It’s almost winter up north, and in Panama that means the busy travel and tourism season are nearing. If you’re looking to travel to Panama this winter, and enjoy the country’s dry, summer season, there are many options for many budgets. But no matter what your budget, and what your preferences are, if you want to travel to Panama, it’s good to travel smart. Find the best deals on flights, where to stay, where to eat, and where to shop, all before you’ve stepped foot in this wonderful Central American country. Here are a few pointers to help get you started.
When to book your travel to Panama
Traveling smart in Panama during high season requires a certain amount of planning ahead, although, if you need to book last minute, you can still get some great deals. Your best bet for flights is to book about 10 weeks ahead of your scheduled departure. Another good idea is to be flexible about your dates. If you have flexible vacation time, or flexibility in your agenda while in Panama, you will have many more price options for flights and hotels. Typically, the best (and cheapest) days to fly are Tuesdays and Thursdays, and if you’re willing to endure some connecting flights, you can drive the price down even further.
Where to purchase plane tickets and hotel reservations online
You can search pages like CopaAir.com (Panama’s national carrier), or discount sites like Despegar.com, SkyScanner.net, or Orbitz.com to set your price parameters and open dates, and find great deals on flights, hotels or both. You can also use sites like WhereTo.com, which will allow you to put your general budget into a search, and give you a number of flight and hotel options for a variety of dates. Even during the busy season, hotels and airline carriers tend to offer great deals through combo packages purchased through 3rd party websites, so if you can book everything all at once, you will more than likely get a much better price.
Booking the right type of accommodation for your budget and location
If you’re looking to travel to Panama this winter, there are many types of options available when it comes to accommodations. The first thing you need to do is choose where in Panama you want to go, and then set aside a budget. A typical hotel in Panama City (during Jan.-April) will cost you between $50-$200 per night depending on location and luxury. A good median price to shoot for is around $125 per night, and the areas you want to look for are Casco Viejo, El Cangrejo, Ave. Balboa, and Punta Paitilla/Pacifica. In the interior (Boquete, Coronado, El Valle, etc.) hotels tend to be a bit cheaper, however there are many resorts that are competitively priced a bit higher.