Panama City – Best things to do at Panama’s capital.
Best things to do in Panama City Panama; Visit the Canal at The Miraflores locks, spend time at Panama Viejo or Old Panama, venture into the Casco Viejo neighborhood, visit The Biomuseo Museum, hang out at The Metropolitan Natural Park, admire The Metropolitan Cathedral, and much more.
About Panama City Panama
Panama City is the most cosmopolitan and modern city in Central America. This vibrant metropolis is a mix of the old historic buildings with the new modern highrises.
Panama City is the center of the Central American Financial services and the main hub that connects South America with North America. However, this modern city is more than that.
On the one hand, you have the modern city with its skyscrapers, casinos, the canal, trendy neighborhoods, Contemporary Museum, and modern cuisine. But on the other hand, you have the old Panama with its colonial churches, cobblestone streets, colonial mansions, and typical local food.
Panama’s capital has plenty of attractions and experiences to offer to both visitors and locals. With so much to choose from, here are the best things to do in Panama City.
The Panama Canal – The Miraflores locks
Without a doubt, the Canal is the most visited place in Panama. This 48 miles longs waterway connects the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans; and is one of the most important places for commercial traffic in the world. Since the Canal increased its capacity, over 14,000 ships transit it every year.
One of the best locations in Panama City to learn about the Panama Canal history and to see how it works is the Miraflores Locks and Visitors Center. At this unique location, you can observe the transiting of ships as they cross the Canal. Furthermore, the exhibition or small museum will explain the story of the Panama canal and will help by complement the experience.
Panama Viejo “Old Panama”
Panama Viejo is located in the suburbs of modern Panama City; and it has about 57 acres of building remains, where visitors can understand and appreciate its history.
Today, Panama Viejo is a UNESCO heritage site; and the ruins are the oldest monument you will find in Panama City. Furthermore, Panama Viejo is one of the most well funded archaeological sites in the country; this is due in large part to the great cultural value it adds to the city,
Panama Viejo has a visitor center which houses one of the best handicraft markets in the city; and a two-story museum for visitors to enjoy.
Casco Viejo, a World Heritage Site since 1997 is the historic district of Panama City. This is the hippest neighborhood in Panama City, but also the smallest with only four avenues.
The Casco Viejo neighborhood was controlled and patrolled by gangs; and because of that visitors avoided venturing into it. However, today this area is the most trendy in town. Furthermore, because of its beautiful colonial mansions, art galleries, and gastronomy; it is an absolute must see while in Panama City.
Take the time and walk the cobblestone streets and explore colorful colonial mansions, the Metropolitan Cathedral, beautiful churches, and some of the most significant architectural landmarks of Panama.
The Biomuseo is the most famous Museum in Panama, it was designed by the famous architect Frank Gehry. The Museum has eight galleries tracing the origins of the Panamanian isthmus and its impact on the planet’s biodiversity.
The Biomuseo highlights the natural and cultural history of Panama by examining human presence throughout time. Its galleries explain the story of how the rise of the Panamanian isthmus changed the world.
At the Biomuseo you will find eight galleries as permanent exhibits, a public atrium, space for temporary exhibitions, and a botanical garden.
The Museum attracts many tourists and helps grow Panama’s cultural attractions.
The Metropolitan Natural Park
Additionally, despite being located in an urban location, this park perfect for nature lovers; it has excellent hiking trails, an extraordinary amount of wildlife, and a great diversity of flora and fauna.
The park protects all kinds of living creatures such as many species of birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians.
The park’s trails are impressive. The Mono Tití trail ascends to the top of Cedar’s Hill and offers remarkable views of Panama City. The Cienaguita trail also leads to the lookout, but it is a longer and more strenuous hike. The Caoboas trail has steep portions and also includes an observational area that looks out over the city and the bay.
The Metropolitan Cathedral at Panama City
The Metropolitan Cathedral in Panama City is one of the oldest colonial churches in Central America. The Baroque architecture style church is one of the main attractions in the historic district of Casco Viejo.
Standing in front of the church, you will be able to admire the 2 towers, one of each side of the main wooden entrance. The towers are magnificent structures, encrusted with mother of pearl from the Pearl Islands nearby. Additionally, the interior of the cathedral is vast and gorgeously furnished.
If you are stopping by Casco Viejo, make plans to stop by and tour the Metropolitan Cathedral grounds; it’s definitely worth a visit.
Soberania National Park in Panama City
The Soberania National Park is located about 45 minutes from Panama City. Even though the park is near the modern Panama city; visitors to the park will feel like they are worlds away hiking through the pristine rainforest of the park.
Just a quick drive away from the city center, visitors will get a spectacular jungle experience and see monkeys, parrots, jaguars, and eagles. The 55,000 acres of the park extends along the shores of the Panama Canal and protect a bounty of important species.
Visitors can also walk along a section of the historic Las Cruces Trai. This trail dates back to the 16th century when it was used by the Spanish to transport gold across Panama.
To sum up, Panama city is more than the financial center of Panama and Central America. At this city, there are plenty of things to do. Visit the capital, and you will get a combination of the modern with the old.