Participate in the national festivals

One of the most important festivals for Panamanians is Carnival, celebrated four days before Ash Wednesday in villages nationwide, most famously in Las Tablas in Los Santos Province.Even if the town is flat, they always elect two queens to represent Upper Street and Lower Street. For a full five nights, each queen and her troupe must participate in the costumed parades, joyous dancing, and nights of fireworks. But the fun doesn't stop there. During the heat of the day the townspeople gather at the central park or main square, dressed in swimsuits and ready to get soaked by the trucks with watertanks that hose down the crowds.

Another popular spot to spend carnival is in Penonomé, capital of Coclé province, where their parade takes place on the river.

In Natá de los Caballeros, in the province of Coclé, the celebration of Holy Week begins on "Mourning Friday". This ancient procession of a 16th century image contemplates Mary's sorrow for her dead son.

The Festival of Corpus Christi, held 60 days after Good Friday, is another emblematic demonstration of Panama culture. In the town of Los Santos, folkloric performances include the Dance of the Spaniards, Dance of the Dwarfs, and Zaracunde, a runaway slave dance.

  • Below are some additional national festivals in Panama:
  • Canajagua Folk Gathering
  • Christ of Esquipulas in Antón
  • Festival of Devils and Congos, Chepigana, Darien
  • Sugar Cane Festival, Pesé
  • Bulla and Bullerengue Festival, Darién
  • Festival of Devils and Congos, Portobelo, Colón
  • Painted Hat Festival, Coclé
  • Santa Librada Festival
  • National Pollera Festival
  • Manito Festival in Ocú
  • Founding of Panama
  • Founding of Sonó

Panama's patron saint festival is celebrated as a national holiday in November nationwide, both in the capital city and countryside villages, with parades of student marching bands, universities, civic groups, and government institutions.

What to bring?

  • Water bottle
  • Sunscreen
  • Light-weight clothing
  • Map of Panama