Located at the heart of the Americas, Panama City is the most cosmopolitan of the Central American capitals; overflowing with trendy new clubs, cool boutique hotels and gay friendly neighborhoods and attractions. As a long established hub for international business, trade and transportation the City has developed into a modern, busy metropolis attracting visitors from around the world.
LGBT travelers may find Panama City more gay friendly than other Central American countries; many of the main destinations throughout the country are friendly to all visitors and will make LGBT families and travelers feel at home.
Panama is a safe, stable and friendly country of almost four million inhabitants and 75.517 square kilometers. It is among the most biologically diverse countries on the planet and features a variety of unique ecosystems. With a total of over 2,500 km of coastline on two oceans, 15 national Parks and seven distinct indigenous cultures there is much to explore. Five UNESCO World Heritage sites wait to be discovered.
This short guide will direct you to the best spots in town but keep in mind that nightlife in Panama does not really start after midnight. Have Fun!!
WHAT TO DO IN PANAMA CITY
Panama City is a cosmopolitan city, a delightful combination of the historic and modern. It is also one of the safest cities in Latin America. There are three Cities: the historical ruins of the 16th Century city named Panama Viejo, the 17th Century Spanish Colonial Casco Antiguo area of the city and the modern skyscraper city with the business district.
Day tour of Panama City – Visit the three cities in one day: the ruins of the 16th century original city, walk the Casco Antiguo colonial city and admire the modern city. Walk the Casco Viejo – Old Quarters at night for bar hoping and amazing gastronomy. There are several roof top bars that will offer an amazing view of the City. Our suggestion: Tantalo, Barlovento, Casa Casco and Casa Jaguar.
The Panama Canal – City tour includes a trip to the Panama Canal. A must-do is a visit to the Visitors Center at Miraflores Locks. And if you want an unforgetable experience, go dining to Atlantic and Pacific Co. Overlooking the Miraflores locks.
The Panama Canal Transits – Only on special schedule, this is a great option for those that interested in the complete history of the Panama Canal and experience crossing the locks in a mini cruise. This is a great adventure with friends.
Amador Causeway and Biodiversity Museum – A visit to the Amador Causeway is also a good option to admire the spectacular views of the Panama City’s skyline and the Panama Canal. You can bike or walk the area or just enjoy a Panama bear at the restaurants in the Marina. A must to see is the Biodiversity Museum, an architectonic jewel design by Frank Gerhy.
Panama Canal Railway trans-isthmus – Ride the historic Panama Canal Railway, the original transcontinental railway inaugurated in 1855. In special observation cars, the trip takes you across the scenic Isthmus from Panama City on the Pacific, to Colon on the Atlantic Side.
The Rainforst Discovery Center in Soberania National Park – The Discovery Center in the Panama Canal Rainforest is open every day from 6.00AM to 4.00PM Climb this 100-foot Observation Tower for a breathtaking view above the forest canopy and hike the trails around the center. You will learn about sustainable practices in this fantastic place. Ideal for couples and families. Our guides are naturalist that will amaze you with great interpretation of the neotropical forest.
Portobello: A picturesque bayside town of with the ruins of Spanish forts and a restored Spanish Colonial treasure house. In Spanish colonial times the Portobello Treasure House was the center for trans-shipment of all the Peruvian gold and treasure taken from Latin America to Spain. Spanish galleons came and went constantly and many fairs were held. That easy heyday ended with the arrival of English pirates like Sir Francis Drake who repeatedly looted Portobellos treasures and brought about its eventual demise. The Portobelo Ruins are a pillar of Spanish colonial times, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Fort San Lorenzo: A well preserved fort ruin perched high on a stunning promontory above the Chagres River as it meets the sea. Sir Henry Morgan attacked the fort and made away with booty in 1666. It is essential to go with a tour operator since to date this unusual site has no signs or tourist info of any kind.
Embera Cultural Encounters, Chagres National Park – An unforgettable encounter with a living Indian culture in Panama’s rain forest. Panama is the only place in the world where you can have this experience in a day trip from a major metropolitan city.
The tour begins less than 2 hours from Panama City, where you’ll take a motorized canoe up a scenic rainforest river, the only means of transport in the jungle, to an authentic Embera Indian village on river bank deep inside the rainforest. The village consists mostly of the rough wood and palm homes on stilts typical of the jungle Indians. Embera indians will perform a tribal dance offer authentic body paintings, exquisite handicrafts, share a typical meal and explain their way of life, traditions and beliefs.
Handicrafts and shopping – Beautiful boutiques and amazing brands in Casco Antiguo. Try el Valle Sunday Market, the Artisan’s Market and don´t miss the city’s shopping malls, ideals for those looking for brands. Check Multiplaza a high end shopping mall.
Optional day tours from Panama City: kayaking, biking tours, arts tours, sailing tours in San Blas, Beach Escapes to Bocas del Toro and the Gulf of Chiriqui, Azuero and the highlands. For more information click on our website: www.ecocircuitos.com