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Last minute trip to Panama

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Miami, Florida
Level Contributor
189 posts
63 reviews
Last minute trip to Panama

Ive used miles to book a last minute trip to panama. I Arrive in Panama City tomorrow am at 11 and leave Tues at 230 pm. I want to see the standard tourist destinations like a partial cruise, rail tour, and visit to the miraflores lock. I love to snorkle but based on my initial research it doesn't seem to greatnear the city.

Can anyone recommend a hotels or an area that would be good for me? I was thinking the trump or sheraton. Budget is 200 per night.

If I take the rail tour should I stay in another city or just use a hotel in panama city as my base?

It just me and my wife so we are very flexible on activities. We saw something on tv where you walked up a hill, took an arial car, and the had a great view of the canal. Any ideas what that was?

Panama City, Panama
Level Contributor
10,282 posts
20 reviews
1. Re: Last minute trip to Panama

The Trump is a nice hotel, but it is stuck out on an artificial point, with only two roads on or off, and both routes tend to get clogged with traffic.

The main Sheraton in Via Israel is too far east for you. The Sheraton in Bella vista (I think) is more central.

The rail tour only runs weekdays, I understand - www.panarail.com/en/passenger/index-01.html

Transits aren't every day, either.

Edited: 11:20 pm, January 18, 2013
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Level Contributor
1,700 posts
5 reviews
2. Re: Last minute trip to Panama

To get a little culture you should stay at the Tantalo in the Casco Viejo. It's an artsy hotel with cool roof top bar with great views of the old town.

Panama City, Panama
Level Contributor
10,282 posts
20 reviews
3. Re: Last minute trip to Panama

I guess that you are already here. Let us know how you get on.

Panama City, Panama
Level Contributor
5,784 posts
77 reviews
4. Re: Last minute trip to Panama

No need to spend $200 a night in Panama City. There are a number of places to stay, very nice places with good reviews, that are much less than that.

I think the Hard Rock Hotel would be fun...

I think the aerial tram car is at Gamboa Rainforest Resort.

Miami, Florida
Level Contributor
189 posts
63 reviews
5. Re: Last minute trip to Panama

In Panama but looks like the partial crossing is only done a few days per month. Today would have worked but we landed to late.

Any other ideas to take for a boat/cruise through the canal?

We were thinking about taking the train tomorrow but it looks like the free zone is closed on Sunday so maybe we will try Miraflores tomorrow and the train on Monday.

Panama City, Panama
Level Contributor
10,282 posts
20 reviews
6. Re: Last minute trip to Panama

Welcome - where are you staying ?

There are several companies which do partial transits of the canal - though I am not sure which days. I don't think they run Mondays though - not sure about Sundays.

I didn't think that the train ran on Sundays. Why do you want to go to the free zone ? I don't think there is much for tourists there. From Colon I assumed you could either go to Portabelo, Gatun, or one of the forts near there.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Level Contributor
1,700 posts
5 reviews
7. Re: Last minute trip to Panama

If you want a little tropical island vibe you can take a day trip to Taboga.

Miami, Florida
Level Contributor
189 posts
63 reviews
8. Re: Last minute trip to Panama

I've booked my first night at the Trump hotel. Its nice but feels more like a condo/hotel (which it is) then a true luxury resort. The pool is nice but cold so I wouldnt recommend swimming.

We went over by the Hard Rock - casino and mall area, but are thinking about staying here since its quieter. I don't mind the 5 minute taxi to get some food.

I thought there was a US military base by the canal. Is that something I can tour tomorrow while on my way to Miraflores?

beardocubauk - Any recommendations on a tour company that may do a partial transit on Monday's? No idea what I would do in the free zone. The hotel conceige told me it was closed on Sunday's so I shouldnt go to Colon. I haven't done to much planning so I took him at his work.

Panama City, Panama
Level Contributor
10,282 posts
20 reviews
9. Re: Last minute trip to Panama

What's 5 minutes today and tomorrow could easily be 30 minutes on Monday. (I have seen the traffic solid from the lights on the corner to the roundabout and overpass near the Hard Rock. And in the other direction all round the Multiplaza Mall.)

I don't know of any US military base.

I only know about tour companies from what I have seen on the internet - but I am pretty sure they don't do partial transits at the start of the week.

As I said, I didn't think the railway ran at weekends anyway.

Other places around the city - the old quarter - Casco Viejo; the ruins of the original settlement Panama Viejo (those two are in opposite directions).

Edited: 12:16 am, January 20, 2013
Panama City, Panama
Level Contributor
10,282 posts
20 reviews
10. Re: Last minute trip to Panama

For things to do from Colon - see tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g294479-i1193-k591…

and see also tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g298428-i3611-k605…