Have you heard about the infamous guys trips down to Medellin, Colombia or Panama City, Panama? These locations have been growing in popularity amongst the top Latin American bachelor party destinations. Both are amazing and both have a bit of a different experience to offer, so best to figure out what works best for your group before pulling the trigger on the destination. I’m breaking down this comparison review by the following categories: Accommodations, Day Activities, Nightlife, and the Girl Situation.
Probably the biggest component to planning the bachelor trip – finding the best place for the group to stay. The most important factors I hear from every group are privacy, noise, amenities, and location.
Privacy to groups means not being under a watchful eye and somewhat goes hand in hand with the noise factor in that groups want a place to party where they can be loud and not worry about noise complaints or unwanted attention from neighborhoods or cops. Amenities refers to things like elevators (though not something thought about normally it becomes a sticking point in older neighborhoods in Latin America), pools or jacuzzis, and other resources on site like restaurants or bars. Finally, we get to Location, referring to it’s proximity to nightlife, restaurants, or downtown districts. You usually don’t want to be more than 15 min from any hotspots, whether that’s walking or driving.
Ok, I’ve defined the main factors in picking the best accommodation for a destination bachelor party, so let’s get down to how Medellin stacks up compared to Panama City.
Medellin: Main options are Airbnb style vacation rentals in apartment buildings, but there are a few large villa options. These are very modern with all the modern fixtures and many include balcony Jacuzzi or rooftop pools. These are shared buildings so privacy/ noise are hit or miss. For smaller groups it never seems to be an issue, but when the party grows so does the noise and the bachelor party’s presence in the neighborhood. Make sure, whether you go through an agency like YC in Panama, or just book on your own to be honest with the host about the trip to get honest answers to avoid potential issues. You’ll want to book in or around the El Poblado neighborhood exclusively to be close to the action.
Panama: You have the choice of hotels, high rise penthouses either in hotel or apartment building, and restored colonial mansions. The only option you don’t have is the stand alone mansion or villa. This city is much more centralized around a high rise center and colonial neighborhood called Casco Viejo, which is the primary nightlife district. If booking a villa you’ll want to be in Casco Viejo. If going the hotel or penthouse route, then you’ll end finding the best options in Obarrio, Calle 50, Bella Vista areas. Though you would think that hotels equal less privacy and more noise conflicts, if you pick the right hotel they are used to this type of trip. The walls are thick and the penthouses set up to party so bringing guests back isn’t an issue nor is noise. In fact, the hotel provides a line of defense against unwanted visits from the police. In case of noise or other complaints, you’ll get a visit from hotel staff first prior to any police intervention so this actually is a positive. The hotels and penthouses have more amenities, but all shared with the other guests. The villas in Casco are less equipped with pools, but location is king. The positive here is that there are these restored colonial mansions built into a number of apartment rentals within the buildings so you can combine them or not depending on the size of your group. If you’re looking for a house on the beach in Panama, get rid of that idea.
Whether you want to or not, it needs to be discussed. Some groups are all about the vampire schedule and others want to keep it active. Others just need some photo ops to prove they did something other than hookers and blow. Before I get into it, I’m going to sum it real quick: Panama has more options whether active, lazy, luxury, or simply bar hop.
Medellin: For the active, you’ll want to head to Guatape and either climb the stairs, go paragliding, hit the water on the lake, or horseback. All your active options will be in this area. For the more standard tours you’ll probably go the route of the Pablo Escobar tour taking you from his haunting grounds in Medellin to his famous hacienda nápoles in Guatape. Your bachelor tour options are a bit more limited beyond that.
Panama: For the active, you can go the route of white water rafting, snorkelling, wakeboarding, ziplining, 4x4, or basic stuff like paintballing or go-karts. There are a few good golf courses, helicopter charter options, and fishing whether deep sea or lake. To combine drinking with the day tour you can always do the rum tour bar crawl, a yacht party to Taboga Island, monkey island jungle safari, or even a pool party. For the lazy you can do the Panama Canal visitor center.
Looking for clubs, strip clubs, girl bars, or casinos? You’re going to need some girls to hang out with the group whether you want to get with one or not, this will simply add to the overall vibe. Let’s break this down.
Clubs – tons of club options and rooftop club options. A lot of these within walking distance of the others so you can club hop. There are only a handful of clubs in the downtown high rise district, while the majority are in Casco Viejo. Panama wins!
Strip clubs – not really a thing in Panama. There is only one proper strip club, Emotions, but it is never busy. Some nice dancers and good looking girls. Your group will have the whole place to yourself. Other than this there is Le Palace with total dime pieces, but terrible dancing. It’s more of a pick up bar – grab the girls and head out.
Bars – So many craft beer bars or rum bars and options to pub crawl. Different neighborhoods have their clusters of bars. Whole city is safe so feel free to explore.
Clubs – not really a thing in the sense of a traditional club. There are tons of packed bars with a more club vibe, but it’s just bars. The best cluster of these is around Parque Lleras in El Poblado. In this area you’ll be bar hopping and partying the entire trip.
Strip clubs – La Isla is the best strip club you’ll want to visit. It’s massive with constant dancers and I’m talking gorgeous girls. There are rooms for rent in the back, so this strip club doubles as a brothel. You’ll spend the entire night here. Medellin wins!
Prostitution is basically legal in both places with the options for massage parlors more prevalent in Medellin, but more variety of girls in Panama. In Medellin, you will only find Colombians, but in Panama you will find girls from all over Latin America. The prices are similar, but Medellin will save you about 50 bucks. In both places you can pick girls up at certain bars or locations; in Medellin this is Parque Lleras and in Panama this is Habanos. If you want some high-end escorts in either location you’ll need to work with a presenter to get the girls that don’t work the streets. If you don’t want to pay for it then my recommendation for either location is to download Tinder, upgrade to gold, set your location for your destination and start chatting up the locales before you arrive so you can go from zero to sixty once you hit the ground.
Whether you decide on Medellin or Panama City, you will have a good time. Hopefully, this brief overview for both locations helps you understand where your group would have a better time. Either way you should plan on checking out both. Be sure to follow our blog to get more info making the best of your trip before you go. Need help planning or have more questions – check out what we can offer.