Panama City Trip

Old May 6th, 2008, 06:41 AM
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Panama City Trip

Two of us are planning a quick getaway to Pananma City next January. We were looking for somewhere warm and a good value for a long-weekend trip and found what seems like a very good deal from Washington, DC to Panama for $344 per person on a non-stop flight. We are arriving in Panama City late on a Friday morning and departing PC at 7 PM on the following Tuesday.

We'd like to stay in the old part of the city for the atmosphere, and found on-line a place called Canal House Bed and Breakfast. Does anyone have comments on staying in the old part of the city or of that place in particular? Any other recommendations?

For activities, we'd like to visit the canal for a day, either on a boat trip or to the visitors center. Also visit one of the nearby national parks, plus explore the old and new parts of the city itself. We have very much enjoyed other spanish colonial cities we have visited.

Does anyone have recommendations on restaurants or particular things to see?

Thanks
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Old May 6th, 2008, 04:40 PM
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Don't miss an evening meal at Manalo Caracol!
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Old May 11th, 2008, 12:18 PM
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My office is a block away from the Canal House and we do work with them for marketing.

The owners have done a great job in the decoration and outfitting of this guest house - only 3 rooms but all very well done as are the common areas. Book early as they do get full very often.

Right now it's about the only higher end option in Casco Viejo. There are a couple of hostels and some other hotels are in the plans.

Plan on doing the Partial Canal Transit on the Saturday morning, this will show you the most interesting part of the canal and you experience going through the locks. Walking around Casco Viejo is great - don't miss the Church with the Golden Altar, the National Theater and the Canal Museum. For more history, head for Panama Viejo - the original city dating back over 500 years.
On the way there you will see the modern city - the third "version" of Panama.

As shillmac suggest, Manolo Caracol in Casco Viejo is a great option. As is S'cena. In town there are Eurasia, La Posta, The Market, La Rioja, Peperocino al Mare, Gauchos and others. There is a large grouping of restaurants and clubs on and around Calle Uruguay, easy to find and all taxis know this area.

Metropolitan Park is right in the city, easy to get to and some decent trails - go as early as you can to have a chance of seeing wildlife - the lookout (Mirador) overlooks the canal.

A bit further away, is Gamboa - there's a resort here that has some exhibits and an aerial tram through the jungle canopy - some people like it others find it a bit "staged". Gamboa is where you would be taken to start the Canal transit.

Hope this helps you fill in the few days will have to enjoy Panama.

Cheers,
Andrew
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Old May 14th, 2008, 07:53 PM
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My wife and I stayed at La Estancia (a B&B) last month. Only about a $3 or $4 cab ride to Casco Viejo. They can arrange excursions -- canal trip, Gamboa, etc., etc. We will stay there again.
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Old May 31st, 2008, 09:26 AM
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HI!My name is Ignacio Vigil(NACHO) easier for u my nickname,ja!ja. I am a cab driver in the city,also i am a tourist guide,i ve a lot of experience working for americans. Panama is an small country,but we ve a lot of diveristy and a big heard! Ok 8 hours of tour is enougth to know my litlle city,small city a lot of diversity,remember that,my charge hourly is $30 until 2 person,i would rather if you pay me in cash,thats means 8 hours x $30 hour will be $240 for the complete tour,would be start at 9;00 am in Ancon Hill(1 hour)called the 'lung of the city'is at 200 meters over the sea level with 2 lookouts of all Panam City and the nicest view of Old Panama,Miraflores Locks(1 hour)The Visitors Center($8.00 fee(each person) to get inside this wonderful place),the Creek Path(walk into the jungle around 30 minutes,we would see sloth,monkeys and exotic birds),Gamboa(where is the Gatun Lake)45 minutes more,after this place the Centennial Bridge for come back again to the city by the America's bridge,at this time around 1:00pm (lunch time)would be at Mi Ranchito Rest.with the best panamenian sea food,the rest of the evening the Casco Viejo(where are the ruins of more than 500 hundred years ago),the modern city,Panama Viejo(first city builded in Panama the Provence in 1517),Los Pueblitos at the lies of Ancon Hill,to finally come back to your Hotel in the city or wherever u want to stay. The second day would be great to visit any beach at the Atlantic Side,per example Isla Grande(Grand Island)surrounded by thousands of green hectars of National reserves,located in the best part of Colon,nicest beaches and superb landscapes,also in the way to Grand Island there is San Lorenzo Spanish Fort in Portobelo erected in 1502.
There is some one links of submited recommendations about my services,i will very glad and proud to show my city: http://travel.latimes.com/articles/la-tr-recs9dec09b

http://ontheroadtravel.blogs.com/chr...s_on_the_road/ 2008/01/panama-city-the.html

THIS IS JUST for let u know how much i know my BEAUTY COUNTRY.

