Panama City is emerging as a world-class destination. Over the last decade, new additions to the city’s skyline have drawn travelers to the historic hot-spot. Whether you are staying for 1 night before heading to Bocas del Toro or Boquete, or there for an entire week, there are plenty of things to do in Panama City, Panama.
Dine in Casco Viejo.
Casco Viejo is known as Panama’s tourist district, but that doesn’t mean it lacks in local flavor. You’ll find a lot of gringo restaurants here, but you can also get real at the local fish market. If you want a drink with a view, Tantalo Rooftop Bar offers stunning views of the Panama City skyline set to a youthful vibe. Homesick? Grab some pizza and microbrews at La Rana Dorado. Be sure to check out the ruins of Panama Viejo in between meals.
Cruise the Panama Canal.
The Panama Canal is a must-see for many travelers and it can be done a number of ways. Book a full-day transit tour to learn about the canal’s historical significance and how it has shaped the city today. For travelers on a time crunch partial transit half-day tours are also available. One of the most exciting ways to experience the Panama Canal is a boat tour of Gatun Lake. You will be able to cruise the waterways of the canal while also having the chance to spot wildlife.
Shop in Panama City.
Panama City has some of the best shopping in Central America. We recommend boutique shops for quintessential Panamanian fashions and jewelry. Nina Concept Store is a café-boutique hybrid where you can buy trendy gifts, décor, and other artful trinkets for one-of-a-kind souvenirs. The world-class mall Soho offers name brands like Chanel and Coach, as well as fine Italian and French dining for refueling. For a truly local shopping experience markets are always best. Mercado de Abastos is a large market full of colorful and delicious selections. This market is the real deal so you’ll need to go in with a mission or you will be overwhelmed by truckloads of fresh fruit and other local goods.
Be Active on Amador Causeway & Ancon Hill.
Some of the best things to do in Panama City, Panama are also the most adventurous. Rent a bike and pedal down the Amador Causeway to take in views of the water and some of the city’s most accessible tourist points. This is a great, leisurely option for anyone who wants to learn a bit of history and observe everyday life in the city. For something more challenging, take a morning hike up Ancon Hill. You might catch of a glimpse of some local wildlife on the way, but the real payoff is the view!
These stops only begin to scratch the surface of all of the great things to do in Panama City. While you may not be able to experience all of the city in one night or one week, these activities are a great place to start.
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