Panama Holidays, Events, Climate and Sightseeing

Panama Holidays and events

Holidays and events

Date Event
January 1 Año Nuevo (New Year)
January 7 Día de los Martires (commemorates the riots of January 9, 1964 on the occasion of the so-called flag dispute)
March 11 Teachers day
April Jueves Santo (Maundy Thursday)
April Viernes Santo (Good Friday)
1st of May Día del Trabajo (Labor Day)
15th of August Fundación de la Ciudad de Panamá (Panama City Day celebrated only in Panama City)
November 1 Día de los niños (Children’s Day)
November 3rd Seperación de Panamá de Colombia = National holiday to commemorate the independence from Colombia
November 4 Día de la bandera (Flag Day)
November 10 Primer grito de Independencia (Proclamation of Independence)
November 28 Independencia de Panamá de España (Independence Day, commemorating independence from Spain)
December 8 Día de la Madre (Mother’s Day)
25 December Navidad (Christmas)
Moving Holidays Carnaval – Takes place in January or February.

Source: Countryaah – Panama Holidays


It does happen that holidays are rescheduled quite spontaneously to ensure long weekends.

Carnival (Carnaval)

The carnival is the “la fiesta más celebrada” in Panama. It is celebrated forty days before Lent and ends on Ash Wednesday in February. The biggest celebrations are in the city of Las Tablas in the province of Azuero. There are two streets with parades and musical performances. On Fridays the festival begins with the coronation of the queen, fireworks and lots of alcohol, with partying until the early hours of the morning.

Music and dance Music and dancing

is everywhere in Panama. A distinction is made between the traditional, the typical and the modern dances, some of which have come to Panama from Colombia and some from the Caribbean. The dances that you will definitely encounter in Panama include Tipico, Vallenato, reggae with the associated dance Perreo or Rákata and of course the dances of the different indigenous groups and the Haitano from Haiti. And of course the usual suspects Salsa, Merengue, Bachata and Cumbia are also there. Most of the dances are an integral part of the nightlife. You should therefore repeat a few of them again before you expose yourself to the critical gaze of the Panamanians in the evening.

Clothing and behavior

The residents of Panama attach great importance to their external appearance, so that visitors should get used to certain customs and stick to them. Short trousers, for example, are an (uncomfortable) rarity in Panama City, which usually doesn’t have any visible consequences, but doesn’t have to be. For visits to banks and when shopping in shopping centers, you should definitely avoid wearing shorts, otherwise it can happen that you are asked to come outside. You should definitely have elegant clothes ready for a visit to the club, while in everyday life you can also wear clean jeans.

As far as the behavior of the people among themselves is concerned, it is kept quite formal and with the “you”.

Panama: climate

Panama is located in the tropics and has a corresponding climate. In the coastal areas the lowest mean temperatures are around 23 °C and the highest around 27 °C. The rainy season lasts from April to December. The annual rainfall varies. On the Caribbean side, the mean annual rainfall is 2,970 mm, while it is 1,650 mm on the Pacific side. But there are also regions in which there is an average of 4,500 mm of precipitation per year. Hurricanes can be expected between May and November.

Panama: Sightseeing

UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Fortresses Portobello and San Lorenzo on the Caribbean coast

The fortresses in Portobello and San Lorenzo were built to defend the Spaniards against the English so that they could trade freely. The reason for quarrels between the English and the Spaniards is said to have been the gold of the Incas, because the gold route between the two fortresses ran there at the narrowest point in Panama. The forts clearly show the architecture of the military from the 18th and 18th centuries, and the forts were inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1980.

