Unless you’re a keen urbanite, Panama City would most likely just be your gateway entry onto the country’s other destinations.
However, for those keen on exploring and getting to know one of the oldest cities in Latin America; how it has weathered and grown under its tropical climes to become Central America’s most cosmopolitan and multicultural city, then right this way.
The city now boasts a good collection of boutique to luxury business hotels, and the dilapidated charm and new buzz of the UNESCO-awarded Casco Viejo (historic quarter) has the same heady vibe at Havana. Plenty of bars, raucous salsa clubs, and refined restaurants specialising in Peruvian to Indian cuisines all gather to make Panama City a hard place to beat for fun after dark. During the day, one of our expert local guides can take you around Panama Viejo, the original site of the city, sacked by the pirate Henry Morgan, or to the Panama Canal to watch the ships pass the Miraflores Locks. Shopping opportunities abound too, from the Centro de Artesanias in Balboa to the sky-high shopping malls of the shiny, new Punta Paitilla.
When to go
Panama is separated with two major seasons, the wet and dry. The dry season, between December and May is perfect for those visiting the pacific coast. The shoulder months of April and September through to November are very mild, yet rains are still common. The wet season, between May and August isn't recommended to visit.
What to do
- See the Panama Canal from the Miraflores Locks
- Private guided tours of Casco Viejo and Panama Viejo
- Shopping its malls or artisan stores