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The Best Things To Do In Panama City Panama

The Best Things To Do In Panama City Panama

The Best Things To Do In Panama City Panama | Travel Beauty Blog

The 15 Best Things To Do In Panama City Panama In A Weekend

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Planning a trip to Panama City? Before we dish out all the nice things to do in Panama City Panama, first things first, you’ll want to brush up on your Spanish. Or at least, learn the basics.

Panama is a Spanish-speaking country and it is important to be able to communicate in the native language.

You don’t have to be a pro or fluent, but should know enough to get by. This is especially important if travelling alone.

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Learn numbers, how to greet people, how to order food, ask for directions and how to take a taxi.

If languages are not your cup of tea then you can download a translator app to your phone. The flip side to that is you would need internet access or wifi.

Related: 11 Best Outfits For The Airport

Another option is to purchase a Spanish phrasebook from Amazon or at your local bookstore ahead of your travel. This one also comes in Kindle and Audiobook formats for remote reading/listening.

Alternatively, Lonely Planet has some nice phasebooks which are also sold on Amazon.

Once you have the language down, you are on your way to an eventful weekend.

Where to Stay

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Photo: The Hilton Garden Inn Hotel
Hilton Garden Inn

If you are on a hotel budget you may wish to stay at Hilton Garden Inn. Not only is it $75 per night but when I first moved to Panama this place was my home for 2.5 months.

The hotel is clean, small, the staff are friendly, customer-service oriented and a lot of them are bilingual. Generally hotel food are more expensive than if they were bought outside. However, the prices there are still acceptable.

The hotel has a standard menu with not too many variations. Breakfast won’t be a problem as you could expect lots of things to choose from and it is complimentary with your stay. 

There are tons of restaurants, casinos, mini-marts and businesses within walking distance of the hotel. Including the Iglesia Del Carmen Metro Station where you can get the train.

Transportation leaving from the hotel: you can get a street taxi outside of the hotel. But always walk a little distance away from the hotel, unless of course you don’t mind paying exorbitant taxi fees.

Hotel taxis are also on hand in front of the hotel to take you to your destination but you pay for service. They charge more than Uber and Yellow Taxis.

Always ask what is the fare upfront before getting into the Hotel Taxis or Yellow Taxis so that there is no surprise. This also gives you the option to take another, if you feel like they are overcharging.

Holiday Inn Express

Another budget-friendly option is the Holiday Inn Express hotel in Obarrio, which is around $80 per night. Since I have not stayed here before I cannot speak on the actual experience or ambiance there.

The Hilton

If you want something more upscale then opt for the Hilton hotel. However, if you decide to stay at the Hilton, expect to pay around $180 per night.

The Best Things To Do In Panama City Panama | Travel Beauty Blog
Photo: The Hilton Hotel, Avenida Balboa

Other hotels within close proximity to Panama City and the Tocumen International Airport with estimated prices for a standard room:

  • Crowne Plaza Tocumen Airport – located 3-5 mins away from the airport at $120 per night
  • Hyatt Place, Via España at $75 per night
  • TRYP by Wyndham, El Cangrejo at $80 per night
  • TRYP by Wyndham, Albrook Mall at $225 per night – great if you are planning to visit solely to shop at the mall
  • Courtyard Panama Multiplaza Mall at $130 per night – also great for shopping (upscale)
  • Riu Hotel Plaza – Calle 50 (located in the business district) at $110 per night
  • InterContinental Miramar Hotel, Avenida Balboa at $105 per night
  • The American Trade Hotel, Casco Viejo – $330 per night
  • W Panama – Calle 50 (located in the business district) at approximately $235 per night
  • Waldorf Astoria Panama, Calle Uruguay – around $210 per night
  • Sortis Hotel, Spa & Casino, Obarrio – $130 per night

DISCLAIMER: Please do your own research on hotel accommodation costs. PRICES MAY VARY DEPENDING ON THE TIME OF YEAR

Hostels to Stay at if you’re on a tight budget:

I can’t promise you the condition of these Hostels, so it’s important to do your own research before making any bookings.

