Panama City Feature
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Panama City Exploring Tips
Panama City is a hassle-free place to explore on your own: many people speak English, the U.S. dollar is legal tender, and there are ATMs, restaurants, pharmacies, shops, and taxis just about everywhere. You can explore some areas on foot, though distances between neighborhoods make taxis necessary for most trips. If you ever feel uneasy about a location or situation and there aren't any police around, just flag down a taxi, which are safe and everywhere. Tourism police patrol the Casco Viejo and Panama Viejo on bicycles. If you have a medical problem, go to Hospital Punta Pacífica, the best private clinic in the city. It also has a dental clinic. If your health insurance doesn't cover expenses incurred abroad, check into the Panamanian government's free health insurance for tourists who have been in the country less than 30 days (www.visitpanama.com).
It's best to get rolling early, take a long break around lunch (when the weather is hottest), and head back into the street around 3 or 4 pm, when the heat begins to subside. If you're there during the rainy season, you can expect downpours every afternoon: the best thing to do when it starts to pour is find a restaurant and have a cup of coffee or a drink. Rest your feet until the deluge subsides, which is usually within 20 minutes. Keep in mind that most, though not all, museums are closed on Monday. The most convenient COTEL, or post office, is on the lower floor of the Plaza Concordia mall, on Vía España. Farmacia Arrocha has a dozen large pharmacies scattered around the city that are open 24 hours. Maps, brochures, and basic information are available at the Autoridad de Turismo Panama stands in the the Tocumen and Allbrook airports.
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