Are there anything to see in Panama City?
I believe Panama City is underrated as a tourist destination! Tocumen airport is probably one of the best in the whole Latin America with many direct connections to Europe, North and South America. If arriving from Europe is it worth spending four days in Panama City and continue to Cartagena or Quito in South America?
If so there should one stay in Panama City? Ancon hill there American staff lived during the time the Panama Canal was run by Americans? In old well maintained Casco Viejo with the 1600 century old houses? Stay in centrally located El Cangrejo with wonderful restaurants and affordable hotels? Calzada de Amador the causeway with great restaurants and easy access to Panama Canal? Punta Paitilla the smartest parts of the city there most of the American lives in Panama City?
These wonderfully dressed Embera tribes women can be seen on Avenida Central from Plaza Cinco de Mayo walking towards Casco Veijo. If you stay in a bed and breakfast accommodation in Ancon Hill you need to take a taxi to Plaza Cinco de Mayo it´s not advisable to walk through Caledonia. If staying in El Cangrejo walk to nearest Metro station and take the subway to Estación 5 de Mayo and walk to the plaza. From Calzada de Amador or Punta Paitilla a taxi is needed to Plaza Cinco de Mayo.
The rain has finished the umbrella is folded and the tribes women is walking home again. We continue walking Avenida Central all the way down to 1600 century old houses of Casco Veijo. The houses are very well maintained and a night in a boutique hotel can be a rewarding experience although an expensive one.
A visit to René Cafe on Calle 7 Este on the north side of the cathedral is a must. The set lunch they offer is a great deal. Other cafés had a sign come in and taste the world best coffee. Panamanian coffee is world famous and sold for extraordinary high prices. The coffee growing area of Panama is Boquete in northern part of the country near the Costa Rican border.
The Panama hat is world famous however these hats are normally produced in Ecuador! But there is still hat production in Panama Penonomé, La Pintada or Chitre are the places for such productions. The real Panama hat is still available but they are expensive!
The newly build Cinta Costera sweeps along the edge of Panama bay from Punta Paitilla to El Chorillo. This grand avenue offers some of Panama City’s most spectacular views. If one has chosen to stay in El Cangrejo it is about ten to fifth teen minutes walking down to Cinta Costera.
The walking time to Punta Paitilla are only a few minutes from the bridge passing over Corridor Sur. Walking to El Chorillo will take several hours! It is indeed possible to continue out to Calzada de Amador but there is no good walkable connection from El Chorillo it is best to take a Taxi for a few kilometers. Cinta Costera lives up during weekends a lot of Panamanians visit this area for running or cycling. Even in the evening there are many locals on Cinta Costera particularly around Casco Viejo for great night views of the old houses. There is a restaurant area some there near Plaza Cinco de Mayo.
Calazda de Amador was a fantastic area during the weekend the view towards Panama City in the late afternoon sun is incredible. The wonderful Palm avenue following the causeway do not exist anymore the side towards Panama City has been cut down and are place of work for a future shipyard. However the wonderful views towards Bridge over America still do exist. I considered staying at a hotel on Calzada de Amador luckily I changed my mind and stayed in El Cangrejo instead near two of my favorite restaurants Siete Mares and Ginza Steak house. The Toscana Inn was a very nice hotel with unbelievable low season price.
Calzada de Amador causeway was built to protect the inlet to the Panama Canal. If you are interested in a journey on the Panama Canal or a boat tour to Isla Taboga the boats leaves from the jetty in Calzada de Amador. It is even possible to go by boat to Contadora Island but I do recommend going with Trumps ferries leaving from Trumps Tower instead.
The mighty Bridge of the Americas is the starting point for a journey into the Panama Canal. The bridge was built between 1959 and 1962. The clearance under the bridge is 61.3 meter at high tide. The bridge has a total length of 1654 meters, the main span measures 344 meter and the tied arch 259 meters.
If you are a first time visitor to Panama City and interested in seeing the Panama Canal. I do recommend staying at bed and breakfast house on Ancon hill. One is closed to Balboa and the canal authorities’ main building with the Goethals monument. The Miraflor lock can be reached with a short taxi ride. If one is fit one can even walk down to Calzada de Amador. Walk around a have a look at all the fantastic wooded building around Ancon hill. Finish off with a walk up to the very top for wonderful views and even some birding. Humming birds can be seen on Ancon Hill.
The Goethal monument is raised for chief engineer Major General George W Goethal who finished the canal project successfully. However Goethal himself thought the honor belongs to chief engineer John Stevens since he had only continued the predecessors work. But exhausted John Stevens resigned and forced Theodore Roosevelt to find another chief engineer.
The project to build the Panama Canal is probably one of the greatest of the humanity. It was completed more than 100 years ago and still brings in millions of US Dollars each year. I can only remember one more project older than 100 years which still brings in millions of US Dollar each year it is the Suez Canal. Ferdinand de Lesseps started up both projects the Suez Canal was a formidable success and Ferdinand de Lesseps become a hero in France. The Panama Canal was an incredible disaster and Ferdinand de Lesseps ended up in prison. I do recommend reading David McCullough book “The path between the seas”. The book is old and the English is demanding but the full story is unbelievable.
The biggest Container ship going through Panama Canal pays about 250 000 US Dollar for each tour a cruise ship pays 300 000 US Dollar. A tourist sailing a boat passing the canal pays 800 US Dollar each way. One man has swum the 70 km through the Panama Canal he paid less than a US Dollar. All of them have to pay cash in advance!
Pelicans get a nice dinner each time the Miraflor locks open toward the Pacific Ocean. All the fresh water running out of the lock decreases the salt in the sea water and kills fishes which float up onto the water surface.
If one stay at a bed and breakfast place in Ancon hill one should walk up to see the view over Panama City and Casco Viejo. There is humming birds in the bushes these birds is very small about a size of a thumb. One disadvantage of staying at a bed and breakfast in Ancon Hill is that one needs to tell the taxi driver the way to your lodging! The taxi drivers don’t know the way even if you give them the full address. It is necessary walk around and memorizes all the streets all the way down to the main roads. It is well worth doing so since Ancon hill is one of the most beautiful places of all Panama City!
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