbathing. For nature lovers, the Cerro Hoya National Park is located about 100 kilometers (62 miles) away and offers hiking trails and wildlife watching. While there are no golf clubs in Las Tablas, visitors can enjoy a round of golf at the nearby Mantarraya Golf Club, located approximately 120 kilometers (75 miles) away in the town of Farallon.

Local Recommendations:

For a taste of authentic Panamanian cuisine, head to El Fogon de Dona Fela, a charming eatery that serves up traditional dishes like sancocho, a hearty chicken soup, and carimañolas, yucca fritters filled with meat. Another must-visit is Restaurante Las Malvinas, where you can indulge in fresh seafood, including ceviche and fried fish, while enjoying a stunning view of the ocean. If you're craving Italian, Pizzeria Pulcinella offers delicious wood-fired pizzas and homemade pasta dishes in a cozy atmosphere. When it comes to accommodations, the tranquil Hotel Don Jesus is a popular choice, with its lush gardens, swimming pool, and comfortable rooms. Alternatively, the boutique-style Casa Praga offers a more intimate experience, featuring beautifully decorated rooms and a lovely courtyard for relaxing after a day of exploring Las Tablas.

David

David

David, is a bustling city with an approximate population of 145,000 people. It is located about 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the Costa Rican border and 439 kilometers (273 miles) from Panama City, making it a convenient destination for travelers. The city is well-connected with public transportation, including buses and taxis, making it easy to explore the surrounding areas. David experiences a tropical climate with average temperatures ranging from 24°C to 30°C (75°F to 86°F), making it a warm and inviting destination year-round. There are various recreational activities available in and around David, Panama, catering to different interests. For nature lovers, there are several parks and reserves nearby, such as Parque Nacional Marino Golfo de Chiriquí and Parque Nacional Volcán Barú, offering opportunities for hiking, birdwatching, and exploring diverse ecosystems. For golf enthusiasts, there is the Lucero Golf and Country Club, which features an 18-hole championship golf course with stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. Additionally, the city's proximity to the Pacific coast allows for easy access to beautiful beaches and water-based activities such as surfing, snorkeling, and fishing.

Local Recommendations:

Savor the flavors of David, with a visit to Chiriqui's culinary gems. Begin your gastronomic journey at Restaurante Cuatro, where you'll be treated to a fusion of international and Panamanian cuisine, served in a chic, modern setting. For a more casual dining experience, head to El Fogon de Chef, where you can indulge in mouthwatering grilled meats and seafood, accompanied by a selection of local craft beers. Finally, don't miss out on the authentic Italian fare at Trattoria Italiana, where you can enjoy homemade pasta dishes and wood-fired pizzas in a cozy, rustic ambiance. After a day of feasting, retreat to the luxurious Gran Hotel Nacional, a historic property boasting lush gardens, a pool, and a casino, or unwind at the contemporary Aranjuez Hotel & Suites, where you'll find sleek, comfortable accommodations and a relaxing spa.

gorgona

Gorgona, Panama, is a small coastal town located approximately 79 kilometers (49 miles) west of Panama City and 11 kilometers (7 miles) from the popular beach destination of Coronado. The town is easily accessible by car or bus from Panama City, making it a convenient getaway for both locals and tourists. Gorgona's climate is tropical, with average temperatures ranging from 24°C to 30°C (75°F to 86°F) throughout the year. The area is known for its beautiful beaches, such as Playa Malibu and Playa Serena, which offer excellent opportunities for swimming, surfing, and sunbathing. In addition to beach activities, visitors can explore the nearby Cerro Chame mountain range for hiking and birdwatching. While there are no golf clubs or parks within Gorgona itself, the nearby town of Coronado offers the Coronado Golf & Beach Resort, which features an 18-hole golf course, tennis courts, and a beach club. Overall, Gorgona is an ideal destination for those seeking a relaxed beach atmosphere with easy access to outdoor recreational activities.

Local Recommendations:

For a taste of authentic Panamanian cuisine, head to Los Camisones, a charming open-air restaurant nestled in the lush greenery of Gorgona. The menu boasts a variety of seafood dishes, including the popular ceviche and patacones. Another must-visit eatery is Xoko, a trendy fusion restaurant offering a mix of Mediterranean and Panamanian flavors. The tapas-style menu is perfect for sharing, and the cocktails are not to be missed. When it comes to accommodation, the luxurious Royal Decameron Golf, Beach Resort & Villas is a top choice, offering an all-inclusive experience with stunning ocean views and a plethora of activities. For a more intimate stay, consider the boutique-style Casa Guardia Panama, a charming beachfront hotel with personalized service and a serene atmosphere.

Altos del Maria

Altos del Maria

Altos del Maria, is a picturesque mountain community nestled in the highlands of the country. Located approximately 100 kilometers (62 miles) west of Panama City and 30 kilometers (18 miles) from the popular beach town of Coronado, it offers a perfect blend of city and beach life. The climate in Altos del Maria is pleasant, with temperatures ranging from 18 to 24 degrees Celsius (64 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit), making it an ideal destination for those looking to escape the heat of the lowlands. Recreational activities in Altos del Maria are abundant, with a focus on outdoor pursuits. Hiking enthusiasts can explore the numerous trails that wind through the lush forests and offer stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. Birdwatching is another popular pastime, as the area is home to a diverse array of bird species, including the elusive quetzal. For those who enjoy water-based activities, the nearby Rio Maria offers opportunities for swimming and picnicking in its refreshing waters. While there are no golf clubs or parks within Altos del Maria itself, the nearby town of Coronado boasts a world-class golf course, the Coronado Golf and Beach Resort, as well as several beautiful parks and green spaces for residents and visitors to enjoy.