But if you’re on a small budget you may want to check out the following hostels:

  • Sophia’s Hostel, Calle 54 Este, Panama City
  • Hostel Villa Vento Surf, Calle 47, Panama City
  • Hostal Yoha, Av. 5a B, Sur, Panama City
  • Bodhi Panama City, Calle 50 D Este, Panama City
  • El Machico Hostel, Av. 5a B, Sur, Panama City
  • CasaLosMonstros Hostel, Calle 54 Este, Panama City
  • Hotel Marbella, El Cangrejo, Calle D, Panama City

Getting around the city

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Yellow Taxis and Uber

A short drop within the city with a Yellow Taxi costs $1.50-$2 but some taxi drivers take advantage of charging more if they realize you’re a tourist. Or if there’s a lot of traffic depending on the time of day.

Always keep small change to pay for taxi fares. Singles, coins and $5 bills are more practical as most taxi drivers do not have change for even a $10 bill. So don’t expect them to have for anything over a $20 bill.

An alternative to taxi is using Uber, and there is another service called InDrive which operates similar to Uber except, you get to choose the price you pay for the trip upfront.

With Uber you can connect your Paypal account or Credit/Debit card or pay in cash upon your arrival at your destination.

I highly recommend Uber but InDrive is still a great alternative. The only drawback with InDrive is that after downloading the app, you may need to have a local number to connect, but I’m not 100% positive.

With Uber and InDrive if you are lucky, you may be able to get an English-speaking driver but there isn’t an option to choose.

It costs anywhere between $3.50 and $5 for trips within the city. Prices fluctuate depending on cars availability, traffic and time of day.

Yellow taxis are normally the most economical of the three options.

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Metro Train & Metro Bus

Depending on where you choose to stay, find out which is the nearest metro station to your hotel.

When you get to the metro station purchase a pre-paid metro card for $3 which allows you to take both metro and bus. The only requirement is 1 form of identification. 

Related: Top 5 Things To Do In Trinidad And Tobago

It is feasible to take the metro for further distances especially during peak hours to avoid being stuck in traffic for hours.

The bus can also be used for far areas but would take a bit longer than a taxi because they have a route to follow and a lot of stops along the way.

Using the metro train and bus to get around is relatively cheap, around 0.25 cents depending on where you’re going.

But it may not be ideal for every destination so research first.

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Photo: The Metro Train

The 15 Best Things To Do In Panama City Panama In A Weekend:

Take a tour of The Panama Canal

If you are planning a trip to Panama, then you should definitely consider visiting the Panama Canal before leaving.

The Panama Canal is located between the Atlantic Ocean and Pacific Ocean. It connects North America and South America.

The Panama Canal was completed in 1914 and has been used ever since to transport goods from one ocean to the other.

It connects the two oceans and allows ships to travel between them without having to sail around Cape Horn.

There are a total of twelve (12) locks which allow ships to pass from ocean to ocean. However, the 3 main locks are the Gatun Lake, Miraflores Lake and Pedro Miguel Locks.

The Panama Canal is one of the world’s largest man made structures and it is also the longest canal system in the world.

It is the only sea route connecting the two continents, stretching across the Isthmus of Panama from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean.

Today, the canal is still a vital link between North America and South America as it is one of the most important shipping routes in the world.

Learn more about the Panama Canal here.

Best Time To Visit The Panama Canal:

Weekends are the busiest but it may be the best time to visit because chances of seeing a few ships pass through the gates are very high.

At the time of this post, the cost of entry for adult foreigners is $15 and residents pay $3.

Ideally, you should be there between 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. or between 1pm – 3pm in order to catch the sailings.

Buses are available to take you from the City which is normally around $5. The estimated time expected to spend at the Panama Canal is roughly 2-3 hours.

Prior to each sailing, a 10-15 minute film is aired about the history of the Canal, which is shown in a theatre/private room.

Once there is space in the theatre you sit or stand at the back if the seats are taken.

The Panama Canal Museum

There is a museum at the Canal where you will find very interesting history about the canal and the people who built it.

There are interactive displays where visitors can learn about the engineering feats involved in building the canal.

Visitors can see original drawings, models, photographs, and other artifacts related to the project.

You may go to the museum last (after a ship has sailed) or between the time that you’re waiting to see a sailing.

You will find out more about the history of the canal there, as well as learn about its construction.

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Photo: The Panama Canal
The Best Things To Do In Panama City Panama | Travel Beauty Blog
Photo: The Panama Canal

Take a Trip to Taboga Island (The Island of Flowers)

Taboga Island is located just 12 miles away from Panama City and takes 25-30 minutes with the Taboga Express fast ferry.

