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10 Issues to do in Panama Metropolis, Panama for first timers

things to do in Panama City Panama city buildings seen from Cinta Costera

Issues to do Panama Metropolis, Panama

Panama Metropolis is among the most cosmopolitan capitals in Central America. There are many enjoyable and fascinating issues to do in Panama Metropolis, so we encourage you to spend just a few days right here. It’s far more than a journey hub for the area. 

On this fast Panama Metropolis journey information, we spotlight the highest sights we visited throughout our two week journey to Panama in February 2020. We additionally share just a few Panama Metropolis journey suggestions and classes discovered from our expertise.

Earlier than we get began, we really feel it’s necessary to remind you that the world of journey has modified for the reason that international pandemic. Preserve this in thoughts when researching your Panama trip. Be sure to perceive Panama journey restrictions earlier than reserving, to keep away from disappointment. 

Now that’s out of the best way, let’s begin planning your Panama Metropolis itinerary!

Learn extra posts from our journey to Panama:

Prime Issues to do in Panama Metropolis, Panama

Things to do in Panama City Panama Casco Viejo architecture on the waterfront of Pacific Ocean

1. Wander the outdated streets of Casco Viejo 

We consider each first time customer to Panama Metropolis ought to go to Casco Viejo, also referred to as Casco Antiguo or San Felipe. That is Panama Metropolis’s historic outdated quarter. It’s listed as a UNESCO World Heritage web site and is arguably the most well-liked vacationer attraction in Panama Metropolis.

This fashionable neighbourhood has a mixture of outdated Spanish colonial and neoclassical structure. It’s an fascinating place, with many layers. Some buildings are utterly restored to former glory, whereas others are left to crumble and collapse. That is the place you will see that fashionable eating places and bars, boutique resorts, artsy outlets and hipster cafes. 

Casco Viejo is a comparatively protected a part of Panama Metropolis, the place vacationers are capable of wander aimlessly. That stated, like most huge cities in Central America, you need to nonetheless stay vigilant from pickpockets and scammers. 

You’ll be able to both e book an organized sightseeing tour of Casco Viejo or just present up and let the cobblestone streets information you. 

Associated submit – 50 Images of Casco Viejo, Panama Metropolis’s Historic Outdated City

Famous Church in Casco Viejo Things to do in Panama City Panama

Panama Metropolitan Cathedral

Also called the Metropolitan Archcathedral Basilica of Santa María la Antigua, this stunning church is positioned within the coronary heart of Casco Viejo at Plaza de la Independencia. Attempt to spend just a few moments contained in the cathedral to see its stunning alter and art work. 

view of Panama City skyline from Casco Viejo

Casco Viejo can be an ideal place to view the Panama Metropolis skyline.

Paseo Las Bovedas Procuring

Positioned in Casco Viejo, that is the place to go to in case you’re in search of small souvenirs and native crafts. You can find indigenous Guna Yala art work and materials, woven baskets, carved picket masks, handmade jewellery and cheap souvenirs to carry residence. 

2. Watch ships cross by way of the Panama Canal 

One other must-see Panama Metropolis attraction is visiting the world well-known Panama Canal. It’s stated to be one of many largest, and most tough, engineering tasks ever accomplished. It’s thought-about one of many 7 Wonders of the Fashionable World, a declare that’s arduous to dispute after you find out about its exceptional engineering accomplishments.

The Panama Canal is a synthetic waterway that connects the Pacific Ocean with the Atlantic Ocean. The canal has a lock system that elevate and decrease ships to Gatun Lake, a big freshwater synthetic lake that sits 85 toes above sea stage.

The most effective place to look at ships cross by way of the Panama Canal is on the Miraflores Locks Customer Middle in Panama Metropolis, image beneath. Watch this quick video from our go to to the Miraflores Locks.

Learn extra – Our go to to the Miraflores Locks in Panama Metropolis 

Guests fill the remark deck to look at this spectacular cruise ship cross by way of the Panama Canal on the Miraflores Locks in Panama Metropolis.

Visit Monkey Island Panama City Panama

3. Monkey Island Panama 

In case you’re in search of a novel Panama expertise, a visit to Monkey Island will do the trick. We joined the Monkey Island Tour from Panama Metropolis. It’s a 4 hour tour that features round-trip transportation with an English talking information. The tour features a boat trip up and down the Panama Canal, so that you get the added bonus of rushing previous mega-ships as they sail by way of the canal.

