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In Panama City for 2 weeks any tips on what we should see?

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Coral Springs...
posts: 96
reviews: 37
In Panama City for 2 weeks any tips on what we should see?

We will be in Panama City for a couple of weeks. This is a business and pleasure trip. My husband will attend to some business, and we will have a few times to do things together. We are active and we love history, museums, the beach, snorkeling, and learning the culture. Any tips on where we should start? What are the good things to do in the capital? Are there any good beach near Panama City good for day trips? Snorkeling trips? Thanks for all your help.

Coral Springs...
posts: 96
reviews: 37
1. Re: In Panama City for 2 weeks any tips on what we should see?

By the way, we will there next week. How is the weather in Panama like?

posts: 324
reviews: 32
2. Re: In Panama City for 2 weeks any tips on what we should see?

Take a easy short flight from Panama City out to the Pearl Islands.

Try to get on one of the Barro Colorado Island tours . They are very hard to come by, but well worth it. Check the smithsonian web site for information.

Don't miss the Miraflores locks. Have the hotel call to find out when the boats are in transit through the locks.

Panama City, Panama
posts: 5,790
reviews: 80
3. Re: In Panama City for 2 weeks any tips on what we should see?

The weather will be much like yours (ours) in Florida next week.

Besides the locks, Casco Viejo (the old city) is great to walk around and eat in.

Look at the "Overview" page of this forum and there are several places I would suggest seeing, including of course, the Amador Causeway,

Metropolitan Park, The religious museum in Old Casco Viejo where in the pirate days they painted a gold altar black to keep it from being stolen by pirates. There are many wonderful religious icons in this museum and I love that neighborhood too for just sitting in the gazebo and people watching, etc.

Inside pages of this forum will also give you ideas also. We go back to Panama again this Sept. for almost a month and I cannot wait!

YOu will love it there. Have fun!

Coral Springs...
posts: 96
reviews: 37
4. Re: In Panama City for 2 weeks any tips on what we should see?

Thank you for all your help. We will keep in mind all of the activities that were mentioned here. Yes, we'd love to see the Miraflores locks and the Casco Viejo. We love history of places that we visit. We will arrive in Panama on Monday and will be there for 2 weeks.

Is there any snorkeling area close by Panama City, maybe a place that can reached by a private van or taxi? Any suggestions.

Salt Lake City, Utah
posts: 568
reviews: 14
5. Re: In Panama City for 2 weeks any tips on what we should see?

I would try Isla Grande for snorkeling, Caribbean coast, but doable as a day trip, better as overnight. Besides the many obvious suggestions, go one day to La Central (la peatonal) for a more authentic shopping experience (just be careful, try to blend in and don't take anything valuable). La Central is close to Casco Viejo, and also to the Fish Market (not a tourist spot, but has a restaurant).

Medellin, Colombia
Destination Expert
for Panama City
posts: 3,004
reviews: 65
6. Re: In Panama City for 2 weeks any tips on what we should see?

One small suggestion;

There is small outdoor aquarium on the Causeway, right behind a popular restaraunt , can't remember it's name(actually I think it is El Ranchito) but it is not a bad place to have lunch and then explore. The aquarium has a great overlook of the canal, I think it costs 2 bucks to get in.

One night head over to Via Argentia and take a walk down the street and pop into one of the many restaraunts for a drink & dinner.

If you would like to hear some local music, see if you can find out if Sammy & Sandra Sandoval are playing anywhere in PC, they play a local type of salsa. I have seen them twice at the Veneto Casino, they are very good and lively. Their crowds are pretty young but there are some old farts in the audience(like myself) enjoying the music.

Enjoy yourself, I believe PC is much safer than Miami, and the locals are much friendlier.

Coral Springs...
posts: 96
reviews: 37
7. Re: In Panama City for 2 weeks any tips on what we should see?

Thank you so much Tupapi and CDY for all your suggestions. Yes, we'd like to try to listen to authentic Panamanian music and watch a cultural show. We'll try that too.

Also, yes, of course, I've heard about the Isla Grande, so, we'll see if we could fit that in our schedule.

La Central shopping is that where we can buy authentic Panamanian baskets. I read about it and would like to check it out.

Thanks again for all your help....

Salt Lake City, Utah
posts: 568
reviews: 14
8. Re: In Panama City for 2 weeks any tips on what we should see?

You can probably find some crafts in La Central, but it's not the first place I'd try. There are craft markets at the Panama Viejo ruins and another one in Balboa (next to the YMCA, close to the Amador causeway). La Central is more of a shopping area for regular stuff for lower income Panamanians. It was the shopping spot for many years in Panama, but that has obviously changed with city growth and upscale malls. Even for lower income people, now most of them living in the suburbs, shopping takes place in shopping areas closer to their homes. Still, La Central, now open only to pedestrians, captures a lot of the old Panama. There is a small side street called "Salsipuedes" (get out if you can) where vendors are packed leaving barely enough space for pedestrians, where they sell mostly Polleras (traditional national dress for women) and all the adorments that go with it (it's very elaborate and Panamanians are very proud and serious about it). On one end of La Central is Plaza 5 de Mayo (date in honor of firemen lost in a terrible fire) and on the other end Plaza de Santa Ana ("santana"). , close to Casco Viejo.

San Francisco...
posts: 36
reviews: 15
9. Re: In Panama City for 2 weeks any tips on what we should see?

I would add a day trip up to El Valle de Anton. It is about an hour and a half drive up the Pan American Hwy and then inland. It is a beautiful extinct volcano crater that is lush with foliage, surrounded by mountains that were once the rim of the volcano. On Sunday there is a local market in the center of town, which is a fun event.

Although I liked the Miraflores Locks' view, I also liked the view from the Gatun Locks. When I was there in June/July the boats transited from the Pacific to the Atlantic at the Miraflores Locks in the morning (until about 11:30) and then the opposite direction in the afternoon. The pattern is reversed at the Gatun Locks. There is also a partial transit of the canal on Saturdays (and once a month there is a full transit).

Of course, you MUST cross the isthmus to the Caribbean side since it only takes about and hour and a half. Portobello is wonderfully historic. Skip Colon- dreadful place.

Get a guidebook that has all the details. I like the Bradt Guide to Panama and the Moon Handbook of Panama. Also, if you want a good background in the history of the construction of the Panama Canal and the history of the country, read David McCullough's book "The Path Between the Seas". At 700+ pages it is a bit daunting, but you don't have to read it all. It really put a good perspective on the difficulties encountered in the construction of the canal.

Since I was in Panama by myself I hired a local driver and car to take me sightseeing. He was very knowledgable and I was happy to let someone else do the driving. He cost $140 per day.

Sorry, I don't know about snorkeling as I didn't do that while I was there. Next trip.

Coral Springs...
posts: 96
reviews: 37
10. Re: In Panama City for 2 weeks any tips on what we should see?

Thank you Patsymom for all your detailed information. That's a big help. I've read about the El Valle de Anton, and I'll make sure me and my husband get a chance to see this extinct volcano. Plus maybe, check out the local handicraft market. That's for me LOL!

We'll do the Miraflores locks I think this is the best coz it's got the visitor's center.

Thanks again and all the best......