Our Opinion of Panama
Panama is one of the fastest growing tourism destinations in Latin America. Panama is gaining popularity as a premier destination for ecotourism, retirement and for its cosmopolitan lifestyle. The greatest asset of Panama is its diversity of activities, which make it absolutely worth a visit.
Panama city, the capital, is lively, modern, cosmopolitan, and fast moving. Hip and smart bars and restaurants, great shopping, beautiful Casco Viejo, Old Panama ruins, and the metropolitan park all make Panama City a destination unlike any other. The Panama Canal, one of the Eight Wonders of the World, is one of the most fascinating sites to see in ones life time. With the beaches and coral reefs of the Caribbean Sea, and the more playful waters of the Pacific Ocean, sun seekers are sure to find an ideal
Panama is a country about to be discovered, being renovated as investors discover the old town's appeal. The first thing you see in Panama's skyline is the contrast between the old and the new. The metropolitan Panama City proudly displays it's tall and modern buildings right along side it's incredible Colonial style mansions of Casco Viejo. Attractions include Panama Viejo (Old Panama), a site with the ruins of the original 16th century Panama City and the Panama Canal, once referred to as One of the seven wonders of the modern world.
You will find an array of restaurants, a lot of small shops as well as big department stores and shopping malls. By night-time Panama City is full of energy and excitement, with unlimited options. Whether it's a cultural night at the theatre or a night visiting bars and clubs, you're going to have a great time.
Things to know about Panama, Panama Vacations
Activities & SportsShopping
When travelling to the beaches outside Panama City, visitors will be able to pick from a multitude water sport activities. Among the possible activities, you will find swimming, sailing, boating, surfing, windsurfing and kayaking. Several companies offer deep sea fishing excursions. The many marine parks are worth exploring while snorkelling and scuba diving.
The rainforests are best explored by horse riding, hiking and tree canopy adventures. A few establishments in the city offer bicycle rentals as well.
Panama is proud to offer some of the golf courses in all of Central America. There are six golf courses on the isthmus. The Coronado Beach Country Club is an 18-hole par 72 course offering 7,092 yards for professionals. The beautiful Summit Golf Resort consists of two golf courses, the first of which is an 18-hole course and the second is a children's special course with 6 holes. It also is the only golf course in Latin America with a computerized GPS Pro Shot System. Also popular is the Mantaray Golf Club of Costa Blanca Villas in Farallon. Dining & Nightlife
This city offers a wide variety of nightlife spots that includes bars, discos, pubs, casinos, live music performances or movie theatres. Your best bet is to head out in one of the following districts: the business district, the Casco Viejo, the historic Spanish Colonial sector and the Amador Causeway.
Great bars include The Wine Bar, El Pavo Real (a British pub), La Casona de las Brujas and Casablanca Friday and Saturday nights.
If you want to dance the night away in a hip discotheque then you should try Unplugged, Oz, S6IS, Traffic, Liquid, Moods and Next.
Gambling enthusiasts will rejoice in one of the city's many casinos. The largest casinos are the Fiesta Casino (El Panama Hotel), the Crown Casino (Caesar Park Hotel) and the Veneto Casino (Veneto Hotel). If horse races is your game, then check out the Presidente Jose A. Remon track.
Panama City has a good selection of restaurants, even international fare. Some suggestions include:
Cafe Pomodoro, a very popular Italian restaurant
El Trapiche, which serves traditional Panamanian dishes
Las Bovedas, located within the Casco Viejos, offers French dishes
Chalet Suiso, for steak or fondue
La Cocotte, serving French cuisine
Madam Chang, presents inventive Chinese dishes
Tinajas, for its Panamanian food and traditional dance shows
Panama's geographical location has always made it an importance commerce center. Its no wonder visitors will find an incredible diversity of shops and all the international brands.
The capital counts several shopping districts such as the Via Espana and Central Avenue. Modern shopping malls include the Multiplaza Pacific, the Multicentro, the Albrook Mall and the Los Pueblos. And of course the Free Zone, located 45 minutes away in Colon, is the world's largest free zone and duty free shopping area.
Languages: Spanish, English is spoken fluently
Currency: US dollar and the Balboa
Climate: Panama City is at sea level, so the climate is quite warm and humid at times, with a dry season from December to April and a rainy season from May to November. The average daily high temperature is 30° C, and the average daily low is 24° C.
Electricity: 120 V, 60Hz
A passport, valid 6 months beyond intended stay, and an ongoing or return ticket are required. Also a Tourist Cards, issued by your airline, is required and is valid for up to 30 days.
International license recommended, foreign driver's licenses are valid for up to 90 days. Must be 25 years old and have a credit card.
Note: The departure tax of around US $20, per person, must be paid when leaving the country.
Note : Hotels and restaurants charge a service fee of 10%. These are usually included in your bill so make sure to inquire first. Sales tax is generally 5% on goods and services, although cars purchase attract a 10% tax.
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