Greetings, fellow travelers! Journeying Jack here, back with another exciting edition of Suitcase Stories. Today, I’m thrilled to share with you my latest adventure in the vibrant and bustling metropolis of Panama City. As always, I’ve done the legwork and compiled a list of the top 10 things to do in Panama City, so you can make the most of your time in this incredible destination.
Panama City is a melting pot of cultures, history, and natural beauty, making it the perfect place for travelers seeking a unique and unforgettable experience. From the awe-inspiring Panama Canal to the stunning beaches and lush rainforests, there’s no shortage of activities to keep you entertained. So, without further ado, let’s dive into the top 10 things to do in Panama City!
Stay tuned, as I unveil each of these must-see attractions and hidden gems, ensuring that your trip to Panama City is nothing short of extraordinary. Whether you’re a history buff, a nature lover, or simply looking for a taste of the local culture, my top 10 things to do in Panama City list has got you covered. So, pack your bags, grab your passport, and join me on this whirlwind tour of Panama City’s finest offerings!
Exploring the Historic Casco Viejo
If you’re looking for a glimpse into Panama City’s rich history, then a visit to the Casco Viejo is a must. This charming neighborhood is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is home to some of the city’s most iconic landmarks. Here are the top 10 things to do in the Casco Viejo:
Visit the Panama Canal Museum – Learn about the history and construction of the Panama Canal at this fascinating museum.
Take a walking tour – Join a guided walking tour to explore the neighborhood’s colorful streets and learn about its history.
Visit the Presidential Palace – Take a tour of the Presidential Palace and learn about Panama’s political history.
Explore the churches – The Casco Viejo is home to several beautiful churches, including the Metropolitan Cathedral and the Church of San Jose.
Visit the Plaza de la Independencia – This historic square is home to the Independence Monument and is a great spot for people-watching.
Check out the street art – The Casco Viejo is known for its vibrant street art scene. Take a stroll and see what you can find.
Visit the Teatro Nacional – This stunning theater is a must-see for architecture and history buffs.
Try the local cuisine – The Casco Viejo is home to some of the city’s best restaurants and cafes. Be sure to try some traditional Panamanian dishes.
Shop for souvenirs – The neighborhood is home to several artisan shops and boutiques where you can find unique souvenirs.
Watch the sunset – The Casco Viejo is a great spot to watch the sunset over the city skyline.
Exploring the Casco Viejo is one of the top 10 things to do in Panama City, and it’s easy to see why. With its rich history, stunning architecture, and vibrant culture, this neighborhood is a must-visit for any traveler to Panama City.
Discovering Panama City’s Natural Wonders
Panama City is not just about skyscrapers and modern architecture. The city is also home to some of the most beautiful natural wonders that are worth exploring. Here are the top 5 natural wonders that you should not miss when visiting Panama City:
Metropolitan Natural Park – This park is located in the heart of Panama City and is the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. The park is home to a variety of wildlife, including monkeys, sloths, and toucans. You can hike through the park’s trails and enjoy stunning views of the city.
Ancon Hill – Ancon Hill is a natural reserve located in the heart of Panama City. The hill offers panoramic views of the city and is a great place to watch the sunset. You can hike to the top of the hill and enjoy the stunning views of the city.
Panama Canal – The Panama Canal is one of the most famous engineering marvels in the world. You can take a boat tour of the canal and learn about its history and how it works. The canal is also home to a variety of wildlife, including crocodiles and monkeys.
Taboga Island – Taboga Island is a small island located just off the coast of Panama City. The island is known for its beautiful beaches and crystal-clear waters. You can take a ferry to the island and spend the day relaxing on the beach.
Soberania National Park – Soberania National Park is located just outside of Panama City and is home to a variety of wildlife, including monkeys, sloths, and toucans. You can hike through the park’s trails and enjoy stunning views of the rainforest.
