Panama lives up to its national motto “For the benefit of the world,” delivering a world of benefits to its visitors and then some. Central America’s southernmost country boasts a unique geographical locale affording visitors miles of pristine coastline bordering two oceans, and an amalgamation of people and cultures that is unparalleled.
While in Panama City, one must-see is Casco Viejo, the city’s charming 16th century Spanish colonial “old town” resplendent in winding narrow streets, sidewalk cafes and wrought-iron balconies overflowing with exquisite flowers.
Other recommendations within the Panama City-limits include Panama La Vieja, the original city’s ruins; Parque Natural Metropolitano, a large tropical forest abundant with native flora and fauna; and the Calle Uruguay neighborhood, epicenter of the city’s exciting nightlife. Don’t forget to visit the Continental Hotel Riande’s Wurlitzer’s Lobby Bar, home to a sprawling, glow-in-the-dark Wurlitzer organ.
A short drive from Panama City leads to the famed Panama Canal, another of the country’s can’t-miss destinations. The Miraflores Lockes offer a visitor center–Centro de Visitantes de Miraflores–complete with an observation deck, museum, an English-Spanish theater and a restaurant overlooking the locks.
Visit to Panama City is a must for any traveler to Panama. Located on the country’s Pacific Coast, Panama City is a sophisticated metropolis offering a diverse array of attractions ranging from cultural destinations to fine dining to nightlife to even gambling. The city’s colorful party buses offer a memorable way to enjoy some sightseeing while making merry.
Panama’s lush countryside offers an abundance of natural beauty, wildlife, and hospitable people. Within an hour or so drive of Panama City is a succession of un-crowded, white-sand beaches and aqua-blue waters along the Pacific Coast, including the popular destinations of Punta Chame, Gorgona, Coronado, Rio Mar, Santa Clara and Playa Blanca.
Nearby the Pacific Coast beaches are the picturesque mountain communities of El Valle de Anton and Los Altos de Maria where visitors can sample the local cuisine, browse shops and enjoy the indigenous culture of Panama. Another more remote option is the The Darien province, home to the Parque Nacional Darien, a massive tropical forest that makes a wonderful visit for the adventurous traveler.
If time allows, Panama’s coastal islands provide unique travel destinations just a short boat or plane ride away from the mainland. In the Caribbean seas off the Atlantic coast, visit the San Blas Islands, where the native Kuna Indians craft their renowned molas. Isla Grande, also in the Atlantic, is a beautiful destination, as is Contadora in the Pearl Island Archipelago.