Panama is renowned for its lush rainforests and diverse flora and fauna. Here travellers will find some of the finest snorkelling, birding and adventure opportunities in Central America. Panama is a peaceful nation, which honours its indigenous and Afro-Panamanian cultures and Spanish legacy. Visitors to Panama often feel as if they have discovered a secret that the rest of the travelling world has yet to uncover.
This short guide will direct you to the best spots in town but keep in mind that night-life in Panama does not really start after midnight. Have Fun!!
WHAT TO DO IN PANAMA CITY
Panama City is a cosmopolitan city, a delightful combination of the historic and modern. It is also one of the safest cities in Latin America. There are three Cities: the historical ruins of the 16th Century city named Panama Viejo, the 17th Century Spanish Colonial Casco Antiguo area of the city and the modern skyscraper city with the business district.
Day tour of Panama City – Visit the three cities in one day: the ruins of the 16th century original city, walk the Casco Antiguo colonial city and admire the modern city.
The Panama Canal – City tour includes a trip to the Panama Canal. A must-do is a visit to the Visitors Center at Miraflores Locks. Admision is $12.00 per person and if you want an unforgetable experience, go dining to Atlantic and Pacific Co. Overlooking the Miraflores locks.
The Panama Canal Transits – Only on special schedule, this is a great option for those that interested in the complete history of the Panama Canal and experience crossing the locks.
Amador Causeway and Biodiversity Museum – A visit to the Amador Causeway is also a good option to admire the spectacular views of the Panama City’s skyline and the Panama Canal. You can bike or walk the area or just enjoy a Panama bear at the restaurants in the Marina. A must to see is the Biodiversity Museum, an architectonic jewel design by Frank Gerhy.
Panama Canal Railway trans-isthmus – Ride the historic Panama Canal Railway, the original transcontinental railway inaugurated in 1855. In special observation cars, the trip takes you across the scenic Isthmus from Panama City on the Pacific, to Colon on the Atlantic Side.
Metropolitan Park, Soberania National Park – ecological tours – Panama City’s Metropolitan Park is the only rainforest within the city limits of a modern metropolis. Ask for a guided nature tour of the Park and hiking and birding tour at Soberania National Park.
The Rainforst Discovery Center in Soberania National Park – The Discovery Center in the Panama Canal Rainforest is open every day from 6.00AM to 4.00PM Climb this 100 foot Observation Tower for a breathtaking views above the forest canopy and hike the trails around the center. You will learn about sustainable practices in this fantasctic place. Ideal for families.
Portobello: A picturesque bayside town of with the ruins of Spanish forts and a restored Spanish Colonial treasure house. In Spanish colonial times the Portobello Treasure House was the center for trans-shipment of all the Peruvian gold and treasure taken from Latin America to Spain. Spanish galleons came and went constantly and many fairs were held. That easy heyday ended with the arrival of English pirates like Sir Francis Drake who repeatedly looted Portobellos treasures and brought about its eventual demise. The Portobelo Ruins are a pillar of Spanish colonial times, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Fort San Lorenzo: A well preserved fort ruin perched high on a stunning promontory above the Chagres River as it meets the sea. Sir Henry Morgan attacked the fort and made away with booty in 1666. It is essential to go with a tour operator since to date this unusual site has no signs or tourist info of any kind.
Embera Indian Village Tour, Chagres National Park – An unforgettable encounter with a living Indian culture in Panama’s rain forest. Panama is the only place in the world where you can have this experience in a day trip from a major metropolitan city. The tour begins 1.5 hours from Panama City, where you’ll take a motorized canoe up a scenic rainforest river, the only means of transport in the jungle, to an authentic Embera Indian village on river bank deep inside the rainforest. The village consists mostly of the rough wood and palm homes on stilts typical of the jungle Indians. Embera indians will perform a tribal dance offer authentic body paintings, exquisite handicrafts, share a typical meal and explain their way of life, traditions and beliefs.
Handicrafts and shopping – Try el Valle Sunday Market, the Balboa Artisan’s Market and don´t miss the city’s shopping malls, ideals for those looking for brands. Check Multiplaza a high end shopping mall.
Optional day tours from Panama city: Historical Tours, Cultural exchange at the Embera Indian Village at the Chagres National Park, Panama Mini Cruises, Barro Colorado Island, Canopy Adventure, surfing, boat tour the gatun lake, hiking the National Parks, birding Soberania National Park, white water rafting, kayaking, biking tours, arts tours, camping and extension tours to Bocas del Toro, San Blas, Azuero and the highlands.