Darien National Park

The Darién National Park is located in the south-east of the country – about 325 kilometers from Panama City. Its area is approx. 6,000 km², and borders in the south on the Colombian national park Los Katios. To a large extent, the park is forested with tropical rainforest and is a biosphere reserve in which numerous species of parrots, harpy eagles, tapirs and others live. There are also beaches, mangrove forests and lagoons in the area. The mountain Cerro Tacarcuna is the highest point in the national park, there is the watershed between the Pacific and the Caribbean. The national park was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1981. La Amistad nature reserve

The La Amistad National Park belongs to the countries of Costa Rica and Panamá, so it is cross-border. The areas of the parks in both countries (Costa Rica and Panamá) are about the same size, each has an area of around 2,000 km². The highest point in the national park is the mountain “Cerro Kamuk” with a height of 3,550 m. The national park consists for the most part of rain forest and cloud forest (a forest that is in clouds in wet weather). The species diversity of birds is very large, but also howler monkeys, capuchin monkeys, sloths, helmet basilisks (iguana-like lizards), leaf cutter ants, tree termites and raccoons as well as iguanas, jaguars and numerous reptile species live there. The biodiversity of the plants is also great, so there are numerous endemic (only growing here) plants. The Cordillera de Talamanca did not arise from volcanic eruptions, but is a mountain range of folds. The nature reserve is cross-border tooCosta Rica and was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1983 – and expanded in 1990.

Panamá Historic Quarter, Salón Bolívar and Archaeological Sites of Panamá Viejo

The Panamá Historic District, Salón Bolívar, and Panamá Viejo Archaeological Sites were added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1997 – and expanded in 2003. Coiba National Park and its Marine Protected Areas The Coiba National Park is located on the Pacific coast in the Gulf of Chiriquí. The 503 km² island of the same name is part of the national park. The entire park covers an area of around 2,700 km² with other islands and a marine Pacific area. A large coral reef is also protected here.

Many endemic – around 150 – different bird species live on the island of Coiba, also endemic animals such as the Coiba agouti, the howler monkey and Opossi species are at home in the park. The plant species diversity is great, it is estimated at around 1,500.

Around 800 different species of fish live in the protected sea, including 23 different species of dolphins and whales and around 33 species of shark. The protected island has belonged to Panama since 1918 and used to be a penal colony.

The national park and its marine protected areas were entered on the list of UNESCO World Natural Heritage Sites in 2005.

Cities and regions worth seeing


Caldera (Eng. “Boiler”) is not too far from Boquete and attracts with its natural thermal springs, which are a half hour walk from the city. You are surrounded by the river of the same name, in which you can also swim.


The cool and wooded highlands of the Chiriqui province surrounds the small town of Boquete and is primarily famous as a coffee-growing area and because of the orchids that grow there. The latter bloom between January and May and are honored together with other flowers during the “Feria de las Flores y del Cafe”. The province offers a simply wonderful experience with its volcanic mountain landscape and various waterfalls.


Panama’s second largest city spreads out wonderfully on the Caribbean Sea and impresses with its statues and cathedrals that line up along the Paseo Centenario, the “Hundred Years Promenade”. From Colón you can easily get to the San Blas archipelago.

Panama City

Impressive skyscrapers, lovingly restored colonial buildings and state-of-the-art commercial buildings – Panama City is the city of contrasts, where wealth and bitter poverty live close together. A detailed description of Panama City is available from goruma here >>>


Portobelo, a town about 50 kilometers from Colón, offers not only the three huge stone fortresses but also the treasury in which the gold of Peru was kept.

Bocas del Toro

The province of Bocas del Toro (in English: mouths of the bull) makes up about 4.6 km² of the area of Panama and is located in the northwest of the country. It is about 32 km from the border with Costa Rica and is best reached from the mainland from Almirante. Almirante is about 30 minutes by water taxi from Isla Colón, the main island of the archipelago. One way costs approximately $ 5. If you have the change, you can fly from Panama City to Isla Colón for around 200 USD.

After Panama City, Bocas del Toro is the main destination of many tourists – among them mainly backpackers who enjoy the picturesque and often unspoiled Caribbean and the biodiversity of the archipelago. In addition to the mainland, the province of Bocas del Toro includes 6 larger and several smaller islands, which offer numerous accommodations and activities. Water sports enthusiasts in particular are drawn to the region around Bocas, as the waters are particularly suitable for wave surfing, diving and snorkeling.


Bastimentos is about 10 minutes by water taxi from Bocas Town and enchants with its untouched nature, lonely beaches and the relaxed Caribbean flair.

The Bastimentos National Marine Park on the island is a retreat for many rare flora and fauna – so rare species of turtles breed on the beaches, the protection of which is the highest priority of many environmental activists. Bastimentos is definitely worth a day trip with a hike through the jungle. Don’t forget sturdy shoes.

