We arrived in Panama City in the early morning, around 6 am, on a direct flight from Denver, Colorado. We took an Uber from the airport to our Hostel — Luna’s Castle Hotel. I had very little expectations coming into Panama City, as I did not know much about the history or culture of the country. We only stayed in Panama for one night before flying out to Colombia, so we tried to pack in as much sightseeing and adventuring as possible during our limited time.
The “main event” (and perhaps most touristy activity we could do) was seeing the Panama Canal. Again, I honestly do not really know what I was expecting but it was not the most exciting attraction. You basically go to the canal, about a 30 minute taxi outside of the city, and see a boat slowly passing through the locks. The museum is quite interesting, though, as there is a lot of important history tied to the development of the structure.
From the canal, we took a cab to the other side of the city to visit the archaeological site of Panamá Viejo. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It costs like $5 to walk around and explore the ancient ruins. I think worth it and you will get to learn some interesting history.
Everything in Panama is fairly inexpensive. We stayed in Casco Viejo — the touristy “old city” that has lots of restaurants and rooftop bars along the water. The food is pretty solid — mainly fried plantains, rices, and meats.
Panama’s skyline is unexpectedly vast and modern looking. There are tons of casinos and skyscrapers that certainly took me by surprise.
We went to the fish market. It was fine, honestly not that exciting but then again I do not love fish.
Overall, I thought going to Panama City on the way to South America was worth doing but I was not in love with the area. I definitely think we did mainly touristy things and could have further explored the nature and local areas further.