Close Menu

5 day itinerary for Panama City, Panama

Your guide to things to do and day trips

Panama City is the perfect destination for a long weekend. It’s accessible enough from the U.S. for a short trip and offers a lot to explore within a couple hours of the city. Of course you can always opt for a longer stay, and I would definitely recommend that! Next time I visit Panama I want to explore the area north near Costa Rica and the San Blas islands, too. But if you have just 4 nights and 5 days, you can still enjoy this beautiful country. Here is a suggested 4-night 5-day itinerary for things to do based out of Panama City, Panama. My full downloadable ITINERARY is available for purchase here and includes links, discounts and direct booking information!

And in case you need convincing–Here are some of the reasons why Panama should be on your list whether it’s for a short or long stay:

The food! The freshest seafood EVER plus great restaurants featuring delicious dishes that blend the global influences on Panama’s cuisine. 

The scenery! Mountains, beaches, cities, rivers, waterfalls… it’s all there

The people! Oh I saved the best for last. Panamanian people are so kind and warm and welcoming

Plus, you can use dollars – no money exchanging necessary. The conversion is 1:1. 

4-night 5-day suggested itinerary for panama city

Day 1: Arrival day

Arrive in Panama City and head to your hotel. I recommend staying in Casco Viejo – it’s walkable, safe and there’s so much to do – from rooftop dining to dancing. Grab dinner at the rooftop Tantalo – a casual restaurant with a city view.

Day 2: Panama City tour day

Enjoy all that PC has to offer or just wander and enjoy the sights on your own. There are wonderful areas to walk near the old city. Take an early trip to see the barges go through the canal (be sure to check the schedule) or head to the Metropolitan Natural Park for urban refuge. Or maybe you want to take a food tour! Check out Food Tripping Panama for great options. Be sure to go to the fish market for lunch (Mercado de Mariscos). It’s the freshest fish you will ever have.

Day 3: Day trip to Embera Drua

Enjoy an immersive cultural experience with the Embera who live in a community up the Chagres River. Once you arrive at the port along the river (about 1.25 hours from Panama City) you will hop in a motorized dugout canoe to get to their village (about an hour). There you will enjoy traditional food and dancing, and learn about the culture and history of the Embera. Return to your hotel and if you have energy, enjoy a salsa class in the evening!

Day 4: Beach Day

Take a ferry to Taboga Island from Panama City (about a 30 minute ferry ride) and spend the day enjoying the sun, seafood and pina coladas, or walking around the island, exploring the neighborhoods and the second oldest church in the Americas. You can also take a boat tour around the island. Want to extend your stay? There are a few lodges and hotels to enjoy. We loved our stay at Taboga Spa Palace Hotel. If you are returning to PC, enjoy your last dinner before departure day at Maito, voted one of the 50 Best restaurants in Latin America. An absolute must!

Day 5: Departure Day

Enjoy great coffee and breakfast in Casco before heading to the airport for your flight home. oh, and don’t forget to book your next trip to Panama!

street scenes in Panama City
Otehlia on the Beach

Want my essential carry-on list for warm-weather locations?

Sign up for my travel e-newsletter and get access right away!

Thanks, travel friends, for signing up for my newsletter! Follow me on Instagram to enjoy some virtual adventures together!