Panama is known the world over for its famous and incredibly important shipping route, the Panama Canal. However, Panama is also a burgeoning vacation destination and retirement locale for thousands of Americans. The largest city in the country, Panama City, offers a plethora of tourist attractions, beautiful weather, and incredible food. More developed than most other countries in Central America, Panama is a great vacation destination for anything from romantic getaways to family vacations. Urban Panamanians are often fluent in English and are eager to help tourists, making Panama more accessible than ever before. When booking a tropical vacation this winter, be sure to research the many attractions Panama City has to offer.
The gleaming skyscrapers of Panama City stand in stark contrast to the ancient Central American and Caribbean influences of the surrounding city. Owned by several nations throughout its history, Panama City is an incredibly diverse city with hundreds of cultures represented in its foods, crafts, and music scene. Although a tourist could spend months exploring the small Isthmus of Panama, the heart of the attractions can be found in the Panama City region. Only a few hours’ flight from most American airline hubs, Panama City is extremely easy to reach, and is often the destination of deals on airplane tickets. Visas are built into the prices of plane tickets from the United States, making entry into the country seamless with the presentation of a passport. Also, note that Panama uses the U.S. dollar as its official currency.
Panama City offers hotel accommodations equal to those in New York City, but at half the price. American hotel chains like Intercontinental and Marriott have towers in central Panama City, but for a more local experience, stay at the Las Clementinas Chambers. Each room has balconies and views of the Pacific Ocean and the cityscape. Restaurants and cafes serve a variety of food, but often specialize in Panamanian and Cuban dishes. Perhaps the best way to start a morning n Panama City is with a cup of Panamanian coffee and local pastries. Seafood plates and tapas restaurants line many streets, as do several international establishments. The shopping street of Avenida Central provides a great daily walk with very cheap, local vendors down the entire street. Malls abound in central Panama City, making it very cheap and easy to get souvenirs.
No visit to Panama City is complete without a visit to the Panama Canal. The Miraflores Locks are one of the most popular viewpoints of the canal, and even offer a restaurant overlooking the system. A crossing of the canal by boat takes nearly eight hours, so it is out of reach of many travelers. However, for a comfortable and interesting view of the canal, the Panama Railroad runs a train down the length of the canal. The trip takes one day and traverses the canal area as well as the surrounding jungles.
Central America is an intriguing, developing travel destination. Nowhere in the region offers more to do than the nation of Panama and its capital, Panama City. For an exotic destination relatively close to the United States, Panama City is a great choice.