12 Must-sees of Panama City | Ants in Pants

12 Must-sees of Panama City

Русская версия Panama City is a gate to Central America, not only because of the Panama Canal. If you trip around Central America starts in Panama (like in our case), you will further see that Panama is very peculiar for the rest of Central America. For instance, in the same way as the whole region, Panama City is very dangerous in some areas and very safe in others. Also, as in other Central American regions, in Panama City you will fully feel what is called ‘pole-pole’ in Swahili: nobody is in a hurry, or, to make it clearer, everybody is late. This is not just the lack of rush, but ignoring any schedules and rules. Also, nobody will speak English to you, only, perhaps, at the Panama Canal – the most touristic place. This time we tell about the major sights of Panama defining the whole city.

TRANSPORTATION

1. Albrook bus terminal and mall cannot be avoided by any tourist. All the roads lead through it, whether the road to the airport, to the Panama Canal, Parque Nacional Metropolitano or the regions of Panama. The terminal has air-conditioned waiting rooms and wi-fi; these probably are all the positive sides of it.
Albrook bus terminal

After our arrival in Panama, we very trying to buy the tickets to our next destination Almirante. According to the timetable at the cashier’s desk, the ticket office for Almirante was supposed to be open from 14.00. At 12.00 the queue started to grow in front of it, which is why the air-conditioned waiting rooms were not helpful, since the hall with ticket offices was extremely hot. Yet, at 14.00 nobody opened the ticket office, neither at 14.45. By that time, we were thinking of the plan B: to buy the ticket to David or Chiriqui and then get to Almirante from one of these places. For this, we had to get the ticket from the neighboring ticket desk which turned out to sell the ticket only for the buses on the same day. In the meantime, the ticket office for Almirante was selling the tickets for the next day only. After all, we were extremely tired and decided to go to the hotel and to try to buy the ticket on the next day. This was not easy on the next day too, but after some queuing we finally got the ticket to David.

Attention! Albrook bus terminal does not have any lockers, and it is only the logistics company Expreso Veraguense situated in the terminal which sometimes agrees to keep your bags for a small fee. It is situated at the end of the terminal (if the mall is to your right) to the left. The problem is that this company is open only several hours a day.

PANAMA CITY

2. From Albrook, you may get to one of the most interesting places of Panama City – the Amador Causeway. This is an artificial road connecting Panama City and nearby icelands, and this is a great place for the walks. Amador Causeway opens great views to the downtown, and many come here by bicycles which can also be rented.
Amador Causeway

Amador Causeway

Amador

We came by bus till the last stop, had a great dinner at the sea restaurant, and then walked back to the mainland, enjoying the lights of downtown.
fish restaraunt

Night city

3. The modern downtown resembles American cities.
Panama downtown

Panama downtown

4. The small Museo Afro-Antillano in the city center tells about the Caribbean and African migration to Central America, mainly to build the Panama Canal. The exhibition is about migrants’ major professions and lifestyle in the new country.
Museo Afro-Antillano

Afro-Antillian museum

MARKETS

5. The fish market Mercado de Mariscos is very authentic, on the one hand, and very touristic, on the other. You will immediately be chased by hassling waiters who will try to drag you into their restaurant. The prices are also quite high given that the city is situated at the ocean shore, but the dishes are large and quite good. Among other things, we recommend ceviche – the raw fish or seafood marinated in lime juice.
Mercado de Mariscos

Fish Market

Fish market Panama City

6. The fish market is not far from the old city of Panama Casco Viejo, a fine example of colonial architecture. Unfortunately, many buildings are falling apart, yet, Casco Viejo remains the most important destination of Panama City for tourists.
Casco Viejo

Panama Old Town

Casco Viejo

Casco Viejo

7. The souvenir market in Casco Viejo proovides probably the largest choice of goods if compared to other souvenir markets in Central America (at least those which we visited), also, the prices are good.
souvenir market

SIGHTSEEING

8. Museum Mi Pueblito tells about Panamenian traditional countrylife. Unfortunately, we reached it when it was being closed and could not fully enjoy it.
Museum Mi Pueblito

Museum Mi Pueblito

Attention! According to the locals, the surroundings of Mi Pueblito are quite dangerous and full of robbers. Without knowing this, we came there on foot, but it is better not to risk.

9. Also, we were not lucky when trying to get to the island Taboga (where people usually head for the beach from Las Perlas Ferry Terminal). Many visitors criticize Taboga for the insane number of tourists and the beaches which are very dirty. We did not get the ticket, since they were sold out, so we decided to walk along the place where the Canal falls into the ocean to observe the ships. We also witnessed the canoe competitions at the ferry terminal to Taboga.
island Taboga

10. Many also say that the subway is a must-see of Panama, well, it is up to you…
subway Panama City

11. The Panama Canal is certainly the must to which we will dedicate a separate story. Remember that you should plan your visit carefully so that not to sit there for the half of the day waiting for the ship, as we did.
Panama Canal

12. Another sight definitely deserving a separate story is the Parque Nacional Metropolitano in the very center of Panama City where you can watch wildlife, including sloths.
Parque Nacional Metropolitano

You may also discover some less known, yet, thrilling things in Panama by occasion. For instance, we encountered this kind of hairdresser’s.
hairdresser in Panama

The rally against corruption and American influence (by the way, Panama still uses dollars as its currency):
rally

rally against America

Unexpected sculpture:
Panama Freedom

From Panama City we continued to the Caribbean, where Panama country is very different…
Caribbean

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