Panama City

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 (or perhaps the shiny new Metro rail system, depending on your destination) 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. Be sure to agree on the fare before boarding the taxi, as drivers are notorious for overcharging foreigners. Tourism police patrol the Casco Viejo and Panamá 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.

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  • 1. Esclusas de Miraflores

    Nautical Site/Lighthouse

    The four-story visitor center next to these double locks provides a front-row view of massive ships passing through the lock chambers. It also...Read More

  • 2. Plaza Bolívar


    A small plaza surrounded by 19th-century architecture, this is one of Casco Viejo's most pleasant spots, especially at night, when people gather...Read More

  • 3. Plaza de Francia


    Designed by Leonardo de Villanueva, this attractive plaza on the southeastern corner of the Casco Viejo peninsula is dedicated to the French...Read More

  • 4. Area Bancária


    Narrow streets shaded by leafy tropical trees make the city's financial district a pleasant area to explore, though the trees are being cut...Read More

  • 5. Baha'i House of Worship

    Religious Building/Site/Shrine

    Perched atop a forested hill 11 km (7 miles) north of the city is Baha'i House of Worship, one of the world's seven Baha'i temples (an eighth...Read More

  • 6. Balboa


    The heart of the former Canal Zone is quite a switch from the rest of Panama City, with its wide tree-shaded lawns and stately old buildings...Read More

  • 7. Cementerio Francés


    The pastoral Cementerio Francés sits on the left side of the road just before Summit and serves as a testament to the human toll once taken...Read More

  • 8. Centro de Exhibiciones Marinas Punta Culebra


    Though it doesn't compare to the aquariums of other major cities, the Centro de Exhibiciones Marinas is worth a stop. It was created by the...Read More

  • 9. Centro de Visitantes

    Historic District/Site

    Start your visit to Panamá Viejo at the Centro de Visitantes—a large building on the right as you enter Panamá Viejo on Vía Cincuentenaria....Read More

  • 10. Cerro Ancón Summit


    The rain forest that covers most of Cerro Ancón is a remarkably vibrant natural oasis in the midst of the city. The best area to see wildlife...Read More

  • 11. Edificio de la Administración del Canal

    Notable Building

    Well worth a stop is this impressive structure set atop a ridge with a dramatic view of Balboa and the canal—a site chosen by the canal's chief...Read More

  • 12. Gran Clement


    Exploring Casco Viejo's narrow streets can be a hot and exhausting affair, which makes the gourmet ice-cream shop of Gran Clement an almost...Read More

  • 13. Iglesia de La Merced

    Religious Building/Site/Shrine

    One of the oldest structures in the Casco Viejo, La Merced's timeworn, baroque facade was actually removed from a church of the same name in...Read More

  • 14. Iglesia de San José

    Religious Building/Site/Shrine

    This church is an exact replica of the temple of the same name in Panamá Viejo. It is the sanctuary of the country's famous golden altar, the...Read More

  • 15. Isla Flamenco


    The Amador Causeway ends at Isla Flamenco, which has two shopping centers and an assortment of restaurants. The Flamenco Marina is a popular...Read More

  • 16. Isla Perico


    The second island on the causeway, Isla Perico, holds a long strip mall, called Brisas de Amador, that has an array of restaurants and bars...Read More

  • 17. La Catedral

    Religious Building/Site/Shrine

    Built between 1688 and 1796, Panama City's stately cathedral is one of Casco Viejo's most impressive structures. The interior is vast, but rather...Read More

  • 18. La Cinta Costera


    The busy waterfront boulevard Avenida Balboa and the linear park running alongside it are lined with palm trees and graced with great views...Read More

  • 19. Las Bóvedas

    Military Sight

    The arched chambers in the wall on the eastern side of Plaza Francia, which originally formed part of the city's battlements, served various...Read More

  • 20. Museo Afroantillano


    Three blocks northeast of Plaza Cinco de Mayo, in the midst of a rough neighborhood, stands a simple wooden museum dedicated to the tens of...Read More

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