You can click on each of these and they
will show you some of the areas around
us…we also encourage you to check some
of these areas out on the internet…this
is really a fascinating place and
steeped in history.
Check out the
of this site as well to see some of the
While in Panama - here are some
things either we've done, our friends
have done or we think are "must do's"
when in Panama.
The Canal - there are several
ways of seeing the Panama Canal -
- Visit Miraflores locks - a short
drive / cab ride from downtown
Panama. This is the last set of
locks before the Pacific or the
first set on the journey to the
Caribbean. The Miraflores locks are
set up for for tourists to visit.
There is a museum that will give you
a great history of how the canal
came to be and it also provides a
fun place for lunch. You can sit and
enjoy a lunch and watch the huge
ships traverse the canal right in
front of you. The food is not
the best, and its not inexpensive,
but the ambiance makes up for it and
how often will you visit the canal
so go for it.
- Book a trip through the canal
with one of the local tour
companies. The one we went on picked
us up at the Amador causeway and
took us via bus to the Gatun locks
near the Gamboa resort. We boarded a
boat along with almost 150 other
people. We spent the better part of
the day lazily meandering down the
canal through two sets of locks. The
locks from the inside are amazing
and worth the trip. If we had our
way we would have preferred one lock
and less time meandering down the
canal. The food was hohum at best.
But again, the canal is pretty
amazing and the ships you have a
chance to see up close are huge.
- You can also see the canal here
Casco Viejo - the second "old"
city, this is an area of Panama that you
can spend a whole afternoon wandering
around. It is also a great place to
enjoy a wine or beer at night in one of
the old squares. This area has been
under improvement over the past number
of years and it doesn't take too much
vision to see that this is going to be
one of the hottest areas of the city in
the future. The question is how long it
will take to improve enough of the area
to give it an upscale feel. Right now,
there is so much of the area that is in
total disrepair and home to "squatters"
that it is hard to enjoy except with
your own driver or by staying only in
the developed areas. This area costs you
nothing to explore but a cab ride. Make
sure you see the old theater, the Panama
White house and the upper walk way near
the French Embassy. There are many
little cafes and bars to discover.
Panama Viejo - the first "old"
city. Located out near Costa del Este,
this first old city is now just a set of
ruins located in a very undesirable area
of the city. During the day it is worth
wandering around the site. There is a
very small fee to enter and its worth
the time if you like antiquity. The old
bell tour is worth climbing. And for the
price of admission you can visit the
museum down the road. At
night, you don't want to be walking
around unless you are with a group or
someone from Panama, but it takes on a
whole different flavour as they have
taken the time to install lighting that
is pretty cool after dark.
Taboga Island - a small island
less than an hour from the causeway. An
inexpensive ferry ride costing less than
$10 return. Not much on the island
except a beach and places to eat but a
good way to spend a day at the beach.
Contadora Island - the Pearl
Island group - Wayne and Elaine, our
friends from Alberta spent two nights
out on the island and they really
enjoyed it…took an all inclusive which
even covered the air over. You catch the
plane at the airport in Panama City…
Golfing - while i am not a
golfer, i know lots of people are - so
Santa Clara - on the Pacific
side of Panama past Coronado. A great
beach area with a bar, restaurant and
hammocks to rent under a canopy.
El Valle de Anton - just over
1.5 hours from Panama is an area in the
interior that has a number of
interesting places to visit. If you go,
do not miss going to the Lourdes
restaurant for lunch or dinner - I
mean it - don't miss this restaurant -
it is just like stepping into Tuscany.
There is a another interesting place to
visit - Zoologico Y Vivero El Níspero.
This is both a zoo and garden.
Amador - the causeway – we
have gone out here a few times now, at
New Years Eve to catch a boat for the
New Years Eve cruise, and then a couple
of other times. When we took our partial
canal cruise we had to come here to meet
as well. Now for some strange reason,
none of the coffee shops are open early
for people who are there to meet boats
etc. This amazed me because all they
need is one little shop to be open and
serve coffee. Not a big deal and since
most of the people there early are
tourists, I think a smart move.
Gamboa - the Gamboa resort
just outside Panama City is a great
place to visit or i would imagine stay
for a few days to get a sense of what
the flora and fauna of Panama is like
without having to be too far outside
Panama City. Arriving at Gamboa you
might not expect the level of quality
until you walk through the front door.
Check out some pictures of the resort in
the pictures area. We visited Gamboa
when Missy and Jim were here.
Coral Lodge - located on the
Caribbean close to the San Blas Islands,
this small resort is quite a treat. If
you are looking for a postcard like
setting over the water in your own hut
with excellent cuisine and proximity to
some of the most beautiful islands and
beaches of Panama, check out Coral
- Multi Plaza Pacifica - this is
the upscale place to shop…the place
that tourists shop at and you know
how I can tell? Well, at Albrook,
when ever you have bags with you,
they make you check them before
going into a store there…but here
- Multi Centro - again, in the
touristy area, across from the
Radisson Hotel. Upscale shops.
- Albrook Mall -this is a great
mall, and you do get used to having
to check your bags before going into
Bahai Temple - on top of a
hill, this building can be seen from
anywhere…it is a huge dome with 8 sets
of doors and very serene. They do not
solicit donations, but I am sure if you
walked up to them and handed them money,
they would accept. We thought the view
was so beautiful up there.
Ancon Expeditions of Panama
- offers several unique Panama
experiences from day trips to two
EcoCircuitos Panama -
focused on developing sustainable
eco tourism in Panama by training
staff and the involvement of the
locals in their tours.
Casco Viejo (
El Valle (