Adult tickets cost $25 for a round trip at the Balboa Yacht Club, Amador Causeway, where the ferry departs from.

Check-in is 30 minutes prior to departure time. Operating hours are 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Booking may also be done online.

There are a lot of hotels and restaurants on the island offering a wide variety of food, beverages and washroom facilities.

Depending on how much time you want to spend at the beach, take advantage of the historic island tour for $30.

Taboga is a very small island and the tour lasts one hour or so. The tour guides are bilingual and would share interesting stories and great tips along the journey.

Always have your passport on your person in case of anything. Ideally you want to avoid taking the last boat at 4pm back to Panama City.

This is when the majority of people leave the beach and the boat is very crowded. Worst case, you may not get a ride back and may have to remain on the island.

Go to Amador Causeway / Bridge of the Americas

On your way back from the beach take a stroll along the Amador Causeway (near the ferry port).

It is the city’s second longest boardwalk. Lots of activities to do here such as roller skating, biking, photography or relaxing at one of the nearby parks.

Also, it has a varied selection of national and international restaurants, nightclubs, the famous Biodiversity Museum and the Bridge of the Americas.

The Biodiversity museum is opened from Thursday to Sunday. The cost for foreigners is around $18 for adults or $40 for 4 persons.

Take your camera with you because the beautiful scenery of the Boardwalk and Bridge of the Americas makes it perfect for taking pictures.

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Photo: Bridge Of The Americas

The Best Things To Do In Panama City Panama | Travel Beauty Blog
Photo: Bio Museum

The Best Things To Do In Panama City Panama | Travel Beauty Blog
Photo: Waterfront of the Calzada de Amador / Causeway

The Best Things To Do In Panama City Panama | Travel Beauty Blog
Photo: Calzada de Amador / Causeway

Explore the Casco Antiguo and Casco Viejo District / the Old Town

If you love history, then you should definitely check out the Casco Viejo (Old Town), which was once the old Spanish town.

It is one of the oldest districts in Panama City, also known as Casco Antiguo or San Felipe.

Today, the area has been restored to its original colonial charm with cobblestone streets, beautiful buildings, and colorful markets. It is now one of the most popular tourist attractions in Panama.

Casco Viejo is home to many historical buildings, such as the Cathedral Basilica de San Francisco (Metropolitan Cathedral Basilica of Santa Maria the Ancient), Plaza de Francia, the Palacio Municipal (Municipal Palace), the Presidential Palace (Ministerio de la Presidencia de Panamá), and the Ministries of the Government, Foreign Affairs and Culture respectively.

Additionally, you will find many museums, art galleries, and historic sites like the Plaza Simon Bolivar (Palacio Bolivar).

One of the most popular attractions is the Panama Canal Museum (el Museo del Canal Interoceánico de Panamá).

Other must-see attractions in the old city are the National Theatre (Teatro Nacional), the Metropolitan Cathedral, the Saint Francis of Assisi Church (Iglesia San Francisco de Asis), Anita Villalaz Teatre and the Embassy of France building (near Plaza de Francia).

The district is also filled with endless ice cream and souvenir shops, bars and cafes, where you can relax after exploring the area. 

You can also enjoy some delicious local and international food at any of the restaurants located here.

You can literally spend an entire day exploring the various sites of attractions in Casco Viejo.

The Best Things To Do In Panama City Panama | Travel Beauty Blog
Photo: Metropolitan Cathedral Basilica of Santa Maria the Ancient, Casco Viejo

The Best Things To Do In Panama City Panama | Travel Beauty Blog
Photo: Outside of the President’s House (Presidencia de Panamá), Casco Viejo

The Best Things To Do In Panama City Panama | Travel Beauty Blog
Photo: Ministry of Government of Panama (Ministerio de Gobierno), Casco Viejo

The Best Things To Do In Panama City Panama | Travel Beauty Blog
Photo: Skyline view of the city from Casco Viejo

The Best Things To Do In Panama City Panama | Travel Beauty Blog
Photo: Church of the Mercy (Iglesia de La Merced)

The Best Things To Do In Panama City Panama | Travel Beauty Blog
Photo: American Trade Hotel, Casco Viejo

The Best Things To Do In Panama City Panama | Travel Beauty Blog
Photo: Bolivar Plaza, Casco Viejo

Experience the Night Life in Casco Viejo

If you are into the night life, partying and clubbing, then Casco Viejo is the place for you. Again, both sides of the streets are lined with tons of restaurants, bars and clubs. 