Extra particulars in regards to the Monkey Island Panama tour right here.

The Lake Gatun area is residence to 4 monkey species – Panamanian white-faced capuchin (image beneath), Geoffroy’s tamarin (pictured above), lemurine owl monkeys and mantled howler monkey. Monkey Island excursions permit guests the prospect to witness these monkeys up shut of their pure habitat. 

You too can mix the Monkey Island Panama tour with a go to to the Sloth Sanctuary, the place you’ll be able to see rescued three-toed and two-toed sloths. Particulars about this tour right here

Associated submit – Images from our journey to Monkey Island Panama

Monkey Island tour Things to do in Panama City Panama

Panamanian white-faced capuchin noticed whereas on the Monkey Island Panama tour

Monkey Island is definitely not one island. It’s a cluster of islands in Gatun Lake. As a result of the resident monkeys have a tendency to maneuver round, the boats journey to a couple completely different areas. 

4. Soberania Nationwide Park

Positioned 25 kilometers from Panama Metropolis, close to the city of Gamboa, Soberania Nationwide Park is the right day journey from Panama Metropolis for nature lovers who need to expertise the Panamanian rainforest. It’s a forty five minute drive from downtown Panama Metropolis to the park.

Soberania Nationwide Park is residence to over 500 chook species, making it a birdwatcher’s paradise. Stroll the favored Pipeline Street and seek for toucans, crimson-fronted parakeet, crested owls and uncommon birds, just like the red-bellied woodpecker, yellow-eared toucanets and harpy eagle. 

This nationwide park, which is over 55,000 acres, is residence to over 100 species of mammals, together with the white-faced capuchin monkeys, mantled howler monkey, Geoffroy’s tamarins, Tamandua Mexicana (anteater), two-toed and three-toed sloths, white-nosed coatis and agoutis. 

Whereas there, plan to go to the Panama Rainforest Discovery Middle and climb 174 steps to the highest of the Commentary Tower. The highest platform is 32 meters excessive and affords unbelievable views of the forest. Right here’s a brief video in regards to the Discovery Middle.

Gamboa Rainforest Reserve is positioned on the sting of Soberania Nationwide Park. That is the launch level for a lot of out of doors actions and vacationer sights. Take the Aerial Tram tour by way of the rainforest and go to the Panama Sloth Sanctuary. Study Gamboa Rainforest Excursions right here.

You too can keep in a single day on the Gamboa Rainforest Resort and spend extra time within the jungle. 

Boat tours on the Panama Canal and Soberania National Park

See extra posts from our journey to Panama right here.

giant Panama sign at Flamenco Island on Amador Causeway in Panama City

5. Stroll or bike Amador Causeway  

Amador Causeway is the place you will see that lots of Panama Metropolis’s high actions and sights. The highway stretches over 6 km and hyperlinks the small islands of Naos, Perico and Flamenco. 

That is the place the southern entrance of the Panama Canal connects with the Pacific Ocean, making it a perfect spot to look at the large container ships enter and exit Panama’s well-known canal.


The star attraction at Amador Causeway is Biomuseo, a museum targeted on the pure historical past of Panama. You gained’t have bother discovering this distinctive museum. Simply search for the brilliant and vibrant constructing with futuristic structure. The museum has eight exhibition halls that show Panama’s geology, pure historical past and numerous cultures.

Issues to do at Amador Causeway

Guests can lease bikes (take a look at Bicicletas Moses) or stroll alongside the waterfront boardwalk. Be sure to snap a photograph in entrance of the large Panama signal alongside the best way. In case you’d like to check your luck at fishing, there’s a fishing platform simply earlier than Isla Naos. 

Different Amador Causeway sights embrace Punta Culebra Nature Middle, La Playita pool bar at The Seashore Home, Omar Torrijos Herrera’s Mausoleum, Museo de la Libertad and Flamenco Marina.

Standard Amador Causeway eating places are Mi Ranchito, Beirut Calzada de Amador, Hapai Tiki Bar and/or Restaurante Bucaneros.

views of Panama City from rooftop bar Hard Rock Hotel Panama

6. Exhausting Rock Resort Rooftop Bar

For a unique perspective of Panama Metropolis, head to BITS Rooftop Bar on the luxurious Exhausting Rock Resort Megapolis. BITS stands for ‘Bar In The Sky’, which is acceptable, on condition that the bar is positioned on the 62nd ground and affords 360 diploma panoramic views of the town.