These are just a few of the natural wonders that Panama City has to offer. Make sure to add these to your list of top 10 things to do Panama City and experience the beauty of nature in this vibrant city.
A Taste of Panamanian Cuisine
Panama City is a melting pot of cultures, and its cuisine reflects this diversity. From traditional Panamanian dishes to international cuisine, there is something for everyone. Here are some must-try dishes to add to your list of top 10 things to do in Panama City:
Sancocho is a hearty soup made with chicken, yucca, corn, and other vegetables. It is a staple dish in Panama and is often served on special occasions. The broth is rich and flavorful, and the chicken is tender and juicy.
2. Arroz con Pollo
Arroz con Pollo is a classic Panamanian dish that translates to “rice with chicken.” It is a one-pot meal that is easy to make and delicious to eat. The rice is cooked with chicken, vegetables, and spices, giving it a savory flavor.
Ceviche is a popular dish in Panama, made with raw fish marinated in lime juice and mixed with onions, peppers, and cilantro. It is a refreshing and light dish that is perfect for a hot day.
Empanadas are a popular snack in Panama, made with a pastry shell filled with meat, cheese, or vegetables. They are often served with a spicy sauce and are perfect for a quick bite on the go.
5. Ropa Vieja
Ropa Vieja is a traditional Cuban dish that is also popular in Panama. It is made with shredded beef, peppers, onions, and tomatoes, and is often served with rice and beans. The meat is tender and flavorful, and the dish is hearty and filling.
Tamales are a traditional dish in Panama, made with corn dough filled with meat, vegetables, or cheese, and wrapped in a banana leaf. They are steamed until cooked and are often served with a spicy sauce.
Chicheme is a sweet corn drink that is popular in Panama. It is made with sweet corn, milk, cinnamon, and sugar, and is often served cold. It is a refreshing drink that is perfect for a hot day.
Hojaldres are a type of fried bread that is popular in Panama. They are often served for breakfast and are perfect with a cup of coffee. They are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, and are often served with cheese or jam.
Plantains are a staple in Panamanian cuisine and are often served as a side dish. They can be fried, boiled, or mashed, and are often served with meat or fish. They are a versatile ingredient that can be used in many different dishes.
10. Panama Beer
No meal in Panama is complete without a cold beer. Panama has several local breweries that produce a variety of beers, including Balboa, Atlas, and Panama Lager. They are perfect for washing down a hearty meal.
Make sure to add these dishes to your list of top 10 things to do in Panama City and experience the delicious flavors of Panamanian cuisine.
Thrilling Outdoor Adventures in Panama City
Panama City is not just about the beaches and the nightlife. It is also a great destination for adventure seekers. Here are some of the top 10 things to do in Panama City for those who love the outdoors:
1. Zipline through the Rainforest
Experience the thrill of ziplining through the lush rainforest canopy. There are several zipline tours available in Panama City, but the most popular one is the Canopy Adventure tour. You’ll get to see the rainforest from a different perspective and feel the adrenaline rush as you soar through the trees.
2. Hike to the Top of Ancon Hill
Ancon Hill is the highest point in Panama City and offers stunning views of the city skyline and the Panama Canal. The hike to the top is not too difficult and takes about an hour. It’s a great way to get some exercise and enjoy the outdoors.
3. Surf at Santa Catalina
Santa Catalina is a small fishing village located on the Pacific coast of Panama. It’s known for its world-class surf breaks and is a popular destination for surfers from around the world. If you’re a beginner, there are also surf schools that offer lessons.
4. Kayak in the Panama Canal
Kayaking in the Panama Canal is a unique experience that you won’t find anywhere else in the world. You’ll get to see the massive ships up close and learn about the history of the canal. There are several tour operators that offer kayaking tours.
5. Scuba Dive in Coiba National Park
Coiba National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is home to some of the best scuba diving in the world. You’ll get to see a variety of marine life, including sharks, rays, and turtles. There are several dive operators that offer trips to Coiba.
