Can’t decide where to celebrate New Year’s Eve in Panama? From upscale city nightlife to laid back beach towns… here are the best spots in Panama to celebrate New Year’s Eve.


Panama City

An upscale modern city filled with glass skyscrapers, nightlife, restaurants, shopping, and lots of fireworks on NYE.

Panama City

Panama City has been my home since 2011 so I might be a little bias, but it is an incredible place to celebrate the New Year.

What makes celebrating NYE in Panama City unique is the number of fireworks that go off. Find a good birds-eye view of the city from one of the numerous rooftop bars and you’ll see fireworks explode non-stop between midnight and 5 AM, just feet away from Panama City’s skyscrapers.

Locals usually celebrate with their families until midnight so if you’re visiting don’t be surprised if the place you’re at is a little empty for a New Year countdown. People will typically head out to the bars around 1 AM to continue partying until the sunrise. 

Where to stay in Panama City

Where to party in Panama City

The best parties are going to take place in the Casco Viejo neighborhood, which is the epicenter of culture and nightlife in Panama City. Tantalo is known for throwing one of the best NYE parties every year and you can get tickets for $85 which includes a premium open bar the entire night. Another fun spot is Tacos La Neta located on the Selina rooftop and they’re hosting a party for $75 which includes a premium open bar as well. Or you want somewhere really bougie to bring in the New Year, make a reservation at Salvaje or Casa Casco.


Boquete

Beautiful mountain views with cooler temperatures, nature & hiking, locally grown coffee, and fireworks. 

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If ringing in the New Year with a small group of friends, wine, and beautiful mountain views is more your style then Boquete is the place for you. Just like Panama City, the town square also boasts an incredible fireworks display throughout the night.

Boquete is a really beautiful place to spend time so be sure to read these tips before you go!

To arrive to Boquete you’ll first need to get to David. From Panama City you can take a bus from the Albrook bus terminal to David for $15.25 or $18.15 after 10:30 pm and the ride will last approximately 7 hours. The busses are actually brand new and really comfortable, but be sure to bring a warm jacket because sometimes they crank up the AC. There is also a flight available on the local airlines Air Panama and Copa and you’ll arrive in just 40 minutes. Check out this detailed guide by Habla Ya on how to arrive to Boquete from Panama City.

Where to stay in Boquete

Where to party in Boquete

Partying for NYE in Boquete will be much more laidback than the swanky parties in Panama City and most events will take place in some of the town’s classic establishments like Boquete Brewing Company, Taboo, The Rock, and Valle Escondido. However, just like Panama City, you can also expect an all-night fireworks show.


Bocas del Toro

A laid-back Caribbean beach town with world-class surfing, amazing beaches, and epic parties.

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Photo via Rosie Bell

Isla Colon in Bocas del Toro is Panama’s best spot to celebrate New Year’s Eve if a Caribbean town is what you’re after. Thousands of young backpackers, visitors, and locals flock to the island for its epic parties and beautiful beaches each year with NYE being one of their craziest nights.

Bocas del Toro is accessible via a 12-hour bus ride from Panama City but I highly recommend taking the flight on Air Panama there because busses can only be reserved on the day you are leaving so there is a good chance you could get stranded in Bocas or Panama City if they are full.

Where to stay in Bocas del Toro

Where to party in Bocas del Toro

There’s always a party happening in the center of Bocas del Toro every weekend, so expect NYE to be insane. The best nightlife in Bocas to checkout Selina, Summer, Aqua Lounge, and Tequila Republic. Filthy Friday also throws a special edition New Year’s island-hopping party on the closest Friday to the day.


Pedasí & Playa Venao

Beautiful beach towns just 5 hours from Panama City. 

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Located approximately 5 hours from Panama City is the small town of Pedasí. This would be a good spot to go if you’re looking for a local style celebration that will have a mix of locals and foreigners. If you go 30 minutes farther you’ll be at Playa Venao which is becoming a world-class surfing destination and known for having good electronic music parties on New Years.

Where to stay in Pedasí / Playa Venao

Where to party in Pedasi / Playa Venao

Most NYE festivities in Pedasi will take place in the town square and you can expect lots of locals to be out launching fireworks. Or if you prefer an all-night electronic music party, head to Playa Venao, where Selina and El Sitio will be headlining events.

Author

I'm Joey, a guy from Louisville, Kentucky that packed up and studied abroad in Panamá at the age of 20 and haven't moved back since. What started as a semester trip to Panamá has turned into 7+ years of living in Latin America and becoming a full-time travel blogger. Follow me on Instagram @joeybonura for more updates on my life abroad!

4 Comments

  1. Hi Joey! Do you have any neighborhood recommendations on where to stay in Panama City for NYE? Like is Casco Viejo the best place to be or is it worth spending the $$ to book a room at Hard Rock? Asking for 3 girls in our early 30’s from London/SF who love clubs and a busy nightlife as well as culture and restaurants (so basically everything:) thanks!

    • Joey Bonura

      I 100% recommend staying in Casco Viejo for NYE. Pretty much all the nightlife,culture, and things to do are in that area now. The only thing lacking with hotels in that area is a swimming pool if you want one but you could stay in Casco and then easily sneak into one of the city hotel pools whenever you want to. Here’s a link to all of the hotels available in Casco Viejo: http://www.booking.com/district/pa/panama/cascoviejo.html?aid=801206. Also be sure to check out the listings on Airbnb.com.

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