The most effective neighborhoods in Panama Metropolis buzz with power

From the cobbled streets of Casco Viejo to the modern skyscrapers of the downtown enterprise district, Panama’s cosmopolitan capital has many faces. Panama Metropolis is a vibrant hub for historical past, enterprise and tradition – there’s even a rainforest throughout the metropolis limits.

However the place must you base your self in Panama Metropolis? Whether or not you are on the lookout for a celebration evening, locavore treats, family-friendly enjoyable, a slice of colonial historical past, or the comforts of a up to date metropolis, you will discover it within the following 5 neighborhoods.

Immerse your self in the very best experiences the world has to supply with our e-mail e-newsletter delivered weekly into your inbox.

Casco Viejo

Greatest for colonial structure, tradition and cocktails

Relationship again to 1673, compact Casco Viejo is the town’s cultural coronary heart – if you happen to solely go to one neighborhood, make it this one! As soon as a no-go zone, Casco Viejo’s historic, pastel-colored mansions have been restored and now home fashionable boutiques such because the American Commerce Resort and hip hostels similar to Selina.

Casco’s cobbled streets have been made for idle wandering. Dip into the incense-scented Iglesia de San José and marvel at its glittering golden altar, or people-watch within the Plaza de la Independencia whereas slurping an artisan ice cream from Benissimo.

Uncover Panama’s distinctive textile artwork on the Museo de la Mola and store for regionally made crafts on the Karavan Gallery, then break for a Geisha espresso – one of many world’s best and most costly brews – on the vegan-friendly Sisu Coffee Studio.

At sunset, head to a rooftop bar – Tántalo is a long-time favourite for a happy-hour cocktail – earlier than some artistic Panamanian fusion fare at Fonda Lo Que Hay. Then dance the evening away at CasaCasco or Teatro Amador.

The Frank Gehry-designed Biomuseo in Amador is a putting jumble of shapes and colours © GoGri / Shutterstock


Greatest for family-friendly actions and world-class museums

To the south of the town, Amador’s namesake causeway juts into the bay, with views over the skyscraping metropolis skyline on one aspect, and views of supersized ships crusing beneath the Bridge of the Americas as they enter and exit the Panama Canal on the opposite. 

Created from rocks unearthed through the canal’s development, this skinny sliver of land has been revitalized and is now a agency favourite with native households and a bridge to the pocket-sized islands of Culebra, Perico, Naos and Flamenco.

Begin your journey alongside the 6km (3.7-mile) causeway by renting a motorbike from Bicicletas Moses. Drop into the putting, Frank Gehry-designed BioMuseo to study Panama’s spectacular biodiversity, earlier than stopping off for a seafood feast on the ever-popular Mi Ranchito on Isla Naos when you drink within the views.

To get energetic, take to the water with StandUp Panama which caters to paddle boarders of all ranges, together with folks with disabilities. Alternatively, hop on the ferry for the 30-minute journey to volcanic Isla Taboga, the historic Island of Flowers, for a style of tropical island life (organize actions at Taboga Tour Middle).

Ceviche served in a coconut shell in Panama
The neighborhood of San Francisco is a superb place to pattern native treats similar to ceviche © ScarletRE / Shutterstock

San Francisco

Greatest for foodies and native flavors

In the midst of the metropolis, sprawling San Francisco is a favourite cease for native foodies. It’s the house base for lots of the metropolis’s high meals vehicles, and on the metropolis’s first designated meals truck park, Urbano67, you will discover all the things from sticky ribs to well-stuffed tacos, craft beer to cocktails, and dwell music to artisan market stalls.

For extra tasty eats, meals truck-turned-restaurant Esa Flaca Rica serves up flavorful meaty and veggie burgers. There’s additionally a department of El Trapiche serving its in style menu of reasonably priced and filling Panamanian fare. In the meantime caffeine-lovers can pattern the nation’s greatest espresso at Cafe Unido.

You possibly can burn off these further energy on the alfresco gyms and on the jogging trails of Parque Recreativo Omar, one of many metropolis’s inexperienced lungs, which hosts free open-air live shows and artwork exhibitions in summer time.

Woman look at the Panama City skyline from Cerro Ancon
Cerro Ancón presents sweeping views over the skyscrapers of downtown Panama Metropolis © DavorLovincic / iStockphoto / Getty Photographs


Greatest for inexperienced areas and modern artwork

A part of the previous Canal Zone, the tranquil residential neighborhood of Ancón is house to the town’s highest level, Cerro Ancón which rises to 200m (650ft) above sea degree, with an iconic Panama flag – stated to be bigger than a basketball courtroom – fluttering at its peak.

Set your alarm and hit the paved path to the summit, winding up slopes thick with rainforest vegetation and sprinkled with tropical flowers. Preserve your eyes peeled for slow-moving sloths, diminutive Geoffroy’s tamarin monkeys and raccoon-like coatis. Alongside wildlife encounters, you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views over the tiled rooftops of Casco and downtown’s glowing steel-and-glass towers.

For an artwork repair, cease off on the imposing Panama Canal Administration Constructing on the hill’s western slope to see the highly effective murals depicting the epic battle to construct the canal. Then head east to the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo (MAC Panamá), which showcases native and Latin American artwork, with an attention-grabbing line-up of short-term exhibitions. 

A woman exercising on the Cinta Costera in Panama City
Locals collect on the Cinta Costera each morning to train and absorb the views © diego_cervo / iStockphoto / Getty Photographs

Punta Pacifica

Greatest for glitzy inns and glam retailers

Punta Pacifica is among the metropolis’s latest and most unique neighborhoods, the place eye-wateringly costly high-rise condos stand shoulder-to-shoulder on a petite peninsula overlooking the ocean. There are top-notch procuring and worldwide eating places to match, however alongside designer shops, the Multiplaza Mall has round 50 eateries to go well with all budgets.

For sea views, stroll all the way down to Cinta Costera, which hugs the coast so far as Casco Viejo, and runs parallel to Avenida Balboa. Each Sunday morning, the beltway is reworked right into a ciclovía (cycleway), so rent a motorbike and be a part of the throng of riders. Behind Punta Pacific are the full of life, multicultural barrios of Obarrio and El Cangrejo, providing extra wallet-friendly lodging.

Should you’re not staying on the sail-shaped JW Marriott, you may get a style of the showstopping views at Panaviera, stated to be the very best rooftop bar in Central America. Alternatively, attempt to bag your self a luxe Airbnb, the place you’ll be able to watch the twinkling lights of ships as they wait to enter the canal.