Panama isn’t known as the Biological Bridge for nothing and, as its nickname suggests, it's the perfect destination for adventurous families and especially for animal-loving children who will be fascinated by the range of animals that they will get to see here. On a trip to Panama, you and your family can see a huge range of animals in their natural habitats. We recommend taking a guided tour to learn about each species in more depth. Panama City also has a lot to offer family travelers, with delicious local food and dozens of museums, galleries and attractions. Relax on the beach before heading off shore for a truly spectacular event; whale watching. Your trip to Panama will certainly be unforgettable.
Best things to see and do in Panama with kids
In Panama City, you’ll be able to get a feel for the Panamanian culture as you explore and visit fun, child-friendly sites, such as the BioMuseo, an interactive museum, designed with children in mind, that will teach them about Panama’s fauna and flora in a fun environment (even the building itself is fun and colorful!) Just a short drive away from Panama city, you’ll find the rainforest, where you will be surrounded by nature and natural beauty. Here you can go on a night safaris, boat tours, and meet indigenous tribes. Whilst Panama may be well known as a wildlife destination, it is also a fantastic destination to relax in the sun as a family and there is no better place to do this than in Bocas del Toro, where the protected marine park is perfect for family snorkeling trips and the white sand perfect for building sand castles. This is also the perfect location for island hopping and jungle wildlife spotting. Take your kids on a day trip to the Pearl Islands, for example, and experience true paradise as you go whale-watching, snorkeling, and swimming, or simply relax on the beautiful child-friendly beaches. If you go at the right time of year (between July and January), you’ll even be able to see turtles hatching on Panama’s beaches. Chocolate lovers, head to a local chocolate farm to learn all about how this delicious treat is grown, processed, and made. For more adventure, visit Boquete, where you will find a ton of zip-lining and white-water rafting opportunities.
As an added bonus for teenagers and parents, Boquete is also the coffee capital of Panama and families will be able to taste the delicious final product. For wildlife loving families, Soberania National Park is the perfect place to see sloths, monkeys, birds and much more, before climbing the 100ft rainforest observation tower for a view out over the jungle. Sporty families will love trekking along the Quetzal trail, which offers the perfect mix of trails, wildlife and sightseeing. No matter your level, there will be a trail to suit you and your family and you will have the time of your lives as you explore the jungle paths here, maybe even trying to catch a glimpse of the incredibly rare Quetzal bird, after which the trail is named. Finish off your trip back in Panama City where you’ll be able to experience local culture as well as pick up a few souvenirs before you return home after the family trip of a lifetime. In short: Panama has so many family-friendly hotels and resorts that you’ll be able to find something to suit you no matter where you choose to visit in this amazing country.
Best time to visit Panama as a family
Panama’s tropical climate means that it is almost always hot here, with temperatures cooling off at higher altitudes, where the nights can even enter the realms of cold. The most popular time to visit is between December and April, where the weather is ideal and the waters are clear and perfect for swimming and snorkeling. Traveling during the period between May and December, however, means that you will avoid the crowds and save money, with prices being generally significantly lower during this time. Downpours during this period are intense but short and won’t disturb you’re activities too much. The Caribbean coast breaks this pattern of wet and dry season and remains in the wet season almost all year. This is never really a problem however and you may come to look forward to the daily rain during the afternoon which will alleviate humidity and give families a chance for a little downtime.
Family vacation tips for traveling to Panama
With a little research and knowledge you can ensure that you are as prepared as possible for your family trip to Panama, here a few tips and tricks to ensure that everything runs smoothly on your vacation.
- Whilst not the official currency, the US Dollar is widely accepted here, just make sure that you aren’t being overcharged with terrible conversion rates made up on the spot.
- Public transport here is far from tourist friendly, especially not for families. Never fear though; taxis are convenient and affordable but you will have to negotiate a price before you set off. Avoid taking taxis from outside hotels or airports since you will pay more than if you simply walk a few streets away and take one from there.
- In the city, the tap water is perfectly safe to drink. Heading into more off-the-beaten-track locations, such as smaller villages, you may want to stock up on some bottled water to keep hydrated.
- Panama is a relatively safe place to visit and in most areas you and your family will feel completely at ease. Avoid the border areas with Colombia, however, as these have a slightly worse reputation. It is advisable to stay aware of your surrounding though, especially in crowded areas, where pickpockets sometimes lurk.