That is the perfect place to look at the sundown in Panama Metropolis. Be mindful, BITS is an outside and indoor bar and nightclub. In case you’re visiting Panama with children, it’s finest to reach when it opens at 6:00 PM. That is additionally when sundown sometimes happens. 

There are a number of Rooftop Bars in Panama Metropolis (right here’s an inventory), so don’t really feel the necessity to solely go to Exhausting Rock Resort Panama. However ensure you catch not less than one rooftop sundown throughout your time in Panama Metropolis.

Sunset views of the Pacific Ocean from the 62nd floor of Hard Rock Hotel Panama

Sundown views of the Pacific Ocean from the 62nd ground of Exhausting Rock Resort Panama.

Things to do in Panama City sunset from Hard Rock Hotel rooftop bar observation deck

Watch this quick video from the rooftop bar at Exhausting Rock Resort in Panama Metropolis.

Panama Metropolis is big! As you’ll be able to see in these photographs, it has a variety of fascinating structure. 

7. Avenida Balboa and Cinta Costera

In case you’re in search of low cost issues to do in Panama Metropolis, head to Avenida Balboa and Cinta Costera. That is the right place to get exterior and benefit from the scorching Panama local weather. 

Cinta Costera is a pedestrian walkway that connects Punta Paitilla (pictured above) to Casco Viejo and Amador Causeway. You will notice a whole lot of Panama Metropolis by strolling, operating or biking this waterfront path. There are a number of parks and grass sections right here, so it’s a perfect place to let your children run wild and burn off some vitality.

Whereas strolling alongside Cinta Costera, preserve a watch out for the large vibrant Panama indicators. As a result of each vacationer wants a photograph with an enormous signal, proper? 

Close to the doorway to Casco Viejo you will see that Mercado De Marisco Cinta Costera, a preferred fish and seafood market. It is a enjoyable place to seize lunch. In case you like contemporary seafood, we advocate you pattern some native ceviche right here.  

Cinta Costera pathway in Panama City Panama

Palm bushes line the Cinta Costera path that stretches alongside the Panama Metropolis waterfront.

There are a number of out of doors basketball courts and parks on Avenida Balboa and Cinta Costera.

8. Day journey to San Blas Islands

The San Blas Islands are one among Panama’s best treasures. You gained’t discover all-inclusive resorts with large swimming swimming pools right here. Nor will you discover mega cruise ships or mass tourism infrastructure. And that’s exactly what makes these distant palm tree islands so particular. 

Journey to the San Blas Islands will not be simple. Whilst you technically can lease a car and drive from Panama Metropolis to the coast, it’s really helpful that you just take a San Blas Islands tour. Whenever you think about the price of renting a car, insurance coverage, gasoline, parking and boat transportation, it is smart to affix an organized tour. 

In case your plan is to take a day journey to San Blas islands, you’ll completely need to be a part of a tour so you’ll be able to go to just a few completely different islands. Will probably be a really lengthy day that begins at 5:00 AM and ends late within the night. When you have the time, we advocate you keep in a single day on one of many islands.

You’ll be able to e book San Blas Islands excursions right here. There are a number of choices to select from.

Our San Blas Islands journey didn’t precisely go based on plan – discover out what occurred right here

Associated – How you can get to San Blas Islands from Panama Metropolis

Watch this video to see the smallest island we’ve visited (additionally pictured above).

san blas islands tour from Panama City Panama

Our water taxi to Yanis Island, one among many distant islands within the San Blas archipelago. 

beach hammocks on Yanis Island in the San Blas Islands Panama

The above picture is an efficient purpose why you need to go to the San Blas Islands. 

9. Go to Taboga Island or Pearl Islands

A enjoyable day journey from Panama Metropolis is visiting Taboga Island or one of many Pearl Islands.

Taboga Island is just 20 km from Panama Metropolis. The Taboga Categorical Quick Ferry takes half-hour from Panama Metropolis to Taboga. The ferry departs a number of instances per day. Extra data on tickets and schedule right here. The ferry terminal is positioned at Fuerte Amador Mall on Isla Flamenco (Amador Causeway).

Contadora Island is the most well-liked of the Pearl Islands for vacationers. We spent just a few nights on Contadora Island – examine that have right here

Just like the San Blas Islands talked about above, we advocate you keep in a single day on Contadora Island. This gives you time to correctly calm down on the seaside and discover the island. Nevertheless, in case you’re tight on time, a day journey to Contadora Island is feasible. The ferry from Panama Metropolis to Contadora takes 90 minutes (every method).