6. Whitewater Rafting on the Chiriqui River
The Chiriqui River is located in the western part of Panama and offers some of the best whitewater rafting in Central America. The rapids range from class II to class IV, so it’s suitable for both beginners and experienced rafters.
7. Horseback Riding in the Highlands
The highlands of Panama are a beautiful and peaceful place to explore on horseback. You’ll get to see the lush green hills and valleys and experience the local culture. There are several tour operators that offer horseback riding tours.
8. Biking on the Amador Causeway
The Amador Causeway is a popular spot for biking and jogging. It’s a 6-kilometer stretch of road that connects Panama City to four small islands in the Pacific Ocean. You’ll get to enjoy the ocean views and the fresh sea breeze.
9. Paragliding over the City
If you’re looking for a unique way to see the city, try paragliding. You’ll get to soar over the city and see the skyline from a different perspective. There are several tour operators that offer paragliding tours.
10. Rock Climbing in El Valle de Anton
El Valle de Anton is a small town located in the mountains of Panama. It’s known for its natural beauty and is a popular destination for rock climbers. There are several climbing routes available for all skill levels.
These are just some of the thrilling outdoor adventures you can experience in Panama City. Don’t forget to add them to your list of top 10 things to do in Panama City.
Unwinding at Panama City’s Pristine Beaches
Panama City is not just about the bustling city life and skyscrapers. It is also home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Here are some of the top 10 things to do in Panama City that will help you unwind and relax at its pristine beaches.
1. Visit the San Blas Islands
The San Blas Islands are a group of over 300 islands located off the coast of Panama. These islands are known for their crystal-clear waters, white sandy beaches, and vibrant coral reefs. You can take a day trip or stay overnight in one of the many eco-lodges on the islands.
2. Relax at Playa Blanca
Playa Blanca is a beautiful white sand beach located just outside of Panama City. It is a popular spot for locals and tourists alike, and it’s easy to see why. The water is warm and calm, making it perfect for swimming and sunbathing.
3. Explore Isla Taboga
Isla Taboga is a small island located just a short boat ride from Panama City. It is known for its beautiful beaches, lush vegetation, and charming town. You can spend the day lounging on the beach, hiking through the jungle, or exploring the town’s historic sites.
4. Surf at Santa Catalina
Santa Catalina is a small fishing village located on the Pacific coast of Panama. It is known for its world-class surfing and laid-back vibe. If you’re an experienced surfer, this is the place to be.
5. Snorkel at Bocas del Toro
Bocas del Toro is a group of islands located in the Caribbean Sea off the coast of Panama. It is known for its crystal-clear waters, vibrant coral reefs, and diverse marine life. Snorkeling is a must-do activity here.
6. Visit Contadora Island
Contadora Island is a small island located in the Pearl Islands archipelago. It is known for its beautiful beaches, clear waters, and luxurious resorts. You can spend the day lounging on the beach or exploring the island’s many attractions.
7. Kayak in the Panama Canal
Kayaking in the Panama Canal is a unique and unforgettable experience. You can paddle through the canal’s locks and see the massive ships up close.
8. Relax at Coronado Beach
Coronado Beach is a popular beach destination located just outside of Panama City. It is known for its calm waters, soft sand, and stunning sunsets. It’s the perfect place to unwind and soak up the sun.
9. Visit Isla Grande
Isla Grande is a small island located on the Caribbean coast of Panama. It is known for its beautiful beaches, crystal-clear waters, and vibrant coral reefs. You can spend the day snorkeling, swimming, or just relaxing on the beach.
10. Take a Sunset Cruise
A sunset cruise is the perfect way to end your day in Panama City. You can watch the sun set over the ocean while sipping on a cocktail and enjoying the beautiful scenery.
These are just some of the top 10 things to do in Panama City that will help you unwind and relax at its pristine beaches. Don’t forget to pack your sunscreen and enjoy the beautiful scenery!