You can check out one of the better spots to hang out in Casco Viejo: Tántalo Hotel Roofbar. It has a restaurant downstairs and a rooftop bar where you can enjoy a skyline view of the city.

Casco Viejo is by far one of the most popular places for tourists and expats to hang out. So hearing English speakers is quite common there.

From the historical buildings to churches, monuments, graffiti walls, and not to mention, the beautiful skyline view of the city; be sure to have a mojito, a popular drink in Panama that’s available at most restaurants/bars.

The only downside to hanging out in Casco Antiguo is that there tends to be a lot of traffic no matter what time of the day it is. 

Expect heavier traffic on late evenings during the week and on weekends.

However, you’ll quickly learn that traffic is a part of the life in Panama so always cater additional time to arrive at your destinations on time.

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Photo: a Mojito

Balboa Beer

The “Balboa” beer is just one of the many things named after the Spanish explorer Vasco Nuñez de Balboa.

Local beers are relatively cheap in Panama. It costs around $1.00 at most Restaurants/Bars.

It retails for around $0.85 for a 355ML tin, at the Mini Supers (corner stores) and at the grocery stores. They are also sold in glass bottles.

Some Restaurants brew their own beer and may charge a little more, around $4-$4.50 a glass/litre.

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Photo: Balboa Beer

View the Sunset at the Plaza de Francia in Casco Viejo

The Plaza de Francia is one of the many attractions in old Panama City.

The Monumental Complex of Las BĂłvedas or Las BĂłvedas is the name commonly given to the group of works that form the walls surrounding the Plaza de Francia in Panama.

The Monumental Complex consists of seven vaulted spaces that formed the defensive system of the city.

This space was initially destined to build Royal Houses, however it is here where one of the defensive sites of the city was built, called Baluarte de ChiriquĂ­.

It is located in Casco Antiguo – the center of Panama City and has been called one of the most beautiful square in Latin America.

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Photo: Sunset at Plaza de Francia, Casco Viejo

Take a tour of the Panama Canal Museum in Casco Viejo

The Panama Canal Museum is an interesting place to visit because it tells the story of how the Panama Canal came into existence.

There are several exhibits that explain how the canal was constructed and why it was necessary.

One exhibit explains how the Panama Canal was built and why it was needed.

Another exhibit shows what life was like during the construction of the Panama Canal.

A third exhibit shows the history of the Panama City area.

There are also Museums located at the Panama Canal in La Chorrera, which further explains its history.

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Photo: The Panama Canal Museum (left) and the Palacio Municipal (Municipal Palace) building (right)

Explore the City’s Museums

Another thing you can do is to visit the various Art Galleries. Here you will find paintings by local artists. Check out the following art galleries:

  • NG Art Gallery, Avenida Balboa
  • Galeria Tamarindo, El Cangrejo
  • La Galeria Indigena (Galeria de Arte Indigena), Casco Viejo
  • Karavan Gallery, Casco Viejo

Visit the Afro-Antillean Musem of Panama (Museo Afroantillano de Panamá)

The Afro-Antillean Museum of Panama also known as SAMAAP, is an ethnographic museum located in Cinco de Mayo, Panama City.

The museum was founded on December 23, 1980, by Reina Torres de AraĂşz in the building of the Former Christian Mission Chapel.

It is important to note that when visiting this area be vigilant and do not stray further than the vicinity of the Museum and the Cinco de Mayo Metro Station which is within walking distance.

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Photo: Afro-Antillean Musem of Panama (Museo Afroantillano de Panamá)

Other museums in Panama that may be of interest to you:

National Bank Museum

Museo de La Historia de Panamá (History Museum)

El Biomuseo (The Biomuseum)

Museo De Panama Viejo (Panama Viejo Museum)

Museo de la Mola (MUMO)

Take a mini daytime Hike at the Metropolitan Natural Park

The Metropolitan Natural Park is a 573-acre park located in Panama City and the only tropical forest to serve as a public recreational park for a metropolitan area.

Despite being located near the city, the park is also home to 227 bird species, 45 mammals, 36 kinds of snakes and 14 kinds of amphibians.

In addition, there are about 284 plant species, including trees that reach between 100 and 115 feet high. – source.

To make the best out of your visit to the park, consider taking a guided tour so to learn about all of the flora and fauna along the way.