Associated – How you can take the Contadora Island Ferry from Panama Metropolis

Views of Playa Cacique on Contadora Island Pearl Islands Panama

Views of Playa Cacique on Contadora Island. It’s a tropical paradise.

rooftop pool in Panama City Marriott downtown Panama City

10. Calm down at Rooftop pool

We’re responsible of attempting to do an excessive amount of on our household holidays. Sure, we need to have as many journey experiences as potential, however we additionally need to take pleasure in some downtime by the pool. Luckily, many resorts in Panama Metropolis have rooftop swimming pools with superior views.

We spent many hours enjoyable by the pool. The local weather in Panama is often scorching and sunny, so it’s necessary to decelerate and make the most of this tropical setting. 

Attempt to schedule a while every day to calm down by the pool, particularly in case you’re touring to Panama with children. After we ask our boys what they bear in mind about our journey to Panama, the rooftop swimming pools at all times come up. See beneath for just a few Panama Metropolis resorts with rooftop swimming pools.

That is the rooftop pool on the Marriott Govt Flats Finisterre in Panama Metropolis.

rooftop pool at Residence Inn by Marriott Panama City Panama

The place to remain in Panama Metropolis Panama

There are numerous resorts in Panama Metropolis, so you’ve got loads of choices at every value level. We sometimes keep in mid-range resorts once we journey as a household.

Your greenback will go a lot additional in Panama Metropolis, when in comparison with different huge cities. Would you consider the resort pictured above (and beneath) solely price us $100 CDN per evening?

Throughout our time in Panama Metropolis, we stayed at 3 completely different resorts. 

  1. Marriott Govt Flats Finisterre – we like this property as a result of it has 1-bedroom condominium fashion rooms. It has a restaurant, rooftop pool and it’s positioned inside strolling distance to Cinta Costera, Iglesia del Carmen Cathedral and loads of restaurant choices.
  2. Residence Inn by Marriott Panama Metropolis – this can be a new property that’s linked to a shopping mall. Rooms are fashionable, spacious and really good (see picture beneath). The rooftop pool has unbelievable views of the ocean and metropolis. It’s additionally priced very nicely – you get a whole lot of worth at this resort.
  3. Plaza Paitilla Inn Resort – this resort is cheap and centrally positioned on Cinta Costera. It’s an older resort, nonetheless we stayed in a newly renovated room. It has an outside pool and restaurant with good views of the town and ocean.  

After wandering the outdated streets of Casco Viejo, we might advocate staying on this neighbourhood. We didn’t keep at a resort in Casco Veijo this time, however we’ll once we return to Panama Metropolis sooner or later. 

Inside the hotel room at Residence Inn by Marriott Panama City

Above is our room on the Residence Inn by Marriott Panama Metropolis. 

How you can get round Panama Metropolis

In case you plan to make use of a taxi, it’s safer to rent the taxi out of your resort, as a substitute of flagging a random taxi on the road. Costs will range relying on the place you’re staying.

We want to make use of Uber for transportation round Panama Metropolis. It really works nice and removes language limitations. You don’t must obtain a unique Uber app. The app you employ in Canada or the US works high quality in Panama Metropolis.

By utilizing the Uber app, you keep away from giving unhealthy instructions or having points explaining the place you need to go. You additionally don’t have to fret about exchanging cash, so it removes the concern of getting ripped off by an opportunistic taxi driver. We felt a lot safer taking an Uber in Panama Metropolis.

Catholic church Our Lady of Carmen also known as Iglesia Nuestra Senora del Carmen in Panama City Panama

Above it the ornate Catholic church Our Girl of Carmen, also referred to as Iglesia Nuestra Senora del Carmen. In case you like visiting cathedrals, add this one to the record. It’s one of the crucial stunning church buildings in Panama Metropolis. 

Big Foot statue at JW Marriott Hotel Panama City Panama

This large ‘Huge Foot’ statue is positioned within the foyer of the luxurious JW Marriott Panama, close to the Trump Worldwide Resort and Tower Panama.

Learn extra weblog posts from our journey to Panama:

Have you ever visited Panama Metropolis Panama? 

Share your Panama Metropolis journey suggestions beneath. Our readers thanks!

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