Unique Cultural Experiences in Panama City
Panama City is a melting pot of cultures, with influences from Spain, Africa, and indigenous tribes. Here are some unique cultural experiences that should be on your list of top 10 things to do in Panama City:
1. Visit the Panama Canal
The Panama Canal is a marvel of engineering and a symbol of Panama’s history and culture. Take a tour of the canal and learn about its construction and operation. You can also visit the Panama Canal Museum to learn more about the canal’s history.
2. Explore Casco Viejo
Casco Viejo is the historic district of Panama City and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s a charming neighborhood with colorful colonial buildings, narrow streets, and beautiful plazas. Take a walking tour to learn about the history and culture of the area.
3. Attend a Folkloric Show
Experience the vibrant culture of Panama through a folkloric show. These shows feature traditional music, dance, and costumes from different regions of Panama. You can find folkloric shows at venues like the National Theater or the Anita Villalaz Theater.
4. Visit the Biomuseo
The Biomuseo is a museum dedicated to the biodiversity of Panama. It was designed by renowned architect Frank Gehry and features interactive exhibits that showcase Panama’s unique flora and fauna.
5. Taste Local Cuisine
Panama’s cuisine is a fusion of African, Spanish, and indigenous flavors. Try dishes like sancocho (a hearty soup), arroz con pollo (rice with chicken), and ceviche (raw fish marinated in lime juice). You can find these dishes at local restaurants like El Trapiche or Las Tinajas.
6. Learn about Indigenous Cultures
Panama is home to several indigenous tribes, including the Emberá, Kuna, and Ngäbe-Buglé. Learn about their cultures and traditions by visiting indigenous communities or museums like the Museo del Oro Precolombino.
7. Visit the Panama Viejo Archaeological Site
Panama Viejo was the first European settlement on the Pacific coast of the Americas. Today, it’s an archaeological site that showcases the ruins of the original city. Take a tour to learn about the history and culture of Panama Viejo.
8. Attend a Carnival Celebration
Carnival is a major celebration in Panama, with parades, music, and dancing. The biggest Carnival celebration takes place in Panama City, but you can also find celebrations in other parts of the country. Join in the festivities and experience the joy and energy of Carnival.
9. Visit the Museum of Contemporary Art
The Museum of Contemporary Art is a must-visit for art lovers. It features a collection of modern and contemporary art from Panama and other Latin American countries. The museum also hosts temporary exhibitions and events.
10. Take a Salsa Lesson
Salsa is a popular dance in Panama, and taking a lesson is a fun way to experience the local culture. You can find salsa lessons at dance schools like Salsabor or La Rumba. Put on your dancing shoes and get ready to move to the rhythm of Panama.
These unique cultural experiences are just a few of the top 10 things to do in Panama City. Don’t miss out on the chance to explore the rich history and vibrant culture of this amazing city.
In conclusion, this vibrant and diverse city has something for everyone, and I hope my list of top 10 things to do in Panama City has inspired you to pack your bags and embark on your own adventure. From the rich history of Casco Viejo to the breathtaking views from Ancon Hill, the top 10 things to do in Panama City are sure to leave you with unforgettable memories and a desire to explore even more of this incredible destination.
As Journeying Jack, I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing many amazing places around the world, but the top 10 things to do in Panama City truly stand out as some of the most unique and captivating experiences. So, whether you’re a history buff, a nature lover, or a foodie, the top 10 things to do in Panama City are guaranteed to make your trip one for the books.
Thank you for joining me on this journey through Panama City, and I hope you’ll continue to follow Suitcase Stories for more travel inspiration and tips. Remember, the world is full of incredible experiences just waiting to be discovered, and the top 10 things to do in Panama City are just the beginning. So, grab your suitcase, and let’s continue to explore this beautiful planet together. Safe travels, my fellow adventurers!