Panama City is the most cosmopolitan capital of Central America and offer several attractions.
Arriving from the airport of Tocumen you'll first meet the modern financial district of the city, made of skyscrapers. Between the most famous there are the Trump Tower, El Tornillo ( The Screw). You will find also banks, luxury hotels and boutiques.
Continuing in the direction of the Canal, running the Cinta Costera, the promenade on the bay, you'll arrive at the old historic city.
Casco Viejo (Old Town) is the colonial part of the city, cultural centre and UNESCO World Heritage Site. Some areas are still under restoration but wonderful historic buildings are now magnificent like in the first years of the 20th century and host restaurants, hotels and private residences.
Choose this area if you love to discover the culture of a country more than its modern side.
In Casco Viejo you have to visit Plaza de la Independencia (Independence Square), Iglesia San José, famous church that protects the Golden Altar, saved from Henry Morgan piracy. Furthermore Paseo de las Bovedas, an esplanade that leads to Plaza de Francia. This place is dedicated to the memory of the French workers died of malaria and yellow fever while they were building the Canal.
Palacio de las Garzas is the president palace and the National Theatre worth a visit. The Italian architect Gennaro Ruggieri, inspired by La Scala theatre in Milan, Italy, built it. Going east you will find Mercado de Mariscos (Fish Market) that offers also a great restaurant to taste fresh seafood.
Walking from the cathedral, through the Avenida (Avenue) Central in direction Plaza 5 de Mayo (May), after Santa Ana park, the street becomes a pedestrian shopping area very popular between locals.
Panama Viejo was the original site of the city founded in 1519. 150 years later the pirate Henry Morgan destroyed it and then abandoned. The city was then moved in another area, nowadays known as Casco Viejo. Only in 1976 the government declared the ruins a protected site, but unfortunately the city was already despoiled as a source of building materials and today is hard to imagine the original settlement. There's a nice handcraft market (Mercado nacional de Artesanía) close to the ruins.
Causeway or Calzada de Amador is a road on the sea that connects the city to 4 small islands. At the beginning there's the new Museum of Biodiversity designed by the famous architect of the Guggenheim Museum of Bilbao (Spain), Frank Gehry and a bicycle rental service.
Is a wonderful place to escape the traffic and noise of the city centre. Chill with the Ocean breeze and enjoy the skyscrapers skyline from one of the restaurants located on the islands.
There's also Punta Culebra Nature Center, a marine exhibition with aquariums and a trail through a part of dry forest to spot sloths.
Parque Natural Metropolitano
Parque Natural Metropolitano is a real National Park of tropical forest inside the city. Biologists spot here more than 250 bird species, Titì monkeys, sloths, iguanas and more.
Panama Canal is still one of the engineering wonders of the world. Every year more than 13000 ships use this way to avoid the longer and more expensive trip around Cape Horn. The average toll is 100.000 $ and the whole journey takes about 8 hours.
From Panama City going to Miraflores Locks is the easiest way to visit the canal. It's just outside the city and has an interesting museum, a good restaurant and a terrace to view the transition. Another option is to join a partial or full transit of the canal by boat.