Discover Panamá City in 5 Days
Arts & Culture
Is time travel possible? Well, don’t miss out on visiting Panamá. From Casco Viejo, with its cobblestone streets, colonial houses and local charm, to downtown Panamá, where modern architecture leads you through a maze of buildings and twisting constructions, you will be able to enjoy the country's history within the span of a few blocks. Panamá is a historic country and foodie paradise with beautiful white-sand beaches, turquoise waters and dense rainforests that will allow you to enjoy a relaxing vacation, all while getting to know its Central American culture and history.
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Where to stay
American Trade Hotel
Panama City's stylish and well-located mainstay, with handsome accommodations and a hip coffee shop.
In Panama City’s vibrant Casco Viejo neighborhood, a true boutique gem with homey rooms, city views and a buzzing ground-floor restaurant.
Waldorf Astoria Panama
High-end hotel set in a modern tower in Panama City's financial district located just 10 minutes away from historic Casco Viejo.
$100 hotel / resort credit.
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Day 1: Arrive in Panamá City
Once you land in Panamá City and check into your hotel, take the rest of the day to enjoy Casco Viejo. If you decided to book the American Trade Hotel, Las Clementinas or Casa Arias, you will find yourself in the center of Casco Viejo and will have the best location possible for visiting historic sites.
From Plaza Herrera you can make your way to the Monumento al Canal de Panamá (Monument to the Panama Canal) and then to the Plazoleta Media Baluarte, where you will enjoy amazing views of the ocean, quaint colonial houses and picturesque parks. If you want some dinner, head to Madre Pizza or Santa Rita.
Tip: If you arrive after 11:00 am or before 3:00 pm, choose a nice rooftop to have lunch and some drinks, and then walk to Casco when the sun is not at its highest. Lazotea Restaurant & Rooftop and Casa Casco are great choices.
Day 2: Panamá Canal and Old Panamá
Wake up and enjoy a delicious breakfast before grabbing an uber to Panamá Canal. You can walk through the Miraflores Visitors Center by yourself, but if you want in-depth historical and operational information about the canal, book a tour through the Panama Canal's website. In both cases, prepare to be amazed at the workings of the canal, and do not forget your camera.
After your tour at the Panamá Canal, make your way to Azahar, a high-end restaurant that lies between the Panamá Canal and old Panamá. Here, you can enjoy delicious food, along with amazing views from the patio. After you finish your lunch, get a coffee as an apéritif, because you will be walking in the afternoon.
Grab an uber to Old Panamá, which used to be the equivalent to downtown Panamá, the country's vibrant center of life, until Henry Morgan, the English pirate, laid siege to the town. Enjoy walking through the ruins and remember to take water and wear sunscreen. Then, make your way back to Casco and visit Tantalo for well-crafted cocktails.
Tip: The best breakfast spots in Casco are Mahalo, American Trade Hotel and Las Clementinas. Uber is best for transportation. Taxi drivers in Panamá do not have government-defined tariffs, and can become quite expensive.
Day 3 & 4: San Blas island hopping
You can book a myriad of day tours to San Blas, but going just for one day is too short to truly enjoy and experience the beautiful beaches, get to know the Kuna culture and eat delicious seafood. The two-day sailboat tour is a fabulous option:
Wake up nice and early. At 5:00 am, you will get picked up at your hotel and taken to Port Capri. From the port you will take a speedboat to the sailboat, where you can rest and relax. You will spend the following days visiting Cayo Limones and Cayos Nasargandub, where you can snorkel, fish and enjoy laid-back days on the beach.
Tip: The car transporting you to the port will stop to get food or coffee. If you have special preferences, pack a few treats for the road. You will be sleeping in the sailboat, so do not forget to bring all the essentials and if possible, a water-resistant bag.
Day 5: Downtown Panamá and Cinta Costera
You will have a delicious breakfast on board before heading back to your hotel. Depending on your taste, you can go shop at Multiplaza, take in the modern architecture of downtown Panamá or have lunch at Avantika.
If you are not interested in shopping, you can have lunch at Fonda Lo Que Hay, a typical Panamanian restaurant, grab a coffee and make your way to the Cinta Costera. Rent a bicycle and enjoy the sun and sights.
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