Panama City, Panama
Panama City is one of the most multicultural capitals in Central America. While exploring this incredible city, visitors are treated to the best of both worlds; they can venture through vibrant and urbanised streets, take in visions of casinos and waterfront skyscrapers, and enjoy thriving historical sites.
For a look into the past, tourists flock to the district of Casco Viejo. This World Heritage Site is full of hidden gems, including ruins, a significant cathedral, grand houses and a presidential palace to name a few.
As you explore Panama City, you can choose from a great range of restaurants, cafés and bars, and you can purchase keepsakes at handicraft markets. When you’re looking for some relaxation, head down to Esteban Huertas Promenade. Here, you can watch the ships come into Panama Canal and sit back and relax as the locals and other tourists bustle by.
Popular cruise lines that frequent the port in Panama City include Tauck, Paul Gauguin Cruises, and Un-Cruise Adventures.
Cruise ships dock in the Port of Balboa and passengers can take a bus or a taxi into Panama City, which is around 10 kilometres away.
Facilities nearby include:
Restaurants and cafés
How to Get Around
When getting around Panama City, visitors typically rely on taxis and buses. Some areas can be explored on foot, especially throughout Panama City’s historic district, Casco Viejo.
Travel times from the port:
It is a 14 minute journey to Las Bóvedas
It is a 13 minute journey to the Palace of Herons
It is a 13 minute journey to the Metropolitan Cathedral
It is a 13 minute journey to Panama Canal Museum.
Currency – Panama City businesses use the balboa (B/), which is tied to the United States dollar (USD$). Panama does not produce banknotes for the balboa, using United States dollar bills instead. Balboa coins come in denominations of 1 and 5 centesimos and B/.1/10, B/.¼, B/.½, B/.1 and B/.2. United State banknotes are available in denominations of $1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100.
Time Zone – Panama City falls under Eastern Standard Time (EST), which puts it 5 hours behind Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). Daylight Savings Time is currently not observed.
Weather – Panama City’s weather is influenced by its tropical savanna climate. Throughout the year, the city observes high temperatures that range from 24 to 32 degrees Celsius. The rainy season stretches from April right until November, with October being the wettest month.
Panama Canal Museum – Situated inside a restored building in Plaza Catedral is Panama Canal Museum. It is home to a great collection of artefacts and an extensive history on how Panama grew to be what it is today. If you know some Spanish, you’ll have no trouble understanding the signposts throughout the showrooms. English-speaking tour guides can take visitors around, and self-guided audio tours are another popular option.
The Palace of Herons – Also known as the ‘White House of Panama’, the Palace of Herons is a beautiful place to stop by to see how past centuries have shaped the culture of Panama and the building itself. Constructed in 1673, the Palace of the Herons has been home to many prominent figures, including the Spanish governor. It has also been the prime location for a royal Spanish winery, a school and a warehouse. Panamanian guards stand by in the grounds to ensure a high level of security, which proves to be quite a sight in itself.
Casco Viejo – Pay a visit to Panama City’s historic district, Casco Viejo. Declared as a World Heritage Site in 1997, the history of the neighbourhood dates back centuries with its colonial walls and art deco buildings. It has become a popular tourist spot, especially due to its local attractions. The Panama Canal Museum is one spot frequented by visitors, as well as the National Institute of Culture. It was once a supreme court, but it now hosts theatre performances and concerts. Take a walk along the Esteban Huertas Promenade to watch ships enter the Panama Canal and purchase souvenirs from local street vendors.
The Metropolitan Cathedral – Take in Spanish architecture while visiting one of the largest and most important cathedrals in Panama. Built in stages from 1674 to 1796, the cathedral has been the place for a few significant cultural events, including the declaration that Panama was independent from Spain, as well as the country becoming an independent republic. Inside the main entrance, visitors are treated to stone carvings on the walls. In 2003, it was restored and is now a popular tourist hotspot.