Sites of Interst




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WhyPanama
Costa del Este
Panama City, Panama 







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Sites of Interest - Things to do in Panama
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 picture area of this site as well to see some of the excursions.

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 http://www.pancanal.com/eng/photo/camara-animada.html

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 check out
http://www.panama-guide.com/article.php/20070825125403530 .

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 Lodge.

Shopping

  • 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 they don’t.
  • 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 a store…

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.

Tour Operators

Ancon Expeditions of Panama - offers several unique Panama experiences from day trips to two week excursions.  http://www.anconexpeditions.com

EcoCircuitos Panama - focused on developing sustainable eco tourism in Panama by training staff and the involvement of the locals in their tours. http://www.ecocircuitos.com/


Casco Viejo ( http://bestplacesintheworldtoretire.com/questions-and-answers/casco-viejo-casco-antiguo-panama-city )

El Valle ( http://bestplacesintheworldtoretire.com/questions-and-answers/el-valle-de-anton )
 

 




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