Best things to do in Panamá City

In this article, I will show you ALL the best places to go in Panama City.You will discover the must see sites, best places to go for sightseeing, best places to go for nature, with families, and moreSo if you plan to travel to Cuba, you will love this new guide.So let’s begin
best things to do in panama city

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What to see in Panama City

What to see and do in Panama City or Panama City, may be one of your first questions when arriving in this Central American country.

Panama is much more than the city associated with the Panama Canal, money laundering and the famous Panama papers.

And although it is not your typical monumental city, you do have places to see in Panama City.

To also understand its older history, that of its foundation, and its more recent history, that of the Noriega dictatorship and how it impacted the country.

Well, on your trip to Panama, or if you make a stop in the city, know that there are places to see in Panama City.

Also enjoy the palate and its gastronomy.

During our 17 day trip around the country, we had three stops in the city.

The first one was a one day stop we had to make to wait for some friends who had their flight cancelled.

The second stop was a small planning error in our trip from Bocas del Toro to San Blas, and the last day before flying back.

Well, there are several places to see in Panama City, we tell you about them so you can take them into account during your visit.

Skyscraper in Punta Paitilla

Panama’s skyline doesn’t envy any other major city skyscrapers in the world.

Looking out over the Pacific, as ships wait to pass under the Bridge of the Americas, the skyscrapers seem to act as a beacon in the city.

Panama City Skyline from Punta Paitilla

And this skyline keeps growing.

You see dozens of cranes building more and more skyscrapers, both office and apartment.

The Panama Canal gives a lot of money to the country, and you see that in the capital.

Also the skyscraper areas are full of banks, and corporations.

We tried to find Mossack Fonseca’s office, but it seems that they have vanished from the face of Panama.

Another area of skyscrapers is the East Coast area, but I tell you one thing, perhaps the most interesting thing is not walking around in the skyscraper area.

It’s better to see them from the Casco Viejo or from the Cinta Costera, or the views from the highest floor of one of them.

In any case, the best thing about Panama City is not the skyscrapers, even if they are the most spectacular.

At least that’s my opinion.

Cinta Costera

The Cinta Costera is now a reclaimed area, a boardwalk where people walk, play sports, look at the Pacific.

Walk the just over three kilometers parallel to Balbao Avenue, from the skyscrapers, Punta Paitilla, to the Seafood Market and the Old Town.

What to see in Panama City

Panama City Coastal Belt

Trees, a statue of Nuñez de Balboa, who gives his name to the parallel avenue, the country’s currency, and the most popular beer, in addition to sports and recreational areas make this place a very popular place for Panamanians.

What to see in Panama City

Statue of Nuñez de Balboa on the Coastal Belt

It’s a very nice place, and I think it’s the best way to go to this two points, but there’s a lot more behind this place.

It’s a place with a lot of history, and unfortunately written in blood.

The Coastal Belt area today was an exclusion zone, that is, a single-use zone for Americans.

In 1958 a group of students carried out an action, called “Operation Flag Sowing”, which was nothing more or less than putting Panamanian flags where the American flags were.

A year later the same action was carried out again, but this time there was a violent repression by the United States army, leaving twenty-two students dead.

It was not until 1963 that the United States decided that the Panamanian flag, which had been prohibited until then, should be raised along with the American flag.

Now, that area of the Cinta Costera belongs to the Panamanians, after all, it should always have been theirs.

View of Casco Viejo from the Cinta Costera

I recommend you to do this walk, it is quiet, you can enjoy the view of the Pacific Ocean.

The quiet and pleasant atmosphere of the place.

And the further you go from Punta Paitilla, the more spectacular the skyline of Panama City looks.

Seafood Market

What to see in Panama City

Panama City Seafood Market

The Seafood Market is the place where you have to go to eat.

A strong recommendation.

This market has been reformed, where the fish is still being unloaded, but it has also incorporated food stands

You can see the fishing boats, and pelicans lurking around to get some loot.

There are dozens of food stands, and the food is exquisite.

You can’t leave without trying the ceviche, especially the octopus, patacones rellenos de chupe de marisco.

The latter is no less than the patacones (fried plantains) with seafood cooked in a typical tomato sauce.

Or also male fish and female fish.

Delicious, accompanied by a Balboa or Pacific beer.

You can also pay a visit to the fish market.

The truth is, it all looked really great.

I have to say, we had two meals here, really delicious.

Without a doubt, this Seafood Market is a must see in Panama City.

What to see in Panama City

Interior Seafood Market, Panama City

What to see in Panama City

Interior Seafood Market, Panama City

Casco Viejo (Old Town)

Casco Viejo starts very close to the Seafood Market.

Soon you will see the signs that tell you where to go.

Casco Viejo is a place that right now is in a state of reconstruction, filling with charming hotels, homes where the colonial buildings have been rehabilitated.

If there’s one thing I liked about the Casco Viejo, it’s the number of places there, it reminded me a little of Camagüey, in Cuba.

