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© 2019 by Michael Jähne Panama 

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WHERE TO GO

First time in Panama? Where can you go? The country is so multifaceted that you can't get to know it in a few weeks. Here is a small start... 

El Casco Viejo: Panama's old town is a World Heritage Site. It is the in-town district with roof-top bars, pubs, hip shops and cool restaurants. 

Calzada de Amador (Causeway): A five kilometer long dam between Panama City and the offshore islands. Good for strolling, cycling or eating out.

Boat trip from Restaurant Fridays de Amador to Isla Taboga: Beautiful flower island with 2 sandy beaches. Crossing every half hour. Wonderful view of the Puente de las Americas, the ships waiting in front of the Panama Canal and the skyline of the city.

Fish Market: Try at least the omnipresent Panamanian Ceviche, a cocktail of marinated fish or seafood.

Shopping Mall Albrock: One of seven shopping malls in Panama City and the largest in Latin America. You can't get 700 shops in a single day. Many restaurants, cinemas and children's attractions.

In the Diskobus through Panama City: Loud, wet and funny. With 12 km/h all-you-can-drink dancing in the pimped bus through the capital. 

Trump-Tower: Photo session at the Panaviera Pool Bar on 66th floor

Panama City

+Surroundings

PANAMA CANAL TOUR

Directly from the viewing platform of the Miraflores locks. Also a train ride along the canal for 15,- $ is recommended.

Parque Natural Metropolitano: Discover the jungle on your doorstep. 1.5 hours to the vantage point, from where you can see the jungle treetops and skyscrapers of the city.

SOBERANIA National Park: Unforgettable ride with the area tram in the rainforest between tropical treetops: Two-hour cable car-like ride.

 

CHAGRES National Park:

Visit to the Emberá Indians, on request with overnight stay, waterfall with bath, or wildwater rafting in the Rio Chagres (tours via aventuraspanama.com). 

Panama-Viejo: Panama's ancient capital. The historic ruins and buildings are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

City tour day ticket for $35.00, double-decker bus, free boarding and deboarding at the stops.

SAN BLAS ISLANDS: The KUNA Indians rule here. Of the 365 islands, 57 are inhabited. White sandy beaches, crystal clear water and coral reefs guarantee a nature experience of a special kind. Visitors pay 10,- $ entrance fee, they are welcomed very friendly. You can also get to the main island by plane from Panama City.

One to multi-day trips are best booked through a travel agency.

COLON FREE TRADE ZONE: The largest free trade zone in the western hemisphere is located at the Caribbean entrance to the Panama Canal, 2000 companies on 2.4 square kilometres.

Arrival from Panama City by train or bus from Monday to Friday.

Everything is safe between the port, train station and "Zone libre". The city of Colon itself is considered one of the few places where you should watch out for crime.

Caribbean coast

and its islands

BOCAS DEL TORO: Some speak of Mallorca of Panama, which is far exaggerated. On the main island there are daily parties of backpackers, but rather the Bocas islands are surfer paradises, tropical idyll and endless beaches.

 

Restaurants and bars are often built into the water on stilts. Great views and a nice atmosphere. Water taxis operate between the islands at reasonable prices. You can also rent a boat with a driver, snorkel between the islands or visit an Indian village on the Isla Bastimiento.

Arrival: Either from Panama City by plane directly to the main island, or with the overland bus to Almirante and from there with the water taxi a half hour drive on the main island. 

RIVIERA PACIFICA is always at the forefront, not only as a preferred residential area or for long-term investments, but also as a holiday paradise:

In Punta Chamé you will find a combination of the charm of a fishing village and the charm of a beach idyll. Gorgona offers some nice beaches, San Carlos counts with the luxury resort Vista Mar Golf Beach & Marina, then follow the beaches Playa Santa Clara, Playa Farallon and Playa Blanca. 


On the way to Pedasí you pass the carnival town of Las Tablas. The whole Azuero peninsula offers beautiful beaches, especially for surfers.

Santa Catalina is also a hotspot for water sports enthusiasts. From here it goes to the former prison island COIBA, an absolute highlight for divers.


BOCA CHICA is in contrast to Bocas del Toro on the Caribbean side not so well known and rather a secret tip. But very expensive. Boat trips to the islands cost ten times more than what is offered by Bocas del Toro. 

Pacific coast 

and its islands

Day trip from David to the Costa Rican border: Huge shopping areas with entrances and exits on both the Panamanian and Costa Rican sides.

Next to the forgotten small town of Puerto Armuelles with its abandoned Fruit Company docks where Chiquita bananas had been loaded. This half-forgotten city sprays the charm of the 1950s.

The road continues along lonely beaches, through the US Oil Pipeline Terminal to the small village of Limones. 

Island excursions from Panama City:

The beautiful ISLA TABOGA was already mentioned under "Panama City". Decide spontaneously for a day trip, because there are almost always shuttle connections here.

But also the PEARL ISLANDS should be presented here. You can fly there or translate with the speedboat. Here you will find above all upscale tourism and the islands are an Eldorado for divers.

BOQUETE: A beautiful place at 1000 meters altitude. All year round spring-like climate. Many Americans live here, there are bars and restaurants of all kinds. From here you can make excursions to the coffee farms in the surrounding area, to waterfalls, to thermal springs.

And enjoy the best Italian espresso of Panama (even if the Americans continue to drink their filter coffee). In Boquete, culture is not neglected either.  The lack of beach proximity is compensated by nearby rivers, where you can enjoy some swimming.

VOLCAN: Only 30 km as the crow flies from Boquete, but separated by the 3'500 meters high volcano Barú, you find the most fertile area of Panama. From here strawberries and all vegetables come fresh from the farms. A road leads from Volcán along the romantic village of Nueva Suiza up to Cerro Punta. Here people eat well and for a good price. The fresh strawberries with whipped cream sauce are a speciality that you shouldn't miss.

The Interior - from rainforest to eternal spring

The entire mountain slopes to the north are largely covered with native dense forest and rainforest. There are countless waterfalls and wild animals. However, the following three recommendations refer to urban areas, so that you have a starting point for your explorations.

El VALLE DE ANTON: The most beautiful village in Panama, in the middle of a volcanic crater at an altitude of 600 metres. This is where the millionaires of Panama City come to their weekend villas, where there is eco-tourism, hundreds of streams, beautiful waterfalls and a thermal spring.

El VALLE DE ANTON: The most beautiful village in Panama, in the middle of a volcanic crater at an altitude of 600 metres. This is where the millionaires of Panama City come to their weekend villas, where there is eco-tourism, hundreds of streams, beautiful waterfalls and a thermal spring.

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