5 Reasons Why Panama Should Be On Your Travel Vision Board

This post features affiliate links, which means I earn a small commission if you decide to click on and purchase through these links.

It’s the start of a new year! So that means it’s time to set our intentions and vision for the rest of the year. As far as the rest of the year is concerned, we do not know what it will bring. What we do know is we can set our hopes, aspirations, and even visions for what we desire to accomplish, experience, or explore. 

 Once in a while, I love creating vision boards to motivate myself or to celebrate my achievements at work or in life. As I prepare to travel this year, I created a digital travel vision board. Showing the places I will visit, the cuisine I will try, and the people I will meet. 

I used Canva to design mine. If you haven’t used Canva before, it’s a helpful tool for creating all your school, marketing, or personal graphic needs. If I inspire you to make your travel vision boards with Canva and tag me @allthingsbiola on Instagram. I would love to see your travel visions. 

In the meantime, let me inspire you to add Panama to your travel vision boards this year. If you have already visited Panama, I hope you can add a different experience to your Panama visit. 

#1 Easy access to the US, South America, and other Central American countries 

While we don´t like easy-access people, we love easy-access countries. Panama being the last country before entering South America makes it an easy country to travel to or from the US, South America, or other Central American countries. Panama´s complicated relationship with the US makes it an easy country to fly from Panama to the US and vice versa. 

This applies to Canadians as well. 

If your desire to visit is only for a few days to Panama, Copa has an excellent stopover deal that you can add during your trip to another country. You can spend 1-7 days in Panama then hop back on the plane to your original destination. 

How awesome is that? 

I know you are ready to add Panama to your Canva travel board now!


Okay, fine! 

#2 City life and Nightlife 

In my opinion and many others, Panama has one of the prettiest skylines. This makes it suitable for late nights and rooftop vibes. For the Afro-descendent community in Panama, the nightlife can be a bit bland for our taste at times. However, if you love a variety of music such as EDM, reggaeton, afrobeat, and Latin music in general then party the night away at several clubs in Casco and a few spots throughout the city like Diablo which is located in Obario. 

Hint: For a mix of music you want to find the word Crossover on the flyer for the club, or you might get stuck with reggaeton or EDM music all night. 

One thing I love about city life in Panama is it still feels super connected because it´s a small city. The whole city is walkable and safe, even at night.  

Walkable score 100 ha. 

You can walk to most grocery stores, restaurants, markets, fitness centers, etc. If you need to travel a few miles further Panama has several transportation options, such as trains, buses, and 3 different car services, Uber, Indriver, and Didi. 

Panama is a super easy country to move to or visit. 

Great skylines, rooftops, and walkability score 100. 

I know you are planning to add Panama to your Canva travel board now…. 

Still no?  

Okay, fine! 

#3 Mountain life 

City life is not your vibe. You like the tranquility of the mountains. Where everything feels slower. Everyone knows each other because only a few hundred people live in the area. Maybe you like the mountain area because you love hiking, waterfalls, camping, glamping, or four-wheeling yourself through the woods. 

Well, Panama has that too! 

Boquete would be the most popular place if you like a quieter, less active life. I will say for young people though, there are not many who live in Boquete and even fewer afro-descendant people. 

So yeah. 

However, it was a delightfully peaceful place, and I met many people from different parts of Latin America who reside in Boquete. 

Another mountain town is El Valle. This is only 2 or 3 hours away from the city, and you can travel 1-way for about $5 and $10 round trip. This town is not too far from the beach areas too, about 1 hour or so from the San Carlos beaches. This charming town gives you the best of both worlds, all within a few hours of each other. You have great hiking trails, waterfalls, animals, and beautiful nature here. 

Stay at Canopy Lodge for an incredible experience surrounded by birds and other wildlife. 

I know at this point you have added Panama to your Canva Travel board. 

Still no?  

Okay, fine! 

#4 Beachlife 

If mountain life is not your thing, beach life might be.  

You imagine your travel or living abroad life to be more of sand, sunhats, and butts out, I mean bikinis on. However, if you are anything like me, you might prefer a tankini or a one-piece. 

