What is there to do in Panama City?
Visit the indigenous island of San Blas! This island offers some of the clearest water which can be reachable by boat or plane! Traveling to San Blas is a whole day trip so expect to dedicate a full day here. Due to the pandemic this island is closed till further notice.
Take a plane ride to Bocas del Toro Province for some of the clearest waters!
Tour the Embera Village to dive into the indigenous cultures of the Chagres River & the Embera tribe.
Visit the rainforest in Panama or go to monkey island to live on the wild side!
Visit the history of the Panama Canal.
Visit the old city of Casco Viejo! It’s popular for dining & nightlife scene!
Take day trip to Pearl Islands. You'll have to take a ferry to get here but the waters are so clear, its worth the trip!
Visit Panamá Viejo a historical heritage site with a museum.
Visit Causeway Islands. Here you'll find the tourist Panama sign to take pictures with. Many locals also ride bicycles around marina to enjoy the scenic views. I highly recommend renting a bike and enjoy Causeway Islands.
Divercity- A theme Park.
Visit the Santa Ana market- Here you can find local handicrafts at local prices – way better than the fancier tourist boutiques in town.
If you visit the Gulf of Chiriqui between July and October you’ll have the chance to spot the humpback whales that have come from both the north and south poles to give birth!
The best beaches are going to be further away from the city
Pipas Beach -1 hour 40mins away Is my top favorite with a restaurant on the beach!
Coronado Beach - 1 hour 40 mins away is another top favorite.
Punta Chame -1 hour away
Isa Grande- 2 hours away. You will first have to drive to a ferry to reach Isa Grande!
Playa Blanca- 1 hour 40mins away
Where to stay in Panama City?
Casco Viejo – The Old Quarter
If you're looking to be immersed in Panamanian history and culture, stay in Casco Viejo. We stayed in this neighborhood, and fell in love with the area! Everything you need is located here! There are plenty of bars, shops, nightlife, & restaurants. Casco Viejo, is also known as Casco Antiguo, is not to be confused with old Panama City, which in Spanish is called “Panama la Vieja” or “Panama Viejo.” You can find affordable accommodation here.
Bella Vista has many high-rises & luxury condominium towers that you see in the skyline postcards and travel brochures of Panama. Accommodation here can get a little costly but if you're looking for a view to wake up to, this is where you want to be. You'll also be around many shops, casinos, public transportation & restaurants.
Marbella area is one of the most luxurious areas in Panama City. Here you'll find high-end shopping, international banks, fashion boutiques, luxury restaurants, lavish condo towers, and spectacular hotels. Marbella area is similar to the South Beach Miami! Expect to spend some cash if you do decide to stay here!
Costa del Este
Costa del Este is one of the best places to stay in Panama City. The area is very trending and a vibe! You might even spot celebrities because they may own high-rise condos with panoramic views of the skyline and the Pacific Ocean. There are no hostels in Costa del Este & the accommodations are costly.
Tocumen Airport Area
Tocumen is a great area to stay in if you're trying to stay close to the airport. You would think the area is cheap to stay in but in fact, the area is a mix of luxury resorts, budget inns, boutique hotels, and long-term apartments. Casco Viejo is located about 30 minutes away from this area.
Where I stayed in Panama?
During our stay, we stayed in an Airbnb in the area of old city of Casco Viejo. I loved the place we stayed in and it was conveniently located! I highly recommend this area for your stay!
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How to get to your destination from the airport?
is a safe and more affordable way to navigate the city. Uber in Panama accepts cash or PayPal through debit/credit card. The ride is about a 20-30 minute drive to the center city depend where you plan to stay. An Uber ride cost about $15-25USD.
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Taxis from the airport will take you to the center city for $30USD. The ride is about a 15-30 minute drive to the center city depend where you plan to stay.
For $9USD per person you can take a shuttle that will drop you off to the many hostels in Panama. You don't have to stay at a hostel to ride the shuttle but you want to check the closes stop where you'll be staying.
If you want to save money & you have time, take a bus ride for $1.25USD. You can purchase a ticket at the airport.
