Snorkeling in Panama

Outdoor Activities to Do While on Vacation in Panama

In addition to the vibrant culture and delicious cuisine, one of the most incredible aspects of Panama is the country’s stunning natural beauty. From sparkling waters teeming with diverse marine life to lush forests blooming with brilliant flora and fauna, there are countless natural wonders to explore. To fully appreciate the breathtaking scenery, make sure to pencil in a few nature-focused excursions into your itinerary. Here are some of the best outdoor activities to do while on vacation in Panama.

Scuba diving

Panama is home to some of the most incredible scuba diving sites that central America has to offer. Particularly noteworthy sites reside around the Gulf of Chiriquí. It’s where you will find some of the oldest coral reefs in Panama—some over 5,600 years old. Such sites include Isla Secas which dwells on a chain of 16 volcanic islands and Coiba Island diving which many refer to the “New Galapagos” for its diverse wildlife. Divers will also regularly spot schools of jack, barracuda, and snapper at Isla Ladrones as well. Depending on the level of adventure you wish to experience, you can choose to stay closer to the surface or venture out on a thrilling deep water or wall dive. There is truly no better way to experience such priceless underwater treasures than viewing them up-close on a once-in-a-lifetime scuba diving tour.


To experience the magnificent underwater views that Panama has to offer without straying too far from the surface, snorkeling is also a great option. As you glide along the surface of the sparkling turquoise water, you will come across stunning views of lively coral reefs, vibrant fish, and a diverse array of exotic marine life.


To fully immerse yourself in the breathtaking natural landscapes that comprise Panama, consider taking a hiking tour. Encompassing roughly 9,300 acres of land that includes pastures, tropical beaches, and indigenous forests, Isla Boca Brava is an especially ideal hiking destination in Panama. There, you will find numerous trails to guide you on a relaxing journey or exciting adventure through the jungles of Panama. While traversing through the jungle, you will likely spot a wide variety of wildlife that finds their home amidst the lush flora and fauna. Visitors often see howler monkeys, tropical birds, sloths, lizards, and even big cats on Panama hiking tours.

Whale watching

Whale watching in Panama is truly a can’t-miss experience. Panama is one of only two countries in the world where humpback whales from the northern and southern hemispheres migrate to birth their young. The best time to witness this remarkable phenomenon is between July and October. This is when 2,000 humpback whales migrate 4,000 miles to Panama’s warm safe waters. Despite this incredible occurrence, Panama remains a relatively underrated whale-watching destination. As such, you won’t have to worry about excessive crowds and can enjoy an intimate and truly remarkable whale-watching experience.

Paddleboarding or kayaking

For an activity that blends land and sea into one, consider trying your hand at paddleboarding or kayaking. Floating along the water’s surface on a stand-up paddleboard or kayak is a great way to admire Panama’s sparkling waters and incredible landscapes. If you are new to these enjoyable water activities, you can choose to paddle close to the shores and test out the waters. However, if you’re up for a more immersive experience, consider journeying down Panama’s mangrove-lined rivers. Here you will get a front-row view of rich island ecosystems.

Island cruise

Outdoor activities don’t have to be physically strenuous. If you’re seeking a way to relax while still experiencing Panama’s incredible natural environment, consider hopping on an island cruise. The Gulf of Chiriquí is an especially great destination for a tranquil cruise, as it is home to numerous unspoiled islands, such as Isla Games or Bolanos. The best part—they’re just a short 20-minute journey away from the mainland. After sailing along the turquoise waters, you’ll arrive at secluded white sand beaches where you can lounge beneath the shade from swaying palms.

Horseback riding

Whether you want to leisurely canter along Panama’s picturesque shoreline or journey deep into its jungles, horseback riding is your answer. This activity provides a memorable way to take in the country’s beautiful natural scenery. While a beautiful horse carries you along, you’ll have the chance to focus on fully admiring the environment around you. If you choose a jungle tour, make sure to keep an eye out for exotic wildlife such as monkeys, sloths, and birds as you ride. If you don’t have much (or any) horseback riding experience, don’t worry. Whether you’re a beginner horseback rider or an expert, Selva Terra Island Resort offers several tour options for riders of all skill levels to choose from.

Bird watching

Panama’s abundant, tropical environment provides a home to an incredible variety of exotic winged creatures. As such, the country is a great bird-watching destination. To put things in perspective, Panama is home to almost 1,000 species of birds—a diversity that is greater than the United States and Canada combined. Common birds people spot in the jungles of Panama include warblers, parrots, osprey frigates, toucans, parakeets, and flycatchers. To optimize your chances of seeing the greatest variety of bird species possible, start your bird-watching journey earlier in the day. You want to venture out before it gets hot, as the winged creatures hide in the shade.


If you’re looking for an outdoor activity in Panama that will get your blood pumping, consider going on an adrenaline-boosting ziplining adventure. An ideal place to go ziplining in Panama is in the enchanting mountain town of Boquete. Located at the foothills of the Baru Volcano, untouched cloud forests surround Boquet. High amongst the canopies of such forests, you can glide through the trees as you pass by waterfalls, rivers, and other remarkable natural scenery.

You can book each of these incredible outdoor activities to do in Panama and more through Selva Terra Island Resort. To plan the trip of a lifetime, contact us today for more information.

Outdoor Activities to Do While on Vacation in Panama

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