Jacey & Scott
We are headed to Panama in December and are looking for excellent restaurant recommendations-both local places and experiences, types of local food we shouldn't miss, and suggestions on things to do?
I haven't been to Panama City (yet!) but here are my recommendations for Bocas del Toro:
Food and Drinks to Consume
For a taste of the local flavor, head to Restaurante Chitre and order up a comidas (a good-sized plate of rice, beans, and your choice of meat) for about $4.
The Bocas Brewery offers a selection of locally brewed beverages, such as an Old Bank Pale Ale, and a view of the Caribbean in the back.
If you've a hankering for something sweet, stop by John's Bakery for a batido (smoothie) or postre (dessert).
Bocas Bambu Beach boasts an amazing, zebra-themed atmosphere and fairly thriving nightlife. Come for the happy hour and stay for the fire show.
Things to See and Do
Taking a boat tour is a certified must-do to truly experience what Bocas del Toro has to offer. I highly recommend going with the Under Sea Panamá tour company; they offer a full-day tour for $45 that includes dolphin and sloth spotting, snorkeling, deepboarding, and lunch.
However, regardless of which tour operator you choose, make sure you make it out to Zapatilla Island where white-sand beaches and scenes such as this await you:
And finally, if you find yourself running low on funds (or just in need a simple day of sun and surf), rent a bike, pack a lunch, and huff it on up to Playa Bluff.
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Hola, I am from Panama City and spend some time in Bocas del Toro.
In Panama City (Panama) there are lots to do and see. It's a cosmopolitan city full of flavor. Use Uber to go from place to place. https://www.uber.com/cities/panama-city We have a metro and bus system so if you know a bit of Spanish you may be able to manage it.
I recommend starting in Casco Viejo which is an old part of the city with a French influence. You will see beautiful architecture here. I love the narrow cobbled streets. It's the artsy part of the city so some boutiques and galleries. Also lots of good places to eat or go out to at night. Have coffee or a bite at Super Gourmet. Experience a nice dinner at Tantalo Kitchen. On the street you will see vendors selling Raspado which is a national treat that consist of shaved ice with your choice of fruit juice and drizzled with sweet condense milk. At the Panama Canal Museum, you can learn all about this transportation system used by everyone in the world. One of the best bakeries in town is Momi so try some of our breads and sweets :) Walk Avenida Balboa for beautiful bay views. There's a park and walkway for pedestrians and bicycles. Take a bottle of water with you if it's sunny...there's no shady areas. Iglesia del Carmen is a nice gothic church in city center. From there you can walk around El Cangrejo if you need a bite or want to do some shopping. Calz de Amador is a wonderful place to take a walk and it's by the entrance into the Panama Canal so you will see a lot of ships. There's small plazas and restaurants along the way. Another good place for an evening out is La Rana Dorada which has good beers and food. Mi Pueblito is a good place to learn about Panamanian indigenous people and get a souvenir to take with you. Take in a folkloric dance show and traditional dinner at Las Tinajas. Take the Sea Las Perlas Ferry Boothon a sunny day to go to Taboga Island and spend the day bathing in the pacific. Pack a picnic or eat at a local restaurant. Of course you can't skip seeing the Panama Canal and if you can do it take a tour. I am sure you will see other interesting sites as you explore on your own :)
Colón Island gives you a taste of the caribbean. You can get there by bus or flying Air Panama. The main island Bocas (Isla Colon) is part of an archipelago so many others to explore. Red Frog Beach was my favorite and has two restaurants in the beach area. Great waves if you like to surf. Cayo Zapatilla is secluded so take food and drinks which you. Gorgeous waters to swim in! Carenero Island is next door to Bocas so take a water taxi $2 and walk around. It has no roads which I found liberating. Great places by the water to drink a cocktail or enjoy some eats Bibi's. In Bocas got to Bluff Beach and have a beer or cocktail by the water at Island Plantation or Bluff Beach Bar. Bastimento is a community that will give you an idea of the people in Bocas and their culture. Emerge yourself in the tastes and sounds of island life. The Firefly makes for a good evening out for gourmet eating. I recommend taking a tour to see the dolphins or renting a bicycle and going for rides around Bocas...you may find a new adventure :)
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