Squares like Simón Bolívar or Plaza de Francia.

In the first one is the Church of San Francisco de Asís and the National Theatre.

And in the Plaza de Francia, you can see a little bit of the history of the construction of the Panama Canal.

From the decision of the place where it was to be built, as well as the different French engineers, the calamities that caused the yellow fever disease.

And even a reminder to the thousands of people who died during the construction, both Panamanians and foreigners.

Walk through its streets and alleys and enjoy the constant presence of the ocean and the colonial color.

Casco Viejo is a must see in Panama City to get an idea of how the city was centuries ago, beyond the skyscrapers.

Old Panama

The Old Panama is the first settlement of the village, whose first name was Our Lady of the Assumption of Panama.

But because of its unstrategic location, if it were to avoid attacks, it meant a siege by the English pirate Henry Morgan and almost fifteen hundred pirates.

The more than fifteen thousand inhabitants of the city in 1670 had to abandon that settlement and flee to what is now the Casco Viejo.

The pirates razed and plundered everything that was put in front of them.

Today, a tower and archaeological remains remain.

It is located between Coco del Mar and Costa del Este.

Furthermore, it can be seen from the Corredor Sur or the Avenida del Cincuentenario.

We saw it from the taxi on our way to the airport.

I wouldn’t know if it’s worth going there either, since there’s only that, nothing else.

You can go there by taxi, taxi prices are low, so for a few dollars you will see the origin of the first European colonial city in the Pacific Ocean.

Ancon Hill

From Cerro Ancon, the highest point of the city, crowned by a huge Panama flag, are the best views of the city.

The road to Cerro Ancon is a little more than three kilometers that start at the resort of Mi Pueblito.

Mi Pueblito is a town of houses that aim to show the culture and customs of the three Panamanian cultures; indigenous, peasant and Afro-Antillean.

There are areas of Panama City that are not very safe, so it is better to take a taxi to get there.

Not only in Panama City do you have places to see, but by not going too far, on a day trip you can reach more places, such as the Panama Canal and the Metropolitan Natural Park

Panama Canal

This is a place we did not go to see, despite being the icon of the city, the most admired and proudest place of the Panamanians.

Every time some Panamanians asked us if we were going to go there, we said no.

I guess it has to be a spectacular place, even one of the places that engineering lovers would not stop visiting.

But we didn’t have much time, and we felt like getting to know more of Panama City.

In any case, it’s a visit that can take half a day.

Metropolitan Natural Park

Panama in general is quite jungle-like, and the surroundings of Panama City are like that too.

You can see it in the Metropolitan Natural Park.

It is the green lung of this city with quite intense traffic, especially on Balboa Avenue.

In this Metropolitan Natural Park you can see, besides a very diverse flora, fauna such as sloths, toucans, iguanas or marmoset monkeys.

In this Natural Park there are different routes and trails to do.

If you can’t wait to see nature in other places like Boquete or Bocas del Toro, the Metropolitan Natural Park is a very good option as a place to see in Panama City.

To get there, the best thing to do is go to the Albrook bus terminal, and from there take a taxi to the Parque Natural Metropolitano.

Map of places to see in Panama City

As you can see, there are many places to see in Panama City, and also, getting a little out of it, other places that are very worthwhile.

Accommodation in Panama City

Marbella

The Marbella neighborhood is one of the quietest in Panama City.

And this is where we stayed the first night, at The Executive Hotel.

The truth is that the place was quite good, we liked it a lot, especially the breakfast, and the welcome cocktail.

And best of all, we got it for less than 60 euros.

A queen size bed was waiting for us after a long flight across the pond.

If you want to see prices, availability and pictures of the place, you can check this link, The Executive Hotel.

You can see other alternatives in Accommodation in Marbella.

Cangrejo

The Cangrejo neighborhood is also one of the quietest in Panama City, and is located next to the Marbella neighborhood.

In this neighborhood we stayed in two different hotels, the first Ramada Panama Centro Via Argentina.

We didn’t like this hotel very much, rather little, and that’s why we didn’t repeat.

We didn’t have hot water, and for the price of the hotel there would have to be.

Besides, the attention we were given left a lot to be desired.

The truth is that this was the first time this has happened to us.

In any case, if you want to see photos, availability and price, we leave you this link with all the information, Ramada Panama Centro Via Argentina.

Also in the neighborhood of Cangrejo we stayed in another hotel that was really good, the Hotel Clarion Victoria, and quite well priced, the truth.

It also has a swimming pool on the ninth floor, we don’t use it, but well, if it’s hot, a dip is always appreciated.

If you want to know more about price, photos and availability, here is the link, Hotel Clarion Victoria.

Casco Viajo 

The Casco Viejo is also a popular place to stay, although at night you should take precautions.

You can take a look at the accommodation in the area at this link, Accommodation in the Casco Viejo.

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