We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Safety and cruise feedback

Burleigh Heads...
Level Contributor
82 posts
144 reviews
66 helpful votes
Safety and cruise feedback

Hi everyone

We are looking at coming to Panama City from Australia April 2018, main reason is to do a 6 night Cruise with Panama Marine Adventures Southbound Journey, a prize I won from work. Has anyone done this, can you please provide feedback on must items to pack that we may not think of. Where is the safest areas to stay, do you have a 4 or 5 star hotel recommendation? Our government warning site says we should not walk alone at night.

thanks in advance.

Panama City, Panama
Level Contributor
2,018 posts
27 reviews
35 helpful votes
1. Re: Safety and cruise feedback

To be honest, there aren't a lot of places for pedestrians in Panama City, so I wouldn't recommend you to walk around even during the day, and it's because of security...

There are a few neighborhoods where there are restaurants, bars and hotels within walking distance, like El Cangrejo, Marbella, and Casco Viejo. I don't recommend walking OUT of Casco Viejo by night, because there are a few bad neighborhoods around it, but during the day, it's fine.

Burleigh Heads...
Level Contributor
82 posts
144 reviews
66 helpful votes
2. Re: Safety and cruise feedback

Thank you for your feedback

Panama City, Panama
Level Contributor
23,256 posts
28 reviews
12 helpful votes
3. Re: Safety and cruise feedback

I don't think that Panama City is too bad for walking. As El C says El Cangrejo is fine even in the evenings. It also has the metro and lots of taxis.

Panama City, Panama
Level Contributor
2,018 posts
27 reviews
35 helpful votes
4. Re: Safety and cruise feedback

Oh, I spotted a typo. It should have read "I wouldn't recommend you to walk around even during the day, and it's NOT because of security..."

There are a few neighborhoods OK for walking, but it's not a city that has been designed with pedestrians in mind. You have to take cars everywhere, even to buy bread for your breakfast on a Sunday morning.

Burleigh Heads...
Level Contributor
82 posts
144 reviews
66 helpful votes
5. Re: Safety and cruise feedback

Thank you I think we will stay at Playa Bonita first, do the cruise and head back to the States,

Atlanta, Georgia...
Destination Expert
for Colon, Isla Grande, Portobelo
Level Contributor
6,560 posts
27 reviews
44 helpful votes
6. Re: Safety and cruise feedback

You might want to rethink your decision to stay at Playa Bonita, and for a number of reasons. First, you can't swim in the ocean. That's due to two things; pollution and an abundance of sting rays. Second, it's not a safe area. In fact, the guards on the properties try to prevent guests from walking off the resorts. In addition, there are no other restaurants than those at the hotels, and there have been seriously mixed reviews on them. Next, consider visiting other areas, like Miraflores, Casco Viejo, Amador, etc., and various restaurants in the city. You'll have to cross over the Bridge of the Americas to get there and to get back. With the construction going on, that means heavy traffic -- at the least. It has taken some as long as two hours to get across due to lane closures. On top of everything else, you will pay a premium in taxi fares to get there and to get out of there. While the taxi fare from Tocumen to central Panama City (El Cangrejo) is $30, it's $45 to Playa Bonita. The taxis will charge you higher rates just because they know you have no other choice if you want to get off the grounds.

Burleigh Heads...
Level Contributor
82 posts
144 reviews
66 helpful votes
7. Re: Safety and cruise feedback

Thank you so much

I gave just been advised the cruise we are on only picks up from the city , now looking at hard rock hotel

Atlanta, Georgia...
Destination Expert
for Colon, Isla Grande, Portobelo
Level Contributor
6,560 posts
27 reviews
44 helpful votes
8. Re: Safety and cruise feedback

The Hard Rock is great if you want to pretend you're not in Panama. You can't walk anywhere from there, and there are very few restaurants, other than Hooters and other American chains nearby.

Take a look at Toscana Inn and Hotel Milan. They are moderately priced hotels in the central area, and there are lots of good restaurants within walking distance. The neighborhood is safe to walk around, day and night.

If you want more luxury, look at the Bristol and Intercontinental Miramar. Again, safe areas, easy to walk around. Lots of good restaurants in the area.

Edited: 9:43 pm, April 03, 2017
1 post
9. Re: Safety and cruise feedback

We just returned from a fabulous week in Panama City and Bocas deal Toro (thanks to many experts on this forum. Especially gb_ and el_c for all the helpful info!). In the city we stayed at the Sortis and while I suspect it is not as fancy as the Bristol, it's a pretty solid four star. Fair number of decent cafes and delis nearby for breakfast and coffee etc. Not many dinner places nearby (other than the in-hotel restaurants which are not bad but obviously over-priced). A few nice places within a ten minute walk though, including the Siete Mares on the other side of via Espana.

Burleigh Heads...
Level Contributor
82 posts
144 reviews
66 helpful votes
10. Re: Safety and cruise feedback

Thank you all for your responses, we are also looking at Sortis, Bristol, Sheraton and Intercontinental.