What to do in Panama – A list of the best things to do in Panama
Enjoying life does not have cost much and you can enjoy life on a little budget. There are quite a lot of things you can do in Panama. Panama is officially called the Republic of Panama which is a country in Central America. Bordered to its Western part are Costa Rica, South America Colombia to the southeast, the Caribbean Sea to the north and the Pacific Ocean to the south.
The capital which invariably is the largest city is Panama City, whose metropolitan area is home to nearly half of the country’s 4 million people.There are a lot of things you can do to enjoy yourself in Panama but I would highlight eight here.
When you get to Panama, one thing you absolutely have to see is the Panama Canal. It is an artificial 48-mile waterway that connects the Atlantic Ocean with the Pacific Ocean.
The Canal often referred to as one of the seven wonders of the world cuts across the Isthmus of Panama and is an important route for international maritime trade.You may cruise the canal to link up to Gatun Lake for beautiful sightseeing.
The first Panama City, which began with only 100 settlers in the early 1500s is Panama Viejo which has been named as a UNESCO site. Due to an error of omission or commission, most tourists don’t venture to this part of Panama’s capital, because the site is occupied with ruins.
Panama Viejo prospered as a hub while Spanish conquistadors plundered the New World. by the time Captain Morgan sacked and burned it in 1671, it had grown to over 10,000 people.
You can walk among the ruins, explore what’s left of the church and climb the bell tower for a little price and also you can branch the nearby museum which has a variety of relicsrelics—many precolumbian—and a model of what the original city looked like in its heyday.
Parque Natural Metropolitano or Metropolitan Natural Park
The only wildlife park in the city is located on the edge of Panama City.With four trails to explore and a small nature center, you can explore and see a great variety of plants, insects, animals, and birds without actually driving out of the city. Some animals present there are mono titi monkeys, sloths, and basilisks.
You can also hike to Cedar Hill Lookout Point for a great view of the Amador Causeway, Pacific, the Bridge of the Americas, the Panama Canal entrance on the Pacific side, Ancon Hill, and an incredible panoramic view of Panama City.
Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and Amador Causeway
If there is one place to sloths close up with fabulous nature center, it is the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute.This is the only bureau of the Smithsonian based outside of the United States and is dedicated to understanding biological diversity.
It has been dubbed “an open-air museum because it focuses mainly on marine science and education, conservation and interpretation of marine coastal environments.” Located there are different hands-on aquatic tanks, video room, freshwater and marine aquaria and also you can view ships entering the Canal from the point.
Amador, on the other hand, is a series of four islands that were built from all the dirt they dredged while they built the Panama Canal. The one-lane road that connected the islands has been destroyed and replaced with a two-lane boulevard with an adjacent bicycle/jogging path.
The area used to be the recreational area for military units but off-limits to the indigenes.
Since Panama took over the Amador, the area has become a major entertainment destination with different port facilities, nightlife, marinas, hotels, shopping, and restaurants. Also located there are a huge Figali Convention Center and a Biodiversity Museum.
Miraflores Visitor Center
It is a four-story museum that offers a vivid view of the Miraflores locks where you get the chance to see the ships cruise by and also a place where you can get the history of Panama in full dose.
The museum is affordable, with all-inclusive tickets priced under fifteen dollars, and they offer information in both Spanish and English. For those interested in the Panama Canal, the Miraflores Visitor Center is a must-see.
Enjoy the culture
Even though there are a lot of side attractions and places to visit in Panama, it won’t be bad if you explore the culture of the Panama people. To really get a feel of the city and people, don’t just rush off to tourist places. At times try to do nothing but relax.
There are a whole lot of restaurants, cafes, and bars in Casca, in fact, Casco is one of the favorite places for that. Walk around, see the street life, enjoy the street music, see the children playing and occasionally cats. There are Molas (handicrafts created and sold by Guna Yala women), clothing, kitchenware, a lot of inexpensive souvenirs that you can take home from your Panama visit.
Some of the women are willing to negotiate a bit if you are buying a quantity to take home.