How to get around Panama City?
is a safe and more affordable way to navigate the city. Uber in Panama accepts cash or PayPal through debit/credit card.
New with Uber? Sign up and use my code for a discount(link):jessica43008ui
Rent a car
You can rent a car in the city, but its not an ideal way to explore the city. Traffic can get heavy in the city, and finding a safe spot to park is a pain! If you rent a car, you will have the independence to move around when you chose if you plan to leave the city.
Riding the bus is one of the main ways that Panamanians and many travelers use to get around. Buses normally run dawn to dust and only night buses for longer turks. A bus ticket normally cost about $2USD.
Taxis don't run by meters but but popular routes normally have a fixed price. Before getting in make sure you negotiate a price to pay. Taxis are an efficient way to get around and cheap. A taxi around the city can cost you $3USD.
Diablo Rojos(Red Devils)
Are the private collective buses transports in Panama. They're old American school buses transformed into crazy looking coletivos, famous for its bright colors. You can normally just flag one of these buses down on the street and hop on.
Panama Canal Railway is Panamas only rail line. The. line runs between Corozal (just outside downtown Panama City) and Colon. The train is mostly used by commuters but a tourist hot spot to ride a vintage train.
When to travel to Panama City?
You can visit Panama City throughout the whole year to experience the 85F temperatures in this tropical country. Normally, the best time to visit Panama is between January and mid-April. This is the driest time of the year to visit! The rainy season is considered May to November.
We traveled to Panama around Christmas time during December! This month is considered a rainy month as well but we only experienced a short shower one of the days we visited! Other then that we had amazing weather and stayed by the pool most of the time!
Where to eat in Panama City?
Keenes Ice Creams -For the best ice cream
Restaurante Feelings - For the best authentic Panamanian food.
Diablicos - For the best authentic Panamanian food.
Restaurante Tinajas for dinner & a show.
Best rooftops with views.
What language is spoken in Panama City?
English & Spanish.
The US Dollars & Panamanian Balboa can be used in Panama. The rate of exchange for the balboa has always been tied to the US dollar—one dollar equals one Balboa. This means you won't need to change your dollars to balboa because throughout the whole Panama you can use dollars since they are equivalent to each other.
Learn basic Spanish.
Buenos días — Good morning
Buenas tardes — Good afternoon
Buenas noches — Good evening / Good night
¿Cómo estás? — How are you? (informal)
Muy bien — Very well
Mi nombre es — My name is
¡Muchas gracias! — Thank you very much!
¡De nada! — You’re welcome! / No problem!
Por favor — Please (generally used at the end of a sentence)
¡Perdon! — Excuse me!
¡Disculpe! — Excuse me! (to apologize in advance for being a bit of a bother)
¡Lo siento! — Sorry! (to apologize for a mistake)
Things you should know when traveling to Panama City?
Panama City is the only capital in the world that has a tropical Jungle within its limits.
Just like any other major city around the world its expensive to visit.
Panama is biodiversity, from the mountains and forests to the oceans and mangroves.
Panama is home to 900 bird species.
The the iconic Panama hat that President Roosevelt made famous at the opening of the Panama Canal is actually from Ecuador.
Panama is famous for their coffee & chocolate! Make sure you try some before you leave!
Panama is wrapped around both the pacifier & Atlantic Ocean.
Is Panama City kid-friendly? Things to do with kids?
Before visiting Panama, I was told that Panamanians are some of the most friendly people to meet! After arriving this statement is nothing but facts! Panamanians show you some of the best hospitality. I felt super safe with my kids here & the Panamanians showed so much love towards us!
BioMuseo- Panama City’s most famous museum.
Rent a bike on the Amador Causeway- Its a thin strip of land connecting the city to the Amador Islands offering spectacular views of the city!
Visit Punta Culebra- Its a Tropical Research Institute where the kids can watch the exotic frogs of Panama exhibit, touch marine organisms such as sea stars, sea cucumbers and sea urchins, and walk through a tropical dry forest.
Release baby turtles in Combutal. If you plan to visit the Azuero Peninsula between July and January is hatching season for turtles.