Well, Panama has options. However, for many of us, POC folks Bocas or Colon (Portobelo) might be more of the spot to be. These 2 areas are where most Afro-Panamanians reside, or their descendants have resided. While Bocas is being gentrified, I know as black expats we can have mixed feelings about gentrification. While we don´t want locals being pushed out we also want the soft life luxuries. Unfortunately, locals do not have the resources to offer westerners the lifestyles they are used to.

Read full more in The Black Expat Experience

However, support can look different for everyone. We want to help support these small businesses financially. We can also build mentorship programs for these communities. Furthermore, we can assist them in creating a more expansive vision for themselves. Even though I do not agree with the thought process that western life is better, I do support the vision of self-sustainability in all aspects of life. That looks different for everyone. 

However, there are other beach towns such as Cornado, San Carlos, Punta Chame, Santa Catilina, Veraguas province beach area (this is more for surfers), and many more. Book a stay in Bocas, Colon, or any other beach area, and enjoy the sand between your toes. 

#5 Culture 

Embera Women Photo taken by Lawrence Wilder

Panama is rich in culture and history.

Many may not know of King Bayano, who led the largest slave revolt before the creation of the country of Panama. 

Explore rich cultural experiences from the 7 different indigenous groups. The 2 most popular indigenous experiences in Panama are visiting the Embera tribe and San Blas. Nevertheless, you can see indigenous groups throughout the country. 

Then we have the historic building of the Panama Canal. Last, but certainly not least, is the history of Afro-Panamanian and Asian Panamanian contributions to Panama. Something I didn´t realize before moving to Panama was the large Asian community here in Panama.

Despite their huge presence in Panama and contribution to the country, they aren’t recognized enough. 

Cultural disparities

However, I still recognize the financial difference between Afro-Panamanian and Asian-Panamanian communities. Most Asians own or operate corner stores and small shops in the city. El Dorado is where many Asian shops, food, and homes are located. 

Most Afro-Panamanian residents do not own any land or buildings in the areas where they live. The houses aren´t modern, and the community lacks proper resources. The free zone is one of Panama’s biggest economic assets, but few Afro-Panamanians can own stores within the free zone. Many are owned by Asian-Panamanians, Blanco-Latinos, or Europeans. I would love to see more opportunities extended to the locals of Colon to own and operate their businesses within the Free Zone. I would also love to see more initiatives for flipping homes and building homes that benefit the locals in multiple ways. 


Photo taken by Lawrence Wilder

I know at this point you have added Panama to your Canva Travel board. 

Even after my mini-rant about cultural disparities in Panama. 

I hope you can explore or live in the multifaceted parts of Panama because it has so much to offer. 

The fact that you can easily travel from the US, Canada, South America, and other Central American countries makes buying plane tickets and travel plans easy. 

Whether you prefer City life, Nightlife, Mountains, or Beach living, you can choose from a variety of lifestyles that take advantage of the diverse cultures of this small country. 

Don’t forget to make a small difference in minority communities in Panama.

Read more in 3 Afro- Panamanian places Black expats should visit… to support Afro-Panamanians in the city

This post features affiliate links, which means I earn a small commission if you decide to click on and purchase through these links.

Comment below with your travel vision ideas or tag me in your travel vision boards!

As Always Thank You for Reading My World, My Vision, My Adventure! 

Don’t forget to Subscribe, Follow, and Like my Pinterest and Instagram pages. Until next time Peace and Hair Grease!

2 responses to “5 Reasons Why Panama Should Be On Your Travel Vision Board”

  1. Biola, have you visited any of the museums in Panama City? I’m thinking in particular of the modern art museum, which I’d love to visit. I am a museum fanatic.

    The next time I come to Panama, I’m not going to just change planes in Panama City. I’m going to get out and explore, using your ideas.

    • Yes I visited the MAC museum and the Afro-Panamanian one. I walked past the bio museum a ton of times but haven’t went in yet lol

      Yes definitely, explore Panama City. It’s a great place.

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