An Animal Lover's Top 10 Nature Adventures in Panama City

Three-toed sloth |© Marissa Strniste/Flickr
Three-toed sloth |© Marissa Strniste/Flickr
Photo of Brittney Schering
22 January 2018

Whether you want to see howler monkeys, sloths, armadillos or frogs, Panama is home to a world of creatures that animal lovers are sure to marvel at. Here is a list of the top 10 nature adventures in Panama City.

© Jack Hamilton / Unsplash

Soberania National Park

This national park in Panama offers marked paths such as Pipeline Road, a bird lover’s paradise. Pipeline provides the opportunity to take in sights and sounds like Panama’s wildlife throughout the plush greenery of the jungle. The further you hike, the better your chance to see monkeys, sloths, coatimundis and more of Panama’s furry regulars. Animals are most active in the morning, so hikers are encouraged to set out before 9 a.m. for the best experience. Other trails within this park include Plantation Path, The Pond Natural Trail, Trail of the Crosses and Spirit of the Forest.

📍 Panama +507 232-4192

Bocas del Toro

This beachy bungalow town on the sea is equal parts Caribbean chill and epic beach party. Surrounded by the jungle and rainforest, surfers love to come to Bocas del Toro to catch the tide. Water taxis are everywhere waiting to take travelers to secret, secluded coves and extraordinary snorkeling locations.

📍 Bocas

Metropolitan Natural Park

Panama City is the only metropolis to have a jungle within its city center. Hike through the many trails on offer in Metropolitan Natural Park. Explore the gorgeous scenery and exciting chance to see the exotic wildlife that calls Panama home. With trail names including Motmots, Mahoganies, Oak, Titi Monkey and Small Swamp, the guides can advise on which path is best based on your preference and ability.

📍 Panama +507 232-5516

Birdwatching, Panama | © Courtesy of Gamboa Rainforest Resort

El Valle de Anton

El Valle is an easy bus ride from Panama City and perfect for a weekend escape. The second-largest inhabited sleeping volcano in the world, El Valle offers ample opportunity for hiking with the favored La India Dormida and several trails surrounding the mountain town. Also on offer are hot springs and a butterfly garden, as well as fantastic restaurants. El Valle is a peaceful getaway unlike any other – an exotic experience not to be missed!

La India Dormida

Located in El Valle de Anton is a grand mountain called La India Dormida, “the sleeping Indian girl.” With several trails ranging from easy to extreme, have your pick for various sights full of gorgeous waterfalls. From the short and easy trail called the Chorro de las Mozas to another breezy option called Chorro el Macho, other trails on offer such as La Piedra Pintada increase in difficulty as you venture further up the mountain, but reward hikers with astounding views.

Go wild in Panama I | © Debora Tingley / Unsplash


Colon is on the Caribbean side of Panama and offers several, small seaside beach towns from Portobelo to Puerto Lindo and many more. It is rough and rugged in parts and entirely serene in others. The oldest working railroad in the world happens to run between Panama City and Colon, offering the perfect route to this gem.

📍 Colon

San Blas Islands

Perfect for sailing, diving, and snorkeling, the San Blas islands are located on the Caribbean Sea. Though preferred by travelers on a budget, they have high-end resorts here, too. This chain of islands has a lovely rustic feel. A phenomenal off-grid escape, San Blas Islands are opposite the regular, run-of-the-mill beach. San Blas is a world of islands all its own, and all are welcome to enjoy this Panamanian slice of seaside paradise.

50,000 turtles

Between July and September, thousands of olive ridley sea turtles come to shore to nest and lay eggs on Isla de Cañas in the Azuero Peninsula of Panama. This is one of only five places in the world where these turtles come to collectively reproduce.

©Jeremy Bishop/Unsplash

Gatún Lake

In the middle of the lake is Barro Colorado, a biological research station ran by the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. Enjoy a walk through the nature trail that offers extraordinary sights and sounds including a majestic variety of monkeys who call this lake home – spider monkeys, Geoffrey’s Tamarins, howler monkeys and more.

Always more on offer

Panama boasts many more incredible opportunities to hike through animal centric zones including Summit Municipal Park, devoted to a botanical garden, Taboga Island’s Trail of the Three Crosses, Darien National Park’s serious jungle trail favored by nature enthusiasts, the Finca Suiza and La Amistad International Park in Chiriqui.