There are many gorgeous places in Central America, and Panama definitely falls in the most enthralling among them. The capital, Panam City alone has many options to get you a taste of the authentic culture and tradition. But it is well worth to explore the other areas as well, as there are many gems that this country has got to offer for travelers. So you might not want to wait too long or else it might be difficult to find cheap tickets in very last minute flights to Panama.
Here let us take a look at what to in and around the capital Panam City. Below are the best 10 experiences you should try your hands at.
The old town area of Panama City is certainly the right place to start your explorations. The streets of the old town are flanked by impressive Spanish colonial architecture. Dating its settlements back to the 17th century, the old district has been going under restoration constantly.
Casco Viejo is marked a UNESCO World Heritage Site, owning its colonial feel to most of the crumbling buildings and its colorful charm. Most of these structures have been restored and renovated to become trendy shops, cafes, and hotels. Nested in between these are also beautiful churches and other buildings of historical significance.
The Panama Canal is perhaps the most significant feature of the entire country itself. Connecting the Caribbean and the Pacific, the canal plays an important role in the economy of the country for over 100 years. The Canal itself is an engineering marvel for the time it was built, when the construction began in 1881. It had seen many reigns, from the French to when the United States finishing the construction in 1914. Today, it spans 48 miles from Panama City to Colon and still in use. If you have the time, stay to see a ship dock and see the action.
If the history of the canal intrigues you, head to the Miraflores Visitor Center to know more about the same. This four-story museum offers a close view to all the activity in the canal, to see the cruise ships come and go. There are also many interesting and interactive exhibitions and all-inclusive packages that are available at cheap prices for those who wish to delve a bit into the canal’s history.
In much contrast to the old Casco Viejo, Avenida Balboa offers quite a different scene. You will come across a modern part, with skyscrapers lining the sky and roads busy with traffic. There are plenty of places here to shop and spend time at, but where you must go is the promenade along the Panama Bay. Under the shade of the trees and the ocean breeze, locals and tourists come together to enjoy a pleasant evening.
Though located in Casco Viejo, the church is worth to be mentioned as a separate place to see. There are chances that unless you go looking for the place, the exterior of Iglesia San Jose would easily be missed. What might catch your eye is the stunning baroque sanctuary in the inside along with its gold altar. The lore says that the gold altar was painted black by the Jesuit Priests to hide it from the infamous pirate Henry Morgan.
The Metropolitan Natural Park is the only rainforest located close to the capital city of Panama. So if you are planning not to venture to the outer regions, this is your best shot to appreciate the indigenous wilderness of the region. It would be a shame to leave without taking a look at this, even if you were able to find cheap plane tickets to Panama. You can see the beautiful flora and fauna; to get the best of the experience, take a hike to the Ancon Hill. It will take you 90 minutes to the top but the view of the forest and city beyond is worth the effort. Along the paved pathway, you are sure to come across many species of tropical birds and other animals.
Panama Viejo is the site where the ruins of the old city still remain. The remnants could be dated back to 1519, and you can still walk through what is left of the majestic old buildings. The many Casas Reales or the old royal houses owned by the wealthiest members of the city and the well-preserved part of the Cathedral de Nuestra Senora de la Asuncion are very interesting to see. A visit to this place is necessary to shine some light into the colonial grandeur that had to surrender to the pirates.
The geography of Panama makes the place quite unique, The Biomuseo was constructed to celebrate this biodiversity. It is located on Amador Causeway and stays iconic for the impressive flowy design by the renowned architect Frank Gehry. There are many stimulating exhibitions and botanic gardens inside that make it a very unforgettable experience.
Famous as the San Blas Islands, the Comarca de Guna Yala is a strip of land in northeastern Panama. Stretching for 140 miles, this strip also has an archipelago with hundreds of small islands, all adorning lush green tropical forests, and white sand beaches. There are also many beach resorts there offering elite packages to complete the experience.
Food is an integral part of the cultural experience in Panama. Panamanian food is a blend of Native American, African, and Spanish cuisines and techniques. Try delicacies like bollos and carimañola and drown it with the Balboa cerveza, a popular local brew.
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