Top Attractions in Panama City
Top Attractions in Panama City
A hub in every sense of the word, Panama City is both a vibrant cosmopolitan and a base to tropical escapes. Cuddled in the Gulf of Panama along the Pacific coast, the city dates back to over five centuries and yet somehow is phenomenally modern. The industrial, financial and administrative artery of the country, the city certainly hasn't forgotten its roots and the biggest example lies in the ruins of Panama Viejo. There are many colors to this city, from different religions and diverse cultures to boulevards filled with roaring skyscrapers, architectural marvels, archaeological ruins and exuberant patches of tropical vegetation, Panama City has a fair share of everything. The most attractive capital of Central America, the cultural sweep takes in a blend of old Spain, modern American and a flair of the East. Here, you will find the restored Casco Viejo, a historic enclave which was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site and boasts off cobblestones streets, crumbled ruins and old architecture. Dubbed as ‘The Dubai of Latin America’, this multicultural city houses some of the best restaurants, cafes', shopping malls, clubs, museums and much more.
Walk through the streets of Casco Viejo, the city's oldest neighborhood and feel the historic breeze that surrounds it. Built in the year 1673 to replace the original city (that was destroyed by Henry Morgan), this World Heritage neighborhood displays some of the best-preserved examples of colonial architecture in the city. The area bustles with churches and plazas that pump life into it. Do not forget to stop by at a selection of shops, restaurants, and cafés for pleasant places to stop and grab a bite. Take a walking tour to truly experience the history hidden in here.
A visit to Panama Canal is mandatory when touring the town of Panama. A marvel of modern engineering, Panama Canal stretches for 48 miles and links the Pacific with the Atlantic Ocean via the Caribbean Sea. The construction was initiated in the year 1888 by the French, however, it was completed in the year 1914 by the United States. Ranking as one of the largest and most challenging projects of its kind, over 14,000 vessels pass through the canal's 3 gravity-powered locks each year. Adore the canal from both land and water; take partial-transit-cruises that are offered by many local tour operators.
Miraflores Visitor Center
An incredible combination of history and landscape, coupled with great dining options, Miraflores Visitor Center takes you through the history of Panama Canal and also focuses on the cultural heritage of the city. The museum is filled with relevant information both in English and Spanish talking about the past of the canal and the country through various photographs, objects and artefacts.
Under the museum’s brightly colored roof, step into a world of art and science highlighting the biodiversity of Panama. The museum is home to 8 exhibitions that educate you about the island's formation, its impact on the planet’s biodiversity, and the human history of the region. There are also audiovisual displays that will take you through Panama’s ecosystems. The exhibits highlight the fascinating aspects of the country's 3 million-year geological history. Wander around the adjacent park for a living extension of the museum's exhibits, with a selection of endemic and native plants within the diverse oasis.
Get ready to escape the bustle of the city on top of Ancon Hill that was once used by the US government to survey the Panama Canal and today boasts a lush, protected jungle, home to a diverse range of wildlife. Offering spectacular panoramas, hike your short way to the top for a perfect picnic and watch out for armadillos and sloths as you stroll around.
Bridge of the Americas
Drive across Bridge of the Americas that spans the Pacific entrance to the Panama Canal. Established and built by the United States in the year 1962, the bridge remains an important part of the Pan-American Highway. The bridge is only open to vehicles, hence you cannot wander around on foot. If you don't wish to drive to see at the structure, there is always an option to see it from the land or from a boat or a cruise ship.
Soberanía National Park
Take a perfect hike to the sounds of screaming monkeys through the tropical leafy trails at this National Park that is home to over 500 species of birds. This sprawling humid rainforest is known to have attracted bird watchers and wildlife lovers each year especially due to humming birds. Do hire a guide to accompany you through the main attractions of park and help identify plants and animals.
On the northeastern outskirts of Panama City, the white-domed Baha’i House of Worship is the mother temple for all of Latin America and looms like a giant egg atop the crest of a hill, with a beautiful, breezy interior. You can take part in the readings that are held on Sunday mornings at 10.