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Where to stay in the City

chicago, Illinois
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Where to stay in the City

We will spend 3 nights on the front end of our trip to Panama in tPanama City and wish to see the canal, adjacent rain forests.

We will spend 2 nights on the return and are thinking of Casco Viejo for the return to enjoy the ambience of that neighborhood.

Any suggestions for the the first three days for access to the "tourist" activites. We prefer charm, boutique hotels rather that mega, high rise chains.

Thaks again!

Atlanta, Georgia...
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for Colon, Isla Grande, Portobelo
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1. Re: Where to stay in the City

If you want to be downtown, in the center of the city, try the Bristol. It's a very nice, upscale.hotel that doesn't have the appearance of a chain.

If you're looking for charm, then I would recommend the B&B La Estancia in Ancon. It's close to the Canal, in a nice, quiet area and certainly charming.

I strongly recommend that you research staying in Casco Viejo. Yes, it's historic and looks charming. Yes, it has some nice restaurants. But, with the exception of a few blocks around the square and the restaurants on the point, it is not a safe area to walk around, even in daylight. Look at the State Department postings on crime and safety in Panama. The "El Chorillo" referred to in the posting is right next to Casco Viejo. It's probably the worst slum in the city. Casco Viejo itself has some very bad streets. When you go to and from Casco Viejo, make sure you're in a taxi.

CDY
Medellin, Colombia
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2. Re: Where to stay in the City

Casco Viejo during the day has a strong police presense, at night also but it is easy to get turned around and a little lost - the streets are very narrow tough to get your bearings sometimes - and you can quickly go down the wrong street and end up in a tougher area - although it would be a bit of a walk to Chorilo. I have a friend - an older gringo who lived there for 3 years without a problem, but he knew his way around and spoke Spanish.

. Also taxis want to hike their fares on you going and coming at night in Casco.

The Bristol is nice but close to $300/night - plus there is a 20 story project going on next door so there will be construction noise.

The Milan, Torres de Albla, Touscan Inn, are all well located and much cheaper - check the reviews in the hotel section, the B&B's are located a little further out - you will need a taxi to get anywhere but it will be quieter.

Atlanta, Georgia...
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for Colon, Isla Grande, Portobelo
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3. Re: Where to stay in the City

Yes, there is a strong police presence in Casco Viejo. For two reasons: one, it's where the Presidencia is; Panama's White House. And, two, it's needed throughout the rest of the area because of crime. Once, I wanted to see the Golden Altar in La Iglesia de San José after leaving the Panama Canal Musem on the square. It's only a block and a half away. So, my wife and I walked. The nature of the area immediately changed when we walked around the corner from the musem. And, on the way back from the church, we were met by two policemen who told us we shouldn't be walking these two blocks, not even during the day.

From personal experience, I know how easy it is to be going through Casco Viejo one moment and find yourself in the El Chorillo the next. They are next to each other, and if you happen to turn the wrong way on your way to Balboa or Amador, it's easy to end up where you don't want to be.

Don't get me wrong. Casco Viejo is charming and I love the restaurants and clubs there. There's no reason you shouldn't enjoy them, too. But, my advice is stay somewhere else.

As for the Bristol ... if you want boutique, it certainly is. And, I seriously doubt the construction will go on past 4 pm. For that matter, there is construction going on all over the city. If you want to get away from it, consider La Estancia.

CDY
Medellin, Colombia
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4. Re: Where to stay in the City

"seriously doubt the constrution goes no past 4pm" - I would not bet on it plus it generally starts at 7am - yes construction goes on throughout Panama City - it is a matter if you want to spend $300/night and be next to a constrution site.

5. Re: Where to stay in the City

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Orlando, Florida
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6. Re: Where to stay in the City

The B&B's near Ancon Hill area are all good options to the city if peace and quiet nights are more important to you than convenience to clubs/restaurants. Balboa Inn would get my vote over La Estancia but both are really good basis B&B's. Don't look for HD TV (or any TV for that matter) in the rooms and don't look for spacious rooms. They are nice, safe, pleasant staff, good breakfast, helpful B&B's.

City hotels, by and large, are all noisy. Remember you are in a hectic paced, horn honk fanatical, vibrant, busy city that quiets down about 1am or so. Soundproofing does not exist. So many decent hotels for well under $100....not certain why one would pay $300 a night in PC, period.

taxi's are pretty inexpensive (unless you let them rip you off. Check prices BEFORE you get in) and nothing is really THAT far away.

Don't lodge in CV. Take head as posts indicate and be cautious wandering the streets. Same in most cities around the world it seems.

Boquete, Panama
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7. Re: Where to stay in the City

La Estancia, The Balboa Inn, and The Milan are not, by any stretch, boutique hotels. I have stayed at all three and, while they have their good points, they are neither boutique nor charming. If you're worried about noise at The Bristol, I suggest the Hotel DeVille. It is both charming and boutique and has comfortable beds and is convenient. La Estancia and The Balboa Inn are not convenient to downtown. Moreover, the beds and the lighting at the Balboa and the Milan (I can't remember about La Estancia) are horrible--no box springs. If you are " high-end" travelers you will not be happy with any of the three. Go with The Bristol or The Hotel DeVille. For the record, I have no business interests whatsoever in Panama; I am retired here.

CDY
Medellin, Colombia
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for Medellin
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8. Re: Where to stay in the City

What the original poster fails to mention is their price range, difficult to give good recommendations without knowing budget - if it is $200-300 night then - Bristol, Deville, Marriott, Meridian come into play but if it is under $100 then the B&B's may be a better choice.

Not picking on you amktravel - most posters don't mention their budget at first.

Balboa, Panama
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9. Re: Where to stay in the City

For the record: La Estancia and The Balboa Inn don't claim to be boutique hotels nor high-end.

But they both deliver a lot more value versus the $ 200-300 hotels in the city and better service.

If you have a lot of business to do downtown and you prefer the noisy street scenes, don't go to these B&B's. It's way too quiet there and you'll be bored with the sounds of lots of birds.

As to being charming, I recommend you check the reviews of both B&B's and draw your own conclusions.

And finally, I don't know about the Estancia either but the Balboa Inn has Swedish matrasses with pocket springs. Again, check the reviews about how 'bad' those are.

Houston
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58 posts
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10. Re: Where to stay in the City

My newest favorite is Toscana In in El Cangrejo which is centrally located for tourist activities and also has some great neighborhood restaurants within walking distance.

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