Whether you’ve just landed in Panama for a new life or visiting to get a feel for the place, you may be wondering what there is to do here. A new city can seem very overwhelming and can leave you feeling disoriented or at the very least a little bored. Today, we’re going to look at some of the top spots to visit in Panama City. Options range from the essential, touristy staples to some of the places the locals enjoy.
1) The Panama Canal
Let’s kick off the list with one of the main things you heard about before you moved here. The Panama Canal is simply one of the most important accomplishments in Panama’s history. It has given way to booming industries and has provided jobs for thousands upon thousands of people. Guests can visit the Miraflores Visitor Center where they can spend time in an interactive museum and viewing deck. The deck gives gorgeous views of the cruise and cargo ships and an inside look at how the Panama Canal works!
If you’re lucky enough to be here while there’s soccer game going on, you simply have to check it out! Soccer (know here as futbol) is a national pastime. Even if you’re not into the sport, it’s loads of fun and an essential part of Panamanian life that should definitely be experienced.
Exploring the metropolitan city is always fun – but what about the more historic side of the city? Guests can check out Panama Viejo. An UNESCO World Heritage Site, Panama Viejo gives guests a historic look at what Panama City once was and the principles the city was established on.
Whether you’re looking to snag some souvenirs for friends back home or looking for authentic, artisanal pieces, you can’t go wrong with the Mercado Artesanias de 5 De Mayo (The Artisan Market for short). You’ll find many artisanal markets out here but what sets this one apart is that it’s nowhere near as crowded or expensive as the markets in the more touristy parts of town.
Looking for something a little more low key? Casco Viejo is definitely the place for you. Though it’s only a few minutes outside the Panama City center, it feels like a totally different world. Architecturally, Casco is a diverse mix of classic Spanish colonial buildings that are functioning apartments, hostels, hotels, bars, and much more. It’s a gorgeous mix of old and new world sensibilities. There are even guided tours available for those who want to learn of Casco’s rich and vibrant history. A short day trip out to Casco Viejo will both relax and enchant you!
If you’re here in Panama, you’re probably trying to escape some of the day-to-day foods that you find at home. If you’re looking to shake things up, one of the best places to treat your palette to a taste of local food is at the Mercado de Mariscos (The Fish Market). Get a taste of fresh caught, local fish and indulge in a tasty serving of Ceviche – one of Panama’s best delicacies.
Do you absolutely love coffee? Well, lucky you! Panama is home to Geisha Coffee – a coffee which has been hailed by professional coffee connoisseurs as the best coffee in the world. And at over $170, they’re not lying. Of course, you won’t have to drop that much for a taste. Head over to Bajareque Coffee House in Casco Viejo. There you can get a serving of Geisha Coffee for as little as $9 a cup.
Located on the Amador Causeway in Panama City, Panama the BIOMUSEO is a biodiversity museum designed by the renowned architect Frank Gehry. This colorful building features eight galleries that focus on Panamanian culture and its impact on the planet’s biodiversity. It’s also a an intimate venue for the occasional one-off concert or show. Definitely a fascinating showcase for anyone even remotely interested in art.
Literally! You know that scene in the movies: the happy couple goes on a long, picturesque hike until they find a fantastic view of the city. You can actually experience that by hiking at Parque Metropolitano (Metropolitan Park). Right at the edge of Panama City, guests will find a delightful nature reserve teeming with exotic birds and plants. Enjoy a brisk hike to the top where you’ll be treated to a stunning panoramic view of Panama City.
Panama City is a place that really knows how to party once the sun goes down. Guests can enjoy a drink at one of the many local bars, meet expats at some of the more “touristy” nightclubs or join the locals at the discos that are peppered around town. There’s no wrong way to have a great night in Panama City.
Evie Brooks – Panama Vacation Realty – I’ve been a real estate investor for over 23 years, both in Panama and the United States. I have also been a real estate investor-trainer and educator with the Rich Dad, Poor Dad Robert Kiyosaki organization. No matter what is drawing you to this amazing country — if you have an interest in owning real estate, retiring, investing, or becoming an expat — I can help you every step of the way!
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