Christmas Panama Style

Christmas tree and Panama flag

Brian and I like spending Christmas abroad and enjoy being on the boat in a different place each Christmas. Since we moved on the boat, we take note of the Christmas traditions, decorations, and celebrations in new places. This year, we’re celebrating Christmas Panama style.

Christmas Panama Style Starts Early

Maybe it’s like this everywhere, but Christmas prep started early in Panama. When we were in Panama City in early November, the decorations were up or going up, and the stores were selling holiday goods.

Christmas tree Panama City
Christmas tree going up in a Panama City mall early November 2021
Christmas in Panama store
Christmas for sale in early November in Panama


We’ve seen a mix of real and fake trees this Christmas. Fake trees come in all materials and designs and each tree has different decorations.

Christmas tree Boquete Panama
The huge outdoor Christmas tree in the Boquete town square
Trees in Boquete Panama
Model trees in front of real ones in the mountain town of Boquete

I don’t care if it’s a red metal tree, a Douglass fir, or a Charlie Brown tree. They all get us in the spirit of the holiday, although firs do smell nice.

Christmas tree Bocas del Toro
The Christmas tree in the Red Frog Marina, Bocas del Toro

We got to Bocas del Toro in late November, and ventured out once from the archipelago, to Boquete. In addition to being a mountain town with lots of great hikes, Boquete is full of American and Canadian expats, and well decorated for Christmas.

Christmas trees on the wall
Festive wall decoration in a Boquete restaurant

Feliz Navidad

Spanish is the primary language of Panama, and here they say “Feliz Navidad,” or Merry Christmas Panama style!

Christmas Tree Panama Style
The tree at the Bocas Marina Panama

Santas, Elves, and Reindeer

It’s far from the North Pole, and there’s no snow in Panama, but Santa and his buddies are on full display. Kids here want presents for Christmas just like everywhere else. And yes, Santa Claus is in Panama: they call him Papa Noel.

Big Santa Boquete Panama
Papa Noel was in an outdoor market in Boquete, Panama
Boquete holiday decorations
Cute display outside of a home in Boquete
Elves Boquete Panama
Elves on the wall in a coffee shop, Boquete
Reindeer decorations Bocas del Toro
Reindeer in the central park of Bocas Town

Feeling Grateful at Christmas

We feel very lucky this year. Earlier this month we celebrated 3 years on the boat, we aren’t running back and forth to hospitals, and we got our booster shots this week. Even Domino is happy!

Cat in a Santa Hat
That’s Domino under the Santa hat

Bocas del Toro is a busy place for cruisers, so there are holiday parties, potlucks, just a lot of celebrations. We’re in a good place with good people, and I hope you are too! Have a great holiday whatever you celebrate, and stay safe, healthy, and happy.

Christmas scene in Boquete
Christmas up north? NO. We came upon this idyllic scene in a Boquete restaurant

Where are you spending your holidays this year? Where would you like to celebrate? Let me know in the comments!

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Author: Mel

Living aboard a sailboat, blogging about the places we visit and the adventures we have. Love hiking, cycling, scuba, animals and adventure.

3 thoughts on “Christmas Panama Style”

  1. Happy holidays!! So glad to hear you are living your best life! I’m still holding down the fort in NYC through the dreaded covid.

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