Panama City The capital of the Republic of Panama and a port located on the Pacific Ocean in Central America. Called "The Americas". The original word 'panama' meant 'the abundance of fish'. The city is best known for its proximity to the Panama Canal.
Founded in 1519 by conquistador Pedro Arias de Avila, it was a stopover for one of the most important trade routes in history on the American continent; this is where the gold and silver that Spain had from America passed.
In 1671, Panama City was destroyed by the fire that the pirate Henry Morgan caused. Officially, it is assumed that two years later, the city was rebuilt. The current agglomeration is located about 8 km from the original place, which until today is in ruins and is a big tourist attraction known as Panama Viejo.
The city is surrounded by a tropical forest. It has a characteristic panorama of numerous, tall buildings. The airport is the largest and busiest in Central America. It is also a national administrative and political center and an important international center for banking and commerce.
On the one hand, Panama is surrounded by the waters of the ocean, and on the other, the tropical forests of the Parque Natura Metropolitano park, which should be on the list of places worth seeing here. Persons interested in marine creatures and ecology should visit the Marine Exhibition Center research center. On the western side of the canal, visit Parque Nacional Soberania, which includes botanical gardens and a zoo. The attraction of this place is also a trail called Pipeline Road, from which birds admirers have the opportunity to observe them.
The biggest attraction, however, is Casco Viejo. In the old town of Panama, we find many architectural styles; from Spanish colonial buildings, through French and anti-German tenements that were built during the construction of the famous Panama Canal, to towering skyscrapers forming a dense network of buildings against the sky.
International Living Magazine has chosen this city as one of the five world best places to retire.
Main Attractions in Panama city
You can start by visiting the world famous Panama Canal. The Panama Canal - a waterway that facilitates shipping by significantly reducing the time and cost of vessel travel, is a water connection between two oceans, and thanks to it, Panama is one of the most prosperous countries in Central America. The canal, more than 80 kilometers long, apart from the main function of transport and trade, is itself the biggest tourist attraction of the country. Water to the canal is drawn from the largest lake of Panama - Lake Gatun. At one of the locks Miraflores
is the center of tourism (Centro de Visitantes de Miraflores
), it is the perfect place from which you will observe the process of crossing ships by level difference (16.5 meters) by opening and closing the dam and filling the chamber water (100 million liters in about 10 minutes). Here, on a special observation platform, you will see huge locomotives dragging gigantic ships through the waters of the channel, and the individual stages are discussed by the announcer. It is also worth visiting the Museum of the Panama Canal (Address: Plaza de la Independencia, Calle 5a Este, Panamá, Panama).
Traveling halfway around the world, do not hesitate to take a boat cruise along the Panama Canal surrounded by Panamaxes (giant ships), jungle and tropical nature.
Rail travel along the Panama Canal Railroad This is another item next to which you can not pass by indifferently. The train along the canal, in addition to the standard trainsets, runs a tourist train in an original style. The diesel locomotive pulls wagons with panoramic windows, the journey takes about an hour.
The capital of Panama (Ciudad de Panamá) - Modernity and tradition In the capital of Panama, we will meet both a district with tall skyscrapers, skyscrapers, shopping malls (Multicentro Mall, MetroMall), as well as famous, with deep tradition and history, buildings in Casco Viejo and Panama Viejo. The historic part of the city of Panama creates an amazing contrast with modern districts.
Thanks to low taxes and a huge amount of goods flow, their prices are low. It is also worth taking a trip along the Cinta Costera, several kilometers long promenade. The route connects the modern part of the city with skyscrapers with colonial-era neighborhoods.
In Panama Viejo are preserved ruins of the town hall, the cathedral with a 30-meter tower, the ruins of the church St. John of God, Dominican monastery.
Casco Viejo (also Casco Antiguo), which is a historical and historic part of Panama, is located in Casco Viejo (less than 10 km): La Catedral Metropolitana, El Palacio de las Garzas - seat of the President of Panama, historic plazas (Palacio Municipal, Palacio Nacional, Plaza Bolívar), National Theater , Museum of the Panama Canal. Panama Viejo and Casco Viejo belong to the UNESCO World Heritage sites It is worth visiting the steep, rain-covered Cerro Ancón hill (Ancon Hill) with a height of 199 meters. From this place you can enjoy a beautiful panorama of the city and the Panama Canal.
In Panama City you can enjoy the skyline, shopping malls, restaurants and exciting nightlife. Take a walk on the Cinta Costera (Coastal Beltway) in Balboa right in the middle of the metropolis or go to a slightly calmer place, the Causeway in Amador to enjoy the sea breeze while riding a bike or walking right next to the Canal waters. The best place to take postcard perfect photos of the city is from the Causeway and here you can also see the Bridge of the Americas which is a very popular national landmark.
If you like to party
, don’t worry. Panama City offers a very active night life
. You can go to the Vegas style casinos where drinking is free when gambling as little as 5 cents on the slot machines. You can also go to the bars and night clubs in three main areas: Calle Uruguay in the city center, Casco Antiguo or Zona de la Rumba in the Causeway in Amador, only 15 minutes from the center.
Ecotourism and Beaches
If you are more into Ecotourism you can enjoy it in Panama province. Go to the Metropolitan National park
for a walk in a rainforest located in the city. Here you can enjoy diversity of trees, flowers and even a nice city view. You can also visit Soberania National Park
for hiking and encounters with wildlife, mainly monkeys and birds but you can spot the occasional snake as well. If you don’t feel like walking or hiking then Gamboa rainforest is for you. There you can enjoy a cable car ride through a virgin rainforest and come across beautiful flowers, plants and trees maybe being lucky enough to spot birds, monkeys or even a sloth in their natural habitat. You can also enjoy the Monkey Island tour from Gamboa to Gatun Lake, one of the biggest artificial lakes in the world. Here the highlight of your trip will be when you encounter capuchins and howling monkeys on their favorite islands but keep your hands inside the boat as you might also spot some alligators.
What about beaches
? – The closest one on the Pacific side is Veracruz. Right next to the Panama canal waters, however we wouldn’t recommend it for swimming. Instead you can go there to enjoy quiet little town restaurants on the shore with delicious seafood. If you want to swim and soak up the sun on the beaches you can take a boat trip to Taboga Island
or flight to Contadora
(in Pearl Islands). If you are driving, just 1 hour from the city, but still within Panama province limits, you can reach many beautiful beaches, Gorgona, Coronado, Corona , Chame, San Carlos, El Palmar
, Rio Mar
Bridges in Panama
The Americas Bridge (Spanish: Puente de las Américas) - a road bridge from 1962, located at the entrance to the Panama Canal from the Pacific Ocean in Balboa, is 61 meters high and connects both continents North America and South America The Centennial Bridge (Spanish: Puente Centenario) - a two-span road bridge along the Pan-American Highway in Panama. The height of the bridge is 80 meters, and the span of 420 meters. It is in use from 2004.
All and all, you can get pretty much everything in this province and we know you will love it. We are looking forward to your visit!