Local Recommendations:

Nestled in the lush mountains of Altos del Maria, Los Mandarinos Boutique Hotel & Spa offers a delightful dining experience at their on-site restaurant, O'Pedros. Savor the authentic Irish cuisine while enjoying the breathtaking views of the surrounding nature. For a more casual dining option, head to Restaurante La Casa de Lourdes, where you can indulge in a variety of international dishes in a cozy, rustic setting. If you're craving Italian, make your way to La Trattoria, a charming eatery offering delicious homemade pasta and wood-fired pizzas. After a day of exploring, unwind at the luxurious Altos del Maria Lodge, a boutique hotel boasting stunning views, comfortable accommodations, and top-notch amenities. Alternatively, immerse yourself in the tranquility of nature at the eco-friendly Casa Praga, a charming bed and breakfast surrounded by lush gardens and picturesque landscapes.

Contadora Island

Contadora Island is a beautiful destination located in the Pearl Islands archipelago of Panama. It is situated approximately 75 kilometers (47 miles) away from Panama City, making it a popular getaway for both locals and tourists. The island's climate is tropical, with average temperatures ranging from 24°C to 30°C (75°F to 86°F), making it an ideal destination for outdoor activities and relaxation. Recreational activities on Contadora Island are abundant, with pristine beaches such as Playa Larga and Playa Cacique offering opportunities for swimming, sunbathing, and snorkeling. The island is also a popular spot for whale watching, as humpback whales migrate through the area between July and October. For those interested in exploring the island's natural beauty, there are several walking trails that lead to breathtaking viewpoints and secluded beaches. While there are no golf clubs or parks on the island, visitors can enjoy other activities such as fishing, kayaking, and paddleboarding. With its stunning beaches, diverse wildlife, and numerous recreational opportunities, Contadora Island is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Panama.

Local Recommendations:

Savor the flavors of Contadora Island at the charming Gerald's German Grill, where you'll be treated to mouthwatering schnitzels and homemade sausages, all served in a cozy, welcoming atmosphere. For a taste of the sea, head to Restaurante Romantico, where you can indulge in fresh seafood dishes while enjoying stunning ocean views. Don't miss the opportunity to dine at La Tortuga, a hidden gem offering a fusion of Italian and Panamanian cuisine, with their lobster pasta being a must-try. When it comes to accommodation, the Mar y Oro Hotel is a top choice, boasting pristine beachfront access and comfortable, well-appointed rooms. Alternatively, opt for the luxurious Villa Romantica, a boutique hotel offering personalized service and an intimate, romantic setting for your stay on this enchanting island.

Isla Taboga

Isla Taboga, is a picturesque island located approximately 20 kilometers (12 miles) south of Panama City. Known for its beautiful beaches, lush vegetation, and rich history, this charming destination offers a variety of recreational activities for visitors to enjoy. The island's warm tropical climate, with average temperatures ranging from 24°C to 30°C (75°F to 86°F), makes it an ideal location for outdoor activities year-round. While there are no golf clubs on the island, visitors can enjoy hiking in the Cerro de la Cruz, a hill that offers stunning views of the surrounding area. Additionally, Isla Taboga is home to several parks, such as the Parque Natural Metropolitano, where visitors can explore the island's diverse flora and fauna. Water-based activities are also popular on the island, with opportunities for snorkeling, swimming, and fishing at the beautiful Playa Restinga and Playa Honda. With its close proximity to Panama City, Isla Taboga is easily accessible by ferry, making it a perfect getaway for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city.

Local Recommendations:

Savor the flavors of Isla Taboga at the charming Donde Pope Si Hay, a family-run eatery known for its fresh seafood and warm hospitality. For a more upscale dining experience, head to Restaurante Arístides, where you can indulge in exquisite Panamanian cuisine while enjoying breathtaking ocean views. If you're craving pizza, Calaloo Beach Fishbar & Grill is the place to be, offering delicious wood-fired pizzas and a laid-back beachfront atmosphere. When it comes to accommodations, the charming Hotel La Isla Taboga offers comfortable rooms and a lovely garden, while the luxurious Villa Caprichosa boasts stunning views and exquisite design by renowned interior designer Diane Burn.

San Carlos

San Carlos is a small town located approximately 100 kilometers (62 miles) west of Panama City and just 15 kilometers (9 miles) from the popular beach destination, Coronado. The town is easily accessible by car or bus from Panama City, making it a convenient destination for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. The climate in San Carlos is tropical, with average temperatures ranging from 24°C to 30°C (75°F to 86°F) throughout the year. Recreational activities in San Carlos are centered around its beautiful beaches, such as Playa El Palmar and Playa Rio Mar, which are perfect for swimming, surfing, and sunbathing. For those who enjoy golf, the nearby town of Coronado is home to the Coronado Golf & Beach Resort, which features an 18-hole golf course designed by Tom Fazio. Nature lovers can explore the nearby Cerro Campana National Park, which offers hiking trails and stunning views of the surrounding area. Additionally, the town of San Carlos itself has a charming central plaza and a local market where visitors can experience authentic Panamanian culture.

Local Recommendations:

For a taste of authentic Panamanian cuisine, head to Los Camisones, a charming open-air restaurant nestled in the lush greenery of San Carlos. Savor their mouth-watering ceviche and hearty seafood platters while enjoying live music and a laid-back atmosphere. Another must-visit is La Fogata, where you can indulge in delicious wood-fired pizzas and homemade pasta dishes, all while taking in the stunning ocean views. After a day of exploring, unwind at the luxurious Manglar Lodge, a boutique hotel offering stylish accommodations and a serene pool area. Alternatively, opt for the cozy and budget-friendly Casa Caracol, where you can enjoy a peaceful stay in a charming beachfront cabana.

About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.


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