Somehow this city at the heart of international shipping tends to get overlooked within Central American travel. If you are headed to Panama City – either with the excitement of the Canal looming or already over – be sure that it offers so much more than simply connecting two oceans.
1. Walk the Cinta Costera
As all yacht crew know, sometimes it’s nice to get back in touch with green, but also not to stay too far away from the waterfront. The Cinta Costera has this covered; a 7-kilometre path, which connects the old city with the new running alongside the waterfront. This green coastal strip is perfect for an afternoon stroll to get a feel for Panama City and to stretch those tired charter legs.
2. Admire Casco Viejo
The historic quarter of Panama City is full of colourful and colonial style architecture. Small enough to wander around, this charming area is perfect to explore on foot. As a UNESCO protected neighbourhood, the varying stages of restoration on the buildings are evident as you wander around. An upcoming destination it hosts a range of great restaurants, eclectic bars and a handful of boutique hotels for those wanting a night off the yacht.
3. Take a gang tour
To learn more about Casco Viejo and take a different from the average walking tour, check out the Fortaleza gang tour. Once abundant with crime, a rehabilitation program has seen the creation of these tours led by former gang members. Taking you through the streets, telling you their side of the story of how Casco Viejo has developed. The tour takes you to areas, which you may not otherwise come across by yourself.
4. Eat at Maito
Trying the local cuisine is all part of the travel experience and is an enjoyable way escape the crew mess once in a while. Head to Maito when in Panama City, a listed restaurant on Latin Americas 50 best restaurant of 2016 that is not to be missed. The menu is based on local traditions using seasonal produce; the tasting menu in particular is outstanding.
5. Drink at Pedro Mandinga rum bar
For the world’s best mojitos outside of Cuba, head to this bar tucked away in Casco Viejo. The ceiling fans and dark wood interior create a cosy and authentic atmosphere. The happy hour makes it an ideal spot to get out of the heat and enjoy pre-dinner drinks.
6. Check out the skyline
A must do for every city you visit should be a rooftop view and that is no exception for Panama City. Check out Panaviera, just before sunset is the perfect time to take in the stunning views across the city whilst enjoying rooftop cocktails on the 66th floor.