We spent only a few nights in Panama since we had flights from Panama City to Lima booked already a long time ago, and we decided to spend more time in Costa Rica. Our main aim was to visit the Panama Canal and if time, walk around the city.
Panama City is big Metropol and reminded to us a little bit of Dubai or New York. We arrive in Panama City very early in the morning. We thought it was safer to take a taxi from the bus station to the hostel. In fact, we did not have any hostel pre-booked so we followed the suggestion of our Panamian roommate from Costa Rica hostel. Taxi was quite expensive, but safety first – we did not want to wander around the city 5 am in the morning with our huge backpacks. The hostel had 24 hr reception, luckily, and they had free space. We decided to take private room instead of the dorms because the price difference for 2 dorms vs. 1 room was only 5 dollars and since we were there only for 2 nights, then it seemed a reasonable choice. Besides we did not want to wake up others who were sleeping in the dorms.
So the first day we were walking along the Cinta Costera which is a paved pathway along the coastline of the city. There are benches and parks along the way where you can sit and relax. There are plenty of booths where you can buy fresh juices, hot dogs or other snacks. The views were panoramic toward the skyscrapers at one side of the town and the old town in the other direction. Though, we felt that there is not much to do in Panama City itself other than explore the old town and visit the Panama Canal. Most of the really beautiful places are in the outskirts of the city.
The next day we walked the same pathway to walk to the old town. This is the historic part of the city with beautiful architecture and churches. There was a lot of construction works going on. We tried to enjoy it despite the killing hotness. It is very humid and hot all year round with temperatures around and over 30 degrees Celsius.
Later this day we took a bus to Panama Canal visitor center where you could see very closely the ships passing the Miraflores locks. The entrance ticket is 20 US dollars for foreigners, but in our mind, the visit is worth the money. The visitor center features a canal observing deck over 4 different levels. In addition, there is a museum about the history and building the canal which also was pretty well laid out. We would recommend taking the bus or Uber to the Miraflores because the taxis will rip tourists off whenever they can.
Since we had an early morning flight, we left for the airport already in the evening before midnight taking one of the last buses to the airport. Our flight to Lima had over 24-hour layover in Bogota. You can read what we were up to in Bogota in our next post.