Discover the colorful streets and magnificent beaches of Panama on this week-long, family-friendly trip. Spend a few days in Panama City, where you'll sail down the Panama Canal and explore the city's vibrant, historic neighborhoods. Then head to the Caribbean paradise of Bocas del Toro for beach time and wildlife encounters before ending your journey back in the capital.


  • Sail down the Panama Canal 
  • Explore Panama City's historic neighborhoods
  • Unwind on the beaches of Bocas del Toro
  • Go snorkeling and dolphin watching

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Panamá Panama City
Day 2 Panama Canal Tour Panama City
Day 3 Panamá City, Bocas del Toro Bocas del Toro
Day 4 Dolphin Bay, Coral Cay & Red Frog Beach Bocas del Toro
Day 5 Free Day in Bocas del Toro Bocas del Toro
Day 6 Bocas del Toro, Panama City Panama City
Day 7 Depart Panama City  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Panamá

Panama City
Panama City

¡Bienvenidos a Panamá! Your guide will meet you at the airport and escort you to your hotel in Panama City. After settling into your accommodations, you'll have the rest of the day to explore this vibrant city on your own. 

Wander around Casco Viejo, where you'll find pastel-colored colonial buildings and old world charm. Take a stroll along the waterfront on the Cintra Costera. Visit the fish market to try fresh, delicious ceviche. Or perhaps stop by the city's most famous museum, the Biomuseo, to learn about the country's incredible biodiversity.

Day 2: Panama Canal Tour

The Panama Canal
The Panama Canal

Today you'll visit the mighty Panama Canal. One of the most important waterways in the world, the canal cuts across a 50-mile-long (80 km) isthmus, or strip of land, and connects the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

Your guide will join you on a boat tour of the most important parts of this modern world wonder, including the curvy, snakelike Gaillard Cut, which has tons of geological and historical value. You'll cross the Pedro Miguel locks, the Miraflores locks, and then pass under the impressive Bridge of the Americas to end your cruise in the Flamenco Marina.

The afternoon is yours to explore at your own pace. Maybe visit Panama Viejo, the ruins of the 16th-century old capital of Panama. If you're a coffee fanatic, this is the place to splurge on a $9 cup of smooth Geisha coffee — one of the most sought-after brews in the world. Or take to the nature trails of Metropolitan Natural Park, a wildlife refuge in the city where you can spot tropical birds, reptiles, and maybe even sloths!

Day 3: Panamá City, Bocas del Toro

Take a stroll along the shores of Bocas del Toro
Take a stroll along the shores of Bocas del Toro

This morning take a short flight to the Caribbean archipelago of Bocas del Toro by the Costa Rican border. Gorgeous beaches and a friendly, laidback atmosphere make it the perfect place to slow down and unwind.  As you walk around the main town, you'll feel that quintessential tropical island vibe complete with brightly colored wooden buildings. 

Once you settle into your hotel, you'll have the rest of the day to explore on your own. Head to Starfish Beach, where you'll see plenty of starfish in the crystal clear waters. Rent a bike and see the island on two wheels. Or simply wander around the shops and cafés in town.

Plan your trip to Panama
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

Day 4: Dolphin Bay, Coral Cay & Red Frog Beach

Bocas del Toro
The beautiful beaches of Bocas del Toro

Your adventure today begins with a short boat ride to Dolphin Bay, where you'll observe adorable dolphins playing in their natural habitat. The mountains and jungle of the mainland coast also provide an excellent backdrop for photos. Next, you'll head to Coral Cay for some snorkeling. Keep an eye out for stingrays and plenty of colorful tropical fish as you swim around the reef.

In the afternoon, head to Red Frog Beach on Isla Bastimentos—one of the most beautiful in Bocas del Toro. What you do here is up to you—play beach games, sunbathe, or perhaps take a surfing lesson if you're feeling active. You'll return to Bocas Town in the late afternoon.

Day 5: Free Day in Bocas del Toro

Bocas del Toro
Bocas del Toro

Spend your last day in Bocas del Toro exploring your surroundings. There are plenty of optional activities that can be booked on-site. Take a tour of Isla Bastimentos National Marine Park, where you can look for animals like sloths, monkeys, and crocodiles as you wander through the mangroves. Sail over to the rocky Isla Pájaros, or Bird Island, where you can do some bird watching in this designated sanctuary. Try zip-lining or horseback riding, or simply relax by the hotel pool.

Day 6: Bocas del Toro, Panama City

Panama City
Beautiful colonial architecture in Panama City's Casco Viejo neighborhood

Fly back to Panama City today, and make sure to see any of the sights you might have missed earlier in the week. Stock up on souvenirs at one of the city's artisan markets or climb Ancon Hill for sweeping views of the city. In the evening, explore the food scene and indulge in a nice dinner on the last night of your trip. 

Day 7: Depart Panama City

Say farewell to Panama!
Say farewell to Panama!

After breakfast, say goodbye to beautiful Panama. Check out of your hotel and make your way to the airport for your return flight. 

More Great Panama Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your trip to Panama? Check out these other Panama itineraries, with outdoor adventures, cultural trips, and best-of tours to hit the highlights. 


Map of Family Adventure in Panama - 7 Days
Map of Family Adventure in Panama - 7 Days
Written by Emily Strauss, updated Jun 21, 2022