Panama City Travel Guide & Information
Panama City is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Panama. Located at the Pacific entrance of the Panama Canal, Panama City is the political and administrative center of the country. The city was chosen to be the American Capital of Culture for the year 2003. Panama City offers easy cosmopolitan living, a delightful combination of historic and ultra-modern. Best known for being home to the architectural feat called, The Panama Canal, this lively Latin American city is just a stone's throw from some of Central America's richest rainforests.
Travel to Panama City, where visitors can enjoy the modern skyscraper city, the Colonial-era Casco Viejo and the ruins of the original Panama City. Flights to Panama City are your ticket to a city also known as the "Shopping Mecca" with numerous free trade zones. Panama City is a fast paced city with an enviable skyline, all kinds of restaurants and night clubs, boutiques, as well as big department stores and shopping malls.
Besides modern offerings, Panama City embraces its history. Travelers will find buildings that were designed in typical Colonial Baroque style and are representative of a bygone era. Panama City is very multicultural, with large populations from many different parts of the world. Friendly people, shopping complexes, historical landmarks, picturesque landscapes and a vibrant nightlife make Panama City a perfect destination for vacationers of all types and ages.
Things to do in Panama City
Panama City offers visitors an opportunity to explore its heritage by visiting a range of world class museums on variety of topics.
Panama Interoceanic Canal Museum: Opened in 1997, this history museum chronicles the planning, construction and present-day operation of Panama's landmark canal. This museum is located inside the area of Casco Viejo, right off of the main plaza. It has two floors of exhibits located on the 2nd and 3rd floors. The museum depicts the history of the canal covering all aspects related to the construction of the canal and the city, as well as hosting other exhibits.
Museum of Natural Sciences: The permanent exhibition of the Museum of Natural Sciences is focused on educating kids and teens. Some of the most popular exhibits at the museum are local stuffed animals in glass-enclosed displays in their "natural habitat" and large plaster renditions of prehistoric sloths and mastodons. Mounted on the walls of the museum are several African, Asian and American animal heads, including leopards, elephants, grizzly bears, buffalos and wolves, among others.
Museo Antrpologico Reina Torres de Arauz: This is Panama's best anthropology museum, with more than 15,000 pre-Columbian pieces, including artifacts from the Barriles tribe, the earliest residents of Panama until 700 B.C. The museum also boasts an interesting collection of gold huacas, the tiny ceremonial figures buried with indigenous VIPs, as well as more modern pollera dresses and antique household items and farm tools.
When it comes to attractions, Panama City is a traveler’s paradise with plenty of choices to suit every taste and budget.
Palacio de las Garzas: or Herons' Palace is the residence of the President of Panama. The interior courtyard serves as a vestibule and was remodeled in the style of an Andalusian courtyard. The herons roam the courtyard freely. The presence of numerous herons gives the palace its popular name - Heron's Palace. Some of its famous rooms include the Salon Amarillo, where most formal events are held, the Salon de los Tamarindos and the Salon Morisco.
Panama Canal: The so-called "Eighth Wonder of the World" is indisputably Panama's most fascinating and popular attraction. The long canal connects the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, allowing ships to sail through the Continental Divide. Visitors can view ships passing through from any of three observation towers. The "Panama Canal" is a must visit on your vacation to Panama City.
Parque Natural Metropolitano: is a 655-acre rainforest reserve, located within Panama City with more than 2.5 miles of hiking trails. The rainforest setting is home to monkeys, white-tailed deer, sloths and more than 200 species of birds, including orioles, toucans and parakeets. A greenhouse with native orchids, a small museum, a library and a gift shop are other prominent attractions of the park.
Where to Stay in Panama City
Guatemala offers visitors a great variety of accommodation choices, ranging from cheap hotels or 4-Star Hotels Under $99, to extended stay hotels, resorts and youth hostels.
Casco Viejo: is full of charm and history. The area has several buildings filled with French balconies and French architecture fused with Spanish architecture. Elegant bars, restaurants and sidewalk cafes dot the entire area. Highlights of Casco Viejo include the Iglesia de San Jose, Plaza de la Independencia, Plaza de Francia and Plaza Bolívar, and the area around the Palacio de las Garzas, as well as the Arco Chato. The area is home to several hotels to suit all budgets.
El Cangrejo: is one of the most centrally located neighborhoods in the capital city of Panama. There are numerous hotels located in the area. Visitors looking to stay in renowned hotel chains might want to choose this area. The most important aspect of El Cangrejo is its wide variety of restaurants, ranging from Japanese to Italian and Spanish to European, among others. Budget travelers looking to stay in this area can choose to stay in smaller establishments.
Passport & Visa Requirements
For US Citizens:
As per the latest travel information available to Panama City, here are the following passport and visa guidelines to assist you further.
* U.S. citizens traveling by air to and from Panama City must present a valid passport when entering or re-entering the United States.
* As of August 26, 2008, U.S. tourists are allowed to stay in Panama City for 90 days, without extension.
* In case you want to stay longer, a “change of migratory status visa” should be requested through a Panamanian lawyer before the expiration of the 90 days in country.
* • More information on visa types and the necessary steps to take in Panama City is available at the National Migration website.
For Canadian Citizens:
* A valid Canadian passport is required for Canadians intending to visit Panama City.
* The passport must be valid for at least six months beyond the date of your expected departure from the country.
* Canadians must also be in possession of a visa or a tourist card.
* Visitors to Panama City are required to have the equivalent of US$500 or a credit card, plus a return or onward ticket.
This requirement applies to all travelers, regardless of age, including children.
We recommend that you check the latest travel alerts, various airlines baggage policies and travel safety tips, so that you do not miss out on any of the fun while visiting Panama City .
*Kindly note that we take the utmost care in providing you with correct information at all times. However, the passport and visa regulations are subject to change and we strongly urge you to check the requirements directly with the US passport office and, or the Canadian Passport Office before traveling.
When to visit Panama City
The city has less variation in temperature throughout the year and this is the prime reason that tourists flock to Panama City round the year.
The best time to visit Panama City is from mid-December to mid-April when the weather is generally pleasant.
Budget travelers looking for cheap hotels and discounted airline tickets might want to book travel during the months of September and October.
Planning your Visit:
High season: (Mid December to April)
Low season: (September to November)
Panama City Weather
Panama City enjoys a pleasant year-round climate with hot, humid summers and warm winters. The city experiences a Tropical Equatorial climate with a wet season from May to December and a dry season from January to April.
* The summer months in Panama City are typically hot and sunny, with a fairly humid climate and cooler evenings.
* Rainy weather in Panama City is spread throughout the year, although more rain falls occur during the summer months.
Currency and Language:
If you have U.S. dollars or U.S. traveler's checks, then there is no need to exchange currency.
* The official language is Spanish.