If you’re up taking a hike, there are 5 trails to choose from, and each offers a little something different.

For example, the Mono Titi Road will take you to the top of Cerro Cedro for skyline views of Panama City.

After your hike, consider stopping by the park’s butterfly house, for another adventure.

Before the hike, be sure to take a couple of bottles of water and perhaps some light snacks in a backpack.

Wear sneakers or comfy shoes and preferably activewear. It is highly recommended that you take a bottle of Off or another insect repellant with you to ward off any unwanted insects.

The Best Things To Do In Panama City Panama | Travel Beauty Blog
Photo: Metropolitan Natural Park

The Best Things To Do In Panama City Panama | Travel Beauty Blog
Photo: Metropolitan Natural Park

The Best Things To Do In Panama City Panama | Travel Beauty Blog
Photo: City view at the Metropolitan Natural Park

The Best Things To Do In Panama City Panama | Travel Beauty Blog
Photo: Metropolitan Natural Park

The Best Things To Do In Panama City Panama | Travel Beauty Blog
Photo: Metropolitan Natural Park

The Best Things To Do In Panama City Panama | Travel Beauty Blog
Photo: City view at the Metropolitan Natural Park

The Best Things To Do In Panama City Panama | Travel Beauty Blog
Photo: City view at the Metropolitan Natural Park

Take a Stroll, go Biking or Scooting on the Cinta Costera 1, 2 or 3

Panama’s largest waterfront better known as the Cinta Costera located in the heart of the City.

The strip covers over 35 hectares and are split into 3 main areas, Cinta Costera 1, 2 and 3.

Lots of people especially the Panamanians flock this area on a daily basis for different reasons.

Some go to relax on the side benches and enjoy the scenery of skyscrapers overlooking the city while others take long walks or engage in some form of physical activity.

See Also
Top Things To Do In Costa Rica San Jose | How To Spend A Weekend In Costa Rica | Travel Beauty Blog

Large numbers of people, both old and young gather here almost as though its a ritual.

What To Do Here:

You can take a stroll along the broad walk, go biking, scooting, running or roller skating.

If you don’t own a bicycle, scooter or a roller skate you can rent one for about $5 an hour.

Besides sporting activities you can also enjoy a local meal at the “El Mercado de Mariscos” (The Fish Market).

The Mercado de Mariscos is located towards the end of the Cinta Costera 1, where old Panama City starts and dozens of local seafood restaurants are centrally located.

Just after the Fish Market and approaching Casco Antiguo, there are a lot of street vendors selling clothing, souvenirs and art from local artisans and the indeginious tribes.

El Mercado de Mariscos is not a typical brick and mortar restaurant but rather, it is a large open space with outdoor tents and chairs.

However, this is a common site or tradition of the Panamanians. Locals and foreigners eat here and the food is very reasonably priced.

Nearby there is vegetable and fish market where fresh catches are sold to the general public.

So if you are a seafood lover you can purchase some fresh fish or seafood depending on the day and time you go.

The Best Things To Do In Panama City Panama | Travel Beauty Blog
Photo: Cinta Costera

Take A Trip To One Of The Islands

Take a trip to one of the neighboring islands to experience the beach and other things they may have to offer, such as:

  • San Blas (Isla San Blas)
  • Taboga (mentioned above)
  • Bocas del Toro
  • Perro Island (Isla Perro)
  • Zapatillas Island (Isla Zapatillas)
  • Perla Island (Isla Perla)
  • Pelicano Island (Isla Pelicano)

Other Things To Do In Panama City Panama and Experience Before Leaving

  • Take a bus ride in a Diablo Rojo (a grafiti old school bus) but double check its destination to ensure its a short route
  • Have a sno cone in Casco Viejo
  • Take a Hop-On-Hop-Off Red Tour Bus around the city
  • Patronize the street vendors in Casco Viejo
  • Dine at the Capital Bistro Restaurant in Casco Viejo (upscale)
  • Try one of the local beers: 509 or the Balboa
  • Have some Gelato ice-cream
  • Enjoy a meal of Patacones, fried fish (whole) and fries
  • Experience a day tour for approximately $150 (per adult) each: Money Island, Panama Canal or Embera Village
  • Take a helicopter tour around the city if you have some time and extra cash to spend
The Best Things To Do In Panama City Panama | Travel Beauty Blog
Photo: A Diablo Rojo (Red Devil) – (graffiti / old school bus)

Strolling through the streets of Panama

Panama City is relatively safe however, you should always be vigilant wherever you go.