I worked for Mr.Thomas Miller,(WATH THE COINCIDENCE!)the responsable for the response before the mine,i work for him and his wife,my services was recommended by Esteban Summich,the manager of the La Estancia Hostal,also Samantha Sagel the actual manager of Canal House in Casco Viejo is one of my contacts,i agreed 100% with Mr.Andrew.
Both places are OK!
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Old May 31st, 2008, 08:17 PM
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Yes, Nacho took us all over Panama City to see many of the sights we missed on the various tours we took. He was excellent. You can see a picture of him on the web page I created about our trip.

http://homepage.mac.com/tlmiller/Panama2008/index.html
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Old Jun 1st, 2008, 04:42 PM
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Howie -

What airline offered that fare? We are looking into a January 2009 trip to Panama too.

Thanks!
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Old Jun 2nd, 2008, 04:49 AM
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Great pics!
Love that restaurant on the causeway....
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Old Jun 2nd, 2008, 08:06 AM
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We enjoyed La Estancia as well for a great price. A little difficult to find, however, if you're driving yourself.

The canal was a fascinating experience as was the Gamboa area. Summit Gardens interesting, especially if you'd like to see the harpy eagle. About 30 min. from PC.
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Old Jun 2nd, 2008, 04:52 PM
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A lot of old PAN was busted up after the Panama games, but what is going on down there is remarkable. An interesting lunch can be had at the fish market get some Savichi (sp) from the fatman selling it from gallon jars, get some and share it as you walk around old PAN. Gatune lake comes to mind as does that Yacht club on the Pacific side. Cheers! Have fun.
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Old Jun 11th, 2008, 08:06 AM
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Thanks for all of your responses.

La Estancia looks nice, but is seems that to get anywhere, you need to take a vehicle. Is that true? We would rather be where you can walk to things.

On the weekend we are going, the company that offers boat trips on the canal has only a full day full transit trip. These are given one weekend a month. The other weekends are half day partial transit excursions. The still seems like a worthwhile activity even though it is more expensive and takes up a whole day. Any thoughts? I read that there are 2 companies that offer canal trips, but I can only find one on the internet.

The $344 fare is on Copa, which has non-stop service from Dulles Airport in DC to Panama City.
Howie234 is offline  
Old Jun 11th, 2008, 10:02 AM
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La Estancia is in a great location, you "could" walk....but it'd be a pretty good hike. Cabs are inexpensive, u could go that route.
I think the full canal transit would be incredible, the train sounds interesting as well....but going through lockes would be pretty cool!
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Old Jun 13th, 2008, 03:49 AM
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Being centrally located makes La Estancia very convenient to many things and, as someone else pointed out, taxis are cheap.

Staying in the old part of Panama City makes many of the other sites less convenient.

We ate twice at Marbello and thoroughly enjoyed it.
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Old Jun 25th, 2008, 04:53 PM
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The two canal tour companies are:

www.ptymarineadventures.com

www.canalandbaytours.com

Full transit can be a very long day - with not much to see when you are on Lake Gatun... If you are delayed in the locks it can be 14 to 15 hours...

cheers,
Andrew
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Old Aug 13th, 2008, 10:02 AM
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If the Canal House or La Estancia is full, consider the Balboa Inn. Its very well located near La Estancia but closer to restaurants, banks, and public transport. Easier to get in- and out of the city.

I would never take more than a partial transit. It's hardly worth the extra $$. In fact, if you go to the Miraflores Visitor center at say 2 pm, get into the exhibition and then to the restaurant on the 2nd floor which has a great outside terrace, you will be able to see the big ships coming through and have the best view of all!

And if you buy one of these books "Path Between the Seas" or "Panama Fever" on Amazon.com you'll appreciate what you see even more.
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