10 Best things to do in Panama City

There are a lot of reasons to visit Panama. You have probably already thought of the Panama Canal, which is one of the world’s most famous accomplishments of modern engineering. Maybe you have considered a tropical island or beach, or just the climate, which is warm all year round. But there is a lot more to Panama: read here some of our staff picks to do in Panama City.

1.  Visit Seafood market and walk or bike Cinta Costera towards the Casco Antiguo neighborhood while eating a fresh seafood ceviche.
2.  Take a tour at the Biodiversity Museum and hire of our naturalist guides for an introductory rainforest tour in the Metropolitan Park

3.  Bar hopping in Casco Viejo at night and don´t miss the Jazz Bar in the American Trade Hotel

4.  Historical City Tour– walking Panama la Antigua and learn about the Pirates and Conquistadors and the Canal zone era

5.  Kayaking the Panama Canal in the Gatun Lake and a visit to a local Wounaan community for handcrafts shopping

6.  Visit the Contemporary Art Museum and take a Art Cultural Tour with a local panamanian artist

7.  Hike, bike or wildlife observation at one of the many trails of the Soberania National Park

8.  Go on a historical trekking the old 8-mile Camino de Cruces Trail takes you through primarily tropical forest

9.  Ride the Transcontinental train towards the Atlantic side in one day: The Pirate trail and Panama Canal

10.  Enjoy the local gastronomy (tasajo empanada, carimañola, tortilla, yuca frita, and the seafood of Panama).

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Panama and Panama City for Short Stop Overs

A brief stopover or a short stay in Panama will surprise all its visitors! Within 30 minutes from the international airport you could be relaxing in a boutique hotel in the center of the colonial Casco Antiguo or a top-notch luxurious hotel in the Banking District, close to internationally known restaurants and Jazz Bars. Visit museums, parks, and historical areas all within the Panama City limits and just slightly beyond these limits adventure options are endless. Access national parks known for hiking, birding, biking, kayaking and cultural encounters or just have a day relaxing on the Pacific Coastline or a surfing adventure. Take a train to an area once owned by pirates or transit the engineering masterpiece, the Panama Canal!

EcoCircuitos can tastefully design short programs for our clients stay in Panama City that goes beyond the typical City Tour and Panama Canal visit by combining areas of interest and outdoor adventures.  The following are some our current tour options:

  • Rainforest and Ruins – Metropolitan Park, Old Panama and Casco Antiguo
  • Gastronomy Tour – Casco Antiguo, coffee tasting, chocolate production, ceviche, rum and beer tasting.
  • Inner City Tour – Casco Antiguo tour with ex-gang members that will tell you about the history of Casco.
  • Biking tours the rainforest and the City
  • Full Day City Tour (traditional) – Casco Antiguo, Old Panama and Miraflores
  • Half Day City Tour (traditional) – Casco Antiguo and Old Panama

The follow options can be used to tailor a city tour that fits your client’s wishes

  • Old Panama/Panama Vieja – Panama City’s first city
  • Cinta Costera – walking and biking area along the Bay of Panama that leads to Casco Antiguo
  • Fish Market – have a ceviche and people watch
  • Casco Antiguo – Panama City’s second city, colonial style. Home to churches and historical buildings, distinct architecture, shops, restaurants, hotels etc.
  • Amador Causeway – Stroll or bike along the Panama Canal, this causeway connects three islands Naos, Perico and Flamanco. You will find marinas, duty free shops, restaurants and Punta Culebra where Smithsonian has a small nature center and the Biodiversity Museum
  • Smithsonian Nature Center – open air marine center
  • Museums (see the list below)
  • Parks (see the list below)
  • Ancon Hill – Panoramic views of Panama City and the Canal
  • Miraflores Locks – Panama Canal
  • Panama Canal Forts

Parks

National Parks

Open: Morning to dusk

Metropolitan Natural Park

Location:

Open: Monday – Sunday 6:30am- 4:30pm

Rainforest Discovery Center

Location: Soberania National Park

Open: 6am-4pm

Museums

Biodiversity Museum

Location: Amador Causeway

Open: Tuesday – Friday 10am-4pm, Saturday-Sunday 10am-5pm

Contemporary Art Museum

Location: Ancon Hill

Open: Tuesday – Saturday 10am-5pm, Sunday 10am-4pm

Miraflores Locks

Location: Clayton Area

Open: Monday – Sunday 9am-5pm

Old Panama/ Panama Vieja

Location: Parque Lefevre, southeast of Panama City

Open: Tuesday – Sunday, 8:30am-4:30 am

Panama Canal Interoceanic Museum

Location: Casco Antiguo

Open: Tuesday – Sunday

Explore Panama with us!

Flying to Chiriqui Province: Air Panama vs. Copa Airlines

by Jennie C. Trow – Marketing Director

Many of our clients inquire about the differences between flying on Air Panama and Copa Airlines to the Chiriqui Province. Both airlines are dependable and offer good service; however, there are differences between the two.

air panama

Air Panama

Air Panama flights depart from the Albrook Marcos A. Gelabert International Airport, located in Albrook within the city limits of Panama. This is the main airport where majority of domestic flights depart and some international flights to Colombia and Costa Rica. This airport is approximately 15 minutes from downtown Panama City, and could be less traveling time depending on the time of day and where your hotel is located.

On flights to David you are allowed to check in up to 30kg. free of charge and a carry on item that weighs no more than 4kg.

Air Panama flights arrive/ depart to Enrique Malek International Airport, normally there are 3 flights daily flying from Panama City to David and David to Panama City.

Pros: The Albrook airport is smaller and located closer to downtown Panama City. If visitors will be flying to multiple destinations in Panama, this airport is more convenient. Also it is less crowded.

Type of Airplane:  Focar 100 and number of passengers: 100

Type of Airplane:  Boeing 737 – Number of passengers 147

Cons: N/A

Copa Airlines

Copa Airline flights depart from Tocumen International Airport; most likely you will arrive to this airport when you come to Panama. This airport is approximately 20-25 minutes from downtown Panama City. Again this can vary depending on the time of day and where your hotel is located. Copa Airlines has specific lines at the airport for the David, Chiriqui domestic flight.

copa-airlines-100

Visitors who are only flying domestic (Panama – David – Panama) are allowed to check in a total of 20kg of luggage free of charge and carry on 5kg. If a visitor is flying directly on an international flight and then connecting to a flight to David they do not have to worry about their baggage limit as they are entitled to the international baggage limit. This is the same case if you are flying from David and then on to an international destination. However, please double check all this information on Copa’s website or speak directly to an agent.

Visitors arriving from an international destination will have to go through customs and immigration and then make their way to the area for their domestic flight. Visitors traveling domestically will go directly to the domestic flight area after checking in their baggage, they will not have to go into the main part of the international airport.

Copa Airlines flights arrive/ depart to Enrique Malek International Airport, normally there are 3 flights daily flying from Panama City to David and David to Panama City.

Pros: This is a convenient option for international visitors that will travel directly David from their international flight.

Cons: If you are staying in Panama City, you may have to leave earlier than usual to arrive to Tocumen International Airport due to traffic. The international airport in general is further away from downtown Panama City.

Type of Airplane: Embraer 190 ARA – Number of Passengers: 94

Type of Airplane: Embraer 190 ARB – Number of Passengers: 100