Choose Your Own Adventure In Panama
Kiddo and I just got back from the trip of a lifetime with the Thompson Family Adventures tour group exploring the country of Panama, and it was absolutely wonderful. Never in my wildest dreams did I realize Panama was such a family-friendly vacation destination. Having the opportunity to travel through Central America with other families and experience this beautiful country with knowledgeable tour guides showed me exactly what I’ve been missing all this time.
4 Fun Things to do in Panama with Kids
Kiddo in The City: Panama City
I’m a city girl, but my daughter is a nature-loving, California kid all the way. From her looks to what she likes, she and I couldn’t be more different. She couldn’t wait to hop the next flight to the beaches of Bocas del Toro, but graciously agreed to stay and explore Panama City and the outskirts for awhile.
The city is rich in culture and there is so much to see and do, including one of the wonders of the modern world, the Panama Canal. If you are a fan of my Instagram Scavenger Hunts for cities, then be sure to stay tuned for a future post because I can’t wait to share all the best spots, especially the historical area of Casco Antiguo.
Understanding the Culture: Embera Village
On one of our days we took a motorized piragua (canoe) through the rain forest in the 320,000-acre Chagres National Park to visit one of Panama’s indigenous ethnic tribes. Dressed in traditional garb, the Embera people extended a warm welcome by dancing for us, serving a delicious lunch of tilapia and plantains, and teaching us more about their culture through crafts and intricate body tattooing called jagua.
Sun & Fun: Bocas del Toro
It was when we arrived in Bocas and felt the warm tropical breezes that Kiddo’s vacation really began. She loves anything and everything that has to do with water, so she couldn’t wait for this part of the trip to begin, especially since water taxis were our main source of transportation.
The highlight without a doubt was learning how to surf with the pros at EDM Surf Shop. They took a boat out where the waves were decent for beginners and Kiddo caught a wave for the first time.
Later we went snorkeling near Starfish Beach which was wonderful and spent a beautiful afternoon at the Finca Monos Botanical Gardens, where we relaxed under trees watching troops of monkeys swinging across branches.
Clouds In My Coffee: Boquete in the Chiquiri Highlands
I think we both could have stayed in Bocas for the remainder of the trip, but the time had come for us to hightail it out of there and cross the Continental Divide. We drove up to the Chiquiri Highlands for a taste of the cool mountain life in the clouds.
Even though I wish we had a little more time in Bocas, I sure did like life in the mountains and cloud forest! The Chiquiri Highlands were a blast for both the kids and the parents, with things to do that pleased both. From zipping through the treetops high above the valley of a volcano to hiking across multiple suspension bridges, plus a delicious coffee tasting tour, this stop was a real treat.
Tip: The coffee in Boquete is amazing and powerful. Only drink it in the morning or it will keep you up all night long. I am not kidding, these Panamanians are not fooling around! Three of us had a cup at 4 pm, and we were each up all night long. For those not into coffee, they also offer the best tasting hot cocoa I’ve ever tasted.
Have you been to this incredible country? What are your favorite things to do in Panama with kids?
You may also enjoy:
- Visiting the Galapagos Islands with Kids
- Best Things to do in Nicaragua with Kids
- Read about all of our family vacations to Costa Rica
- Everything You Need to Know About Planning a Trip to Cuba
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Armed with the latest issue of Vanity Fair, Chuck Taylors and a boarding pass, Nicole is on a perpetual mad dash quest to find the world’s best…