Spotlight on Panama City
Famous for its role in shipping Peruvian gold to Spain hundreds of years ago, Panama City is still rich with life. From the energy in the streets and cafés, to the fun beaches, there’s always something on offer for travellers.
Whether you want to relax or take advantage of the adventures on offer, Panama City may be your next dream destination.
If you’re a history buff (or even just fascinated by pirates and conquistadors), you’ll love the story of Panamá Viejo, the old capital.
Spanish conquistador Pedro Arias Dávila founded the city in 1519 as the first city along the Pacific coast of the Americas. It became an essential trading post for transporting gold back to Spain for 152 years. As tensions grew between Spain and England, Henry Morgan (an English privateer) was tasked with pillaging and destroying Panama Viejo, which he did in 1671 with a devastating fleet of over 30 ships and 2,000 buccaneers.
You can visit the ruins of the city and see firsthand the piratical wrath of Morgan the Terrible – who was later knighted. The capital moved to where Panama City is now, so many of the walls from old buildings have remained intact.
The Old Panama Cathedral (Catedral de Nuestra Señora de la Asunción) is the most preserved building. Only the belltower and walls remain, but you can make out its cross-like architecture, which was designed to be a holy sight from heaven.
The beaches in Panama City are a true wonder. It looks as if Poseidon was a lazy baker and left the coasts of Panama covered with flour. If you think you’ll be spending a lot of time at the beach, travel between December and April, when the skies are empty and the water is clear. This is also the perfect time for water activities, like snorkelling and scuba diving.
During the wet season (May to November), Panama City doesn’t slow down – it gets faster. The wet season sees the rivers running at their highest, making white-water rafting an even more exhilarating experience.
Hiking – For beautiful hiking trails, trek through the Metropolitan National Park for an amazing transition from the city into the famously serene rainforests of Panama.
City Sights – Take your feet to the streets and wander past energetic cafés and shops. You’ll pass Spanish colonial buildings and modern Panamanian high-rises. For a nice highlight, visit the National Theatre for its charming architecture – if you keep an eye out, you may even be able to catch a performance.
Nightlife – Famous for their coastal seafood, the restaurants in Panama City offer a plethora of fine dining. After a feast, you can head to one the city’s many casinos or clubs for a drink and live entertainment.
Looking to book a cruise either side of Panama – through the warm Caribbean Sea or North Pacific Ocean? Call our friendly cruise consultants on 1300 769 228 now. Our team of experts can help you find and plan your next cruise trip.