This is Panama…where excitement meets culture. The rainforest meets the city. Old is mixed in with new. It’s a unique adventure that is perfect for just about everyone. Explore some of the world’s most pristine beaches, exotic tropical rainforests, historical Spanish sites, and of course, the recently expanded Panama Canal. Come and check it out for yourself! It’s all in a day’s play in Panama!
Panama has had not one, not two, but three capital cities. And you know what they say: nothing beats the original! The “First” Panama City is located on the city’s southwest side and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. History buffs love Old Panama: fortress ruins line the streets from a time when pirates ruled the seas!
The “Second” Panama City is a UNESCO World Heritage Site full of history, restaurants, and open-air cafés. This 28-block area dates to the 17th century and features cobblestone streets, trendy plazas, shops, restaurants, and bustling streets. Feel like you’re stepping back in time at this favorite spot. The modern skyscraper skyline also provides a stunning backdrop!
If you dream of a big-city atmosphere, then Modern Panama City is just what you need! The “Third” Panama City is conveniently located near the Pacific entrance of the Panama Canal and is a great option for travelers who want a New York City vibe. Amazing restaurant options, chic bars, and amazing shopping is all right at your fingertips. Of course, it wouldn’t be Panama without a little nature: the only wildlife refuge in the world located within city limits is in Metropolitan Park.
It’s one of the most amazing engineering feats of our time! Cargo ships from all over the world use the Panama Canal to cross into the Pacific Ocean from the Atlantic (or vice versa). In 2016, two new massive locks were opened to accommodate a new generation of container ships. Be sure to visit the Miraflores Visitors Center where you can get up close and see the canal operations in action.
During the four days leading up to Ash Wednesday, Panamanians go all-out celebrating in style! Music, dance, fun, and elaborate costumes center around this event. Be sure to check out a parade or two, a live concert, food booths, games, and fireworks. Panama City is an ideal place to check out Carnival events. If you are lucky enough to be in town for this historic parade, you will leave with a lifetime of memories.
Over one-third of Panama is dedicated National Park land, so, get out and explore! With nearly 10,000 bird species, Panama is the ideal destination for bird watching. You’ll see everything from the Costa Rican Dove Partridge to the Scarlet Macaw. If you like to get out on the water, Panama has many areas that are great for snorkeling and sport fishing… don’t forget you have both the Atlantic Ocean and Pacific Ocean to enjoy! If you happen to be here between June and October, be sure to head out for some whale watching. These majestic creatures make their way through the warm Panamanian waters this time of year.
If you want some once-in-a-lifetime activities that will get your heart pounding, Panama delivers! Adrenaline-packed waters at Chiriqui River, Rio Grande, and Mamoní River provide Class II-Class V rapids. Fly through the air and revel in amazing scenery at one of the many zip line tours available. Panama is also a great surfing location! Numerous beaches along both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts serve as a hot spot for active surfers. If you wish to stay on land, there are numerous trails available that are perfect for hiking, running, and biking. Just get your running shoes on and go!
The craft beer scene is making a name for itself in Panama. And yes, originals like Cerveza Panama and Cerveza Balboa are still in high demand, but microbreweries are starting to make a name for themselves. La Rana Dorada is the original microbrewery in Panama and has a variety of beer available for every type of beer drinker. The outdoor terrace provides the perfect ambiance for relaxing with friends. Meanwhile, Casa Bruja is a newer brewery that opened in 2013 and is located near the Old City. Come in for a tasting and a tour… your taste buds will thank you!