Things to do in Panama City Panama
If you’re looking for some fun, interesting and cheap things to do in Panama City and you only have a couple of days then check out my 2-day itinerary. This was the last country I visited on my 1 month trip through Central America, starting in Guatemala and working my way down through El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and then finally Panama. After all this traveling I was honestly super tired and ready to hear home, but not before I explored the wonderful capital city of Panama.
Bienvenidos A Panama
One thing I want to bring to your attention if you’re planning on doing a similar trip is that the further south you go, the more expensive things get. This is especially true in Costa Rica and Panama. The Panamas exchange rate is actually literally dollar for dollar with the United States. Although the Panamanian Balboa is their “official” currency, the US Dollar is more widely used and accepted.
The Balboa has always been tied to the USD which is why one dollar is equivalent to one Balboa, and since they no longer print their own paper money, the American dollar is the dominant legal tender. Don’t be surprised when you get change back in Panamanian coins ranging from 1,5, 10, 25 and even 5o cent pieces.
Panama City’s hippest neighborhood is also its smallest and is known as Casco Viejo aka the Old Quarter. This historic area is just four avenues wide and is a Unesco-protected district and a barrio on the up and up.
The capital of Panama is a modern city framed by the Pacific Ocean and renowned for its man-made Panama Canal. If there’s only one thing you have time to do other than visiting the canal, I highly recommend exploring the cobblestoned historic center of Casco with its famous colonial-era landmarks and neoclassical Palacio Presidencial and plazas lined with cafes and bars.
Although Panama was more expensive than all the other countries I visited on this trip, it was also the cleanest, safest and most modern. With its impressive skyscrapers, casinos, and nightclubs its a stark contrast with colonial buildings in the Casco Viejo district.
It wasn’t long ago that gangs patrolled these narrow brick streets and visitors kept far away, but these days the grand old colonial houses and crumbling pastel facades have become some of the capital’s most stylish addresses.
The Panama Canal
Panama is a country on the isthmus linking Central and South America. The Panama Canal, a famous feat of human engineering, cuts through its center, linking the Atlantic and Pacific oceans to create an essential shipping route.
The Miraflores Locks offers views of ships traversing the canal, an essential shipping route linking the Atlantic and Pacific. The Panama Canal is an artificial 82 km waterway in Panama that connects the Atlantic Ocean with the Pacific Ocean. The canal cuts across the Isthmus of Panama and is a conduit for maritime trade. The canal construction was started in 1881 but was taken over by the United States in 1904 and was completed in 1914.
I was fortunate enough to make friends with an incredibly kind and sweet local Panamanian guy named Freddi Pitty who contacted me on couchsuring.com and offered to show me around. One of the coolest places he showed me was Selina Casco Viejo, which was one of the fanciest hostels I’ve ever seen!
Selina Casco Viejo’s was an all-in-one space featuring a rooftop terrace with an outdoor pool, spacious coworking environment, movie room, yoga space, library, and two Latin American restaurants including a prized taco bar! These photos were taken from their rooftop bar which provides an amazing view of the Panama City Skyline.
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