Isla Colón (Bocas Town)

Isla Colón is the administrative seat of the Bocas del Toro Province. It is the most developed island in the region and attracts thousands of visitors to the region annually. There are a number of hostels, restaurants, bars and tour operators on the main street that try to attract customers from each other. Recently an insider tip, Bocas Town is now a typical tourist center in the Caribbean. Those who like it a little quieter should look for accommodation on Bastimentos or plan a day trip to Zapatilla Island or the surrounding beaches. A trip to Playa Estrella/Playa Drago, an endless white sandy beach about 40 km from Bocas Town, is particularly recommended. It is particularly known for the countless starfish that frolic in the shallow water.


Caranero is a small island about 2 minutes by water taxi from Isla Colón. Whether swimming in the turquoise blue sea or sipping cocktails directly over the water – Caranero is the perfect place to escape the troubles of the side island and to discover a small island on your own.

Special structures

Casa de la Municipalidad/Panama City

The former seat of the mayor, with its neoclassical style, is one of the most beautiful buildings in the city. In the anteroom there is a tile mosaic that reflects the Spanish-Moorish influence, the reception salon is no longer original apart from the small ceiling painting and the border, the original interior was stolen in the unrest after the US invasion. On the first floor in the former bedroom there is now a butterfly exhibition and a collection of photos of the Casco Viejo from the 30s and 40s. The bathroom is in the Art Deco style, and the study shows an exhibition of pre-Columbian sculptures in a showcase.

Palacio Presidencial/Panama City

The presidential palace dates from 1637 and was restored in the 20th century at the instigation of the former president Belisario Porras. From the building you have a beautiful view of the bay. The murals inside are by the artist Roberto Lewis. In the small patio, the statues of small herons are grouped around the fountain, they gave the palace the nickname “La Garza”.


Museo de Antropológico Reina Torres de Araúz/Mueseo Hombre Panameño / Anthropological Museum/Panama City

A comprehensive impression of the culture of the various population groups is given in five exhibition rooms. Among other things, archaeological finds, photos and handicrafts about the cultural development of the country are exhibited. The heart of the museum is the Sala de Oro, the golden hall. Behind armored glass are some original gold jewelry that was worn by the higher class of the Indian community. In the Sala de Etnografía objects are exhibited that are dedicated to the descendants of the indigenous people who are still alive today. The exhibits, which include replica houses in their original size, clothing and jewelry, photos and ritual objects, give a good impression of the everyday life of the Guaymí, Bokota, Chocó, Teribe and Kuna.

Museo Afro- Antilliano de Panamá/Panama City

The small museum shows the career of the Afro-Antillian immigrants who came to the country as workers to build the railroad and later to build the canals. The antique furniture with an old oven and an old kitchenette give a good insight into life back then. A small exhibition with photos and original documents underlines the lifelike impression.

Museo del Canal de Ineroceánico de Panamá/Panama City

The museum, which opened in 1997, is the youngest in the city’s history, with many exhibits showing the history and economic function of the canal in detail. The work of ten years of construction activity is documented using image documents. A special attraction is a model that explains the hydrology of the canal.

Museo de Arte Colonial Religioso/Panama City

The oldest museum in the city was founded in 1974. It shows some paintings and wood carvings from the 18th century and a nice collection of silver relics.

Museo de Ciencias Naturales (Natural History Museum)/Panama City

This museum gives a little insight into the geology of the country and has a modest collection on the endemic fauna. Minerals, prepared mammals, reptiles, birds and amphibians, as well as a collection of beetles and butterflies are shown in different halls.

Casa Museo de Banco Nacional de Panamá/Panama City

Calle 34

In a beautiful villa from 1952, the historical development of money, banking and postal services is documented. A collection of banknotes and coins from the colonial period, antique telephones, post boxes and stamps provide an entertaining overview.


Teatro Nacional/Panama City

The building in neoclassical style was restored in 1974 and has an elegant theater hall. The ceiling paintings are by Roberto Lewis and represent themes from the history of the country. The theater offers a wide program: from jazz and classical concerts to ballet and folklore events.

