"Panama City" Panamá City by skullcrusher
Panamá City Travel Guide: 490 reviews and 1,168 photos
I finally got around to visiting Panama City (after thinking about doing so for the past few years). Has the opportunity to stop here few days on my way back from Brazil so I jumped at the chance. From the standpoint of aesthetics Panama City is definitely the nicest looking Central American city I have had the pleasure of visiting. Unfortunately it is plagued with the typical cars & congestion that is prevailent throughout Latin America. I hear that they are planning to build a metro system .... that would be a very good thing. Thankfully taxis are plentiful and cheap. Panama City is especially good looking from afar, eg. seen from the ruins of Panama La Vieja or from atop Cerro Ancon.
The city has a pretty good nightlife scene and all the pretty little latinas running around sure help in that regard. Sadly, there aren't any good beaches located in the city but it's possible to take a boat trip out to nearby islands or ride to the other coast where there is a better source of "playas bonitas". I know that a lot of folks make a big deal about touring the Panama Canal - I personally have no interest in seeing such a thing (might a well spend half the day gawking at skyscrapers) but that's just my opinion.
I was surprised when passing through immigration I was given a health insurance card for health coverage for a solid month. I guess when they say break a leg they mean, "Break a leg. It's on us!" The weather here was better a tad hot, but still better than what I experienced while in Rio de Janeiro. Plus, it's nice to visit someplace different from time to time. Wouldn't mind spending some more time here in the future. Maybe next time I'll actually visit some places outside of the city!
Panama La Vieja is the very first place that I visited during my trip and I'd have to say it was my favorite destination. If you actually want to see the whole complex be prepared to walk quite a bit, or flag down available taxis. Climbing the stairs to the top of the old cathedral's tower will reward you with great views of new Panama City and all around. The museum has some cool displays in it also - though many of the displays are in Spanish only. "Que pena".
After the original Panama City was sacked and burned to the ground by pirates, another Panama CityInow known as Casco Viejo or San Felipe) was establshed in a different location abd this is where the current Panama City has developed from. This old part of the city is still around and people still live & work there. "Rustic" is the term that came to mind when I visited the place. There are some nice old buildings, plazas & the like. Definitely worth a visit if you want to kill an afternoon.
I had some time to kill on my last day in the city so I decided to catch a ride out to Mi Pueblito which is located at the base of Cerro Ancon (near the outskirts of the city). The Mi Pueblito complex is a recreation of a typical Panamanian town that can be found out in the countryside. Touristy & contrived pretty much sums up my impression of the place. It's OK, but IMO not worth taking a ride out to see. Even the souvenir stands were below par, but one nice thing about being out there is that the road to Mi Pueblito continues up to the top of the mountain where you can get more good views of Panama City and in the other direction you can see the former Canal Zone and the townsite of Balboa in the distance. You can even see parts of the Amador Causeway. To get to the top you can catch a ride, walk, bike, or whatever makes you happy. I preferred to walk but that's just my thing.
- Pros:Nice warm climate. City is easy to navigate. A lot of the comforts of home.
- Cons:Got some anti-gringo vibe from some folks, but nothing too bad.
- In a nutshell:Too pretty & safe to be a Central American City.
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