Panama: Food and Travel

I recently did a yoga retreat to Panama in Santa Catalina, and in the process got to see a lot of beautiful places in the country!

Here are some recommendations based on what I saw:


Maracuya EVERYTHING! Maracuya is the Spanish name for Passionfruit, and it is so fresh, and cheap here! You can get it freshly juiced or in alcoholic drinks (it normally is fresh- not concentrate from my experience asking), but also in plenty of desserts. I never missed a chance to have Maracaya in Panama, especially since it’s so much more cheap, fresh, and accessible there compared to the states!

Juice- See above, but also really any other fruit juice! Panama is not cheap compared to other Latin American countries I’ve visited, but I found that fresh fruit juice was incredibly affordable, and it’s always freshly squeezed! Super refreshing in the summer as well.

Ceviche– I did not associate Panama with this, but I had wonderful ceviche with fresh fish in Panama!

If you’d like restaurant recommendations in Casco Viejo, check out this post!

Things to do:

  • Walk around Casco Viejo- explore around the Spanish quarter, it maintains its historical architecture and is beautiful, but is PACKED with tourists, so be warned if this is something you’re looking to avoid. I spent a day exploring here and didn’t feel like I needed more time exploring inside Casco! Looking for places to stay inside Casco? Check out this post for recs!
  • Visit Panama Canal– this is a must if you’re in Panama! The history and technology behind the canal were fascinating to learn about and see in person, but to be honest, I found the IMAX movie they featured- narrated by Morgan Freeman, to be the most compelling part of the visit!
  • Take a quick hike in a rainforest inside the city at Parque Metropolitan de Panama! It’s so unique to see so much natural wildlife, birds, monkeys, ancient trees, while seeing the beautiful cityscape in the background!
  • Take a trip to Santa Catalina– this was a far drive from Panama City, but if you’re passionate about surfing and want to get out of the city, I’d highly recommend checking this out (Santa Catalina is known as one of the best surf spots in the world)! We did surf lessons with Waluaa and they were PHENOMENAL- friendly, encouraging, technical, and experienced! I’ve done surf lessons in other places and very few people were actually able to stand up, and when I took classes with Waluaa, everyone in the beginner level was able to get up and surf (and not just a handful of times)!
    • If you’re in Santa Catalina- a day trip to Coiba (a UNESCO world heritage site) is a must. When you boat through, you see small palm-tree filled islands, soft sand beaches, and crystal clear waters with mixtures of deep blue, turquoise and green colors. I went snorkeling here and it took my breath away to see the deep ocean so clearly! I’m not normally a fan of snorkeling (I tried in Mexico and got sick with turbulent waters) but Coiba was ideal for snorkeling because the waters are calm.
    • We stayed at Catalina’s Hideaway– an eco-friendly resort owned by super friendly Canadians who moved to Santa Catalina permanently! They employ locals and the food and alcohol at the hotel was delicious (I had the best espresso martinis and Pina coladas of my life here)!
  • What I wish I had time for- visiting San Blas Islands. Even though I had an incredible time at Santa Catalina (At Catalina’s Hideaway, surfing, and the day trip to Coiba), I heard about San Blas Islands while on my trip, and after looking at pictures, it’s clear that the ocean from the Carribean side of Panama has much more beautiful beaches.

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