Churches and monasteries

Cathedral/Panama City

The cathedral located on Plaza Catedral dates back to the 18th century and it took more than 100 years to build. In 1943 it was inaugurated as a national museum. The facade is in the Baroque style, the interior is nowhere near as magnificent as it was before the cathedral was restored in the 1920s. Here are the graves of some important people in the city.

Iglesia de La Merced/Panama City

The church with the beautiful baroque facade was probably built in 1680 from the remains of the former La Merced monastery in Panamá Viejo. Franciscan Monastery and Iglesia San Francisco/Panama City The monastery was built in 1678 and now houses a school. The baroque style church was beautifully restored in 1918, the decorated portal and the church tower are worth seeing.

Dominican monastery Santo Domingo/Panama City

The large monastery dates from the 17th century and was hit by two major fire disasters in the 18th century. The reconstruction was only partially done, the Capilla de Santo Domingo was declared a national monument in 1941, and today the Museo des Artes Colonial Religioso is housed here. The Arco Chaco is famous because it probably tipped the scales that Panamá won the bid for the Panama Canal. In contrast to Nicaragua, Panama is not hit by earthquakes as often, which is proven by the fact that this arch, which is 15.5 m long and spans 11 m, was still unscathed (and still is today).

Iglesia de San José/Panama City

The church is famous for its golden altar, which is made of wood and covered with a fine layer of gold. It has ornate ornaments, reflecting the baroque’s preference for rich, artistic expression.


Playa Damas

In Playa Damas, near Porto Bello, in the Caribbean, lie the remains of one of the four ships of the fourth and last voyage of Christopher Columbus (1451-1506) in just a few meters of water. This Caravelle was probably left or sunk here by Columbus in 1502 because of the heavy infestation with the Toredo worm.

U-Boot Explorer

This approximately 12 m long and 30 t heavy submarine, named “Explorer”, was the first functional submarine in the world. It was designed and built by the German Julius Kröhl (1820-1867) who immigrated to the USA in 1844. The boat made its first successful dive trip in the East River in New York in 1866 when it dived to a depth of about 20 feet and reappeared under its own power. The boat was then brought to the Pacific off Panama for pearl diving and was successfully used there. It probably dived to a depth of 40 m. Kröhl and his crew probably died in 1867 as a result of the then unknown caisson diving sickness (Decompression sickness). The boat lies heavily rusted in a bay on the island of San Telmo off the coast of Panama in the Pacific. Rescue is no longer possible because of the heavy rusting.

Important universities

Universidad de Panamá

The university opened its doors in 1935, when 175 students studying economics, natural sciences, pharmacy and law were enrolled. It was founded by the then President Dr. Harmodio Arias Madrid founded. Panama’s university is state-owned and dedicated to providing excellent education to its students. At the moment the University of Panama has the following faculties:

  • architecture
  • Fine arts
  • Agricultural Sciences
  • Natural sciences
  • law Sciences
  • Economics
  • pharmacy
  • Humanities
  • medicine
  • Veterinary medicine
  • Psychologoy
  • Dentistry

Universidad Tecnológica de Panamá

The Technical University of Panama was founded in 1981 in the capital of Panama City. Approximately 16,000 students are currently studying at this university

Universidad Autónoma de Chiriquí

The Autonomous University of Chiriqui was founded in 1995. The main campus of the university is located in David in the west of the country. At the moment, the Autonomous University of Chiriqui has the following faculties:

  • Educational science
  • Natural sciences
  • law Sciences
  • Economics
  • Humanities
  • medicine

Zoo and Botanical Garden

Summit Botanical Gardens and Zoo/Panama City

The park, consisting of a zoo and a botanical garden, is about 20 minutes from Panama City. The park was founded in 1923 to explore the tropical flora of Panama. The park is home to more than 15,000 different plants and animals over an area of 2.5 km².

Natural beauties

Soberania National Park

This national park has dense rainforest and is so popular because of the incredible variety of birds.

Volcano Baru

The no longer active volcano Baru is located in the national park of the same name and measures a considerable size of 3,475 meters. It can be reached via a road that, due to its height, passes through different levels of vegetation.

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