Be prepared to walk a lot.  Sometimes it is the best alternative to get to your destination to avoid being stuck in traffic.

If it is impossible to walk to your destination, then you don’t have a choice. But if you do, you should note that the traffic situation is very terrible.

Especially during peak hours and around pay-days (the 15th & 30th of every month).

I recommended wearing sunscreen and a hat if you are going to be in the sun for many hours.

Panama is very humid. Also take a pair of sunglasses and small umbrella just in case the heat gets out of control.

The Best Things To Do In Panama City Panama | Travel Beauty Blog
Panama Hats, Casco Viejo

You may opt to purchase a “Panama Hat” from one of the street Vendors. They are made from different materials and come in a wide range of shapes, styles and colours.

The price range is from $15 and upwards depending on the material used.

I had the opportunity to speak to a Hat Vendor who said you could pay up to $150 for a good quality hat. 

Sometimes when you negotiate with the vendors they give you good deals as well.

Lastly, don’t leave home without your phone or camera to capture the beautiful scenery along the way.

Purchasing Souvenior and Artwork in Casco Antiguo

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I love how beautiful the handmade items are. They are made mainly by the Indigenous Indian Tribes.

A range of souvenir items can be found in Casco Antiguo such as bags, key chains, pencil cases, mats, hats, sandals, table cloths, coin purses and things to hang in your home.

Sno Cone

Sno Cone Vendors are plentiful in Panama City so you will see them a lot more in some areas like Casco Viejo.

Usually there are about 3 different flavors available and for a few more cents you can have condensed milk added.

The Best Things To Do In Panama City Panama | Travel Beauty Blog
Photo: Sno Cone Vendor, Casco Viejo

Different vendors charge differently but a sno cone should not cost you more than $3.00-$3.50.

Sometimes, if they realize that you are a foreigner, they may charge you a higher price.

Just be smart, if you think they are charging too much just go to another vendor.

Where to Shop in Panama City, Panama

Albrook Mall

If you only have time to visit one mall then go to the Albrook Mall. It has a total of 700 stores and businesses and it is the largest mall in Central America. (This number might be a little less post-pandemic).

It makes perfect sense to do all your shopping at Albrook as most of the stores on this mall also have other branches in some of the other malls.

Albrook Mall has a mixture of both high-end, middle and lower discount stores. This makes shopping here so convenient.

Especially if you’re in the country for a limited time, you avoid having to go mall-hopping and splitting your time between each of them.

The Best Things To Do In Panama City Panama | Travel Beauty Blog
Photo: Albrook Mall

Albrook is also Panama City’s main hub for public transportation. The best way to get there is by metro train or bus for a cost of about 35 cents. For both, you will need to have a metro card.

A taxi will charge anywhere between $4 and $5. The mall is really huge so wear comfortable shoes and take a carry-on luggage with you if you plan on doing big shopping.

At every entrance of the mall, there is a different animal, which can be used as a point of reference for finding stores or persons. Or for directing your Uber driver to find your exact location.

Multiplaza Pacific Mall

More on the upscale side, so you won’t find half of the stores that are located in Albrook Mall here.

At Multiplaza Pacific Mall, expect to see the more middle tier stores to high-end brands.

This is by far one of my favourite places to shop. Another great thing about Multiplaza is that it has a supermarket – Riba Smith, that sells the best grades of food stuff in the country.

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Photo: Multiplaza Pacific Mall
Some popular stores you will find at Multiplaza Pacific Mall are:
  • Coach
  • Michael Kors
  • Zara & Zara Home
  • Forever 21
  • H&M
  • MNG (Mango)
  • Hermes
  • Cartier
  • Dolce & Gabbana
  • Gucci
  • Chanel (makeup only)
  • Pull & Bear
  • Stradivarius
  • Berskha
  • Mac Cosmetics
  • Tiffany & Co.
  • Bath & Body Works
  • Pandora
  • Carolina Herrera
  • Nine West
  • Salvatore Ferragamo
  • Valentino
  • Cole Haan
  • Furla
  • Kate Spade
  • Steve Madden
  • Victoria’s Secret
  • Levi’s
  • Gap & Gap Kids
  • Nike, Adidas, Reebok etc.
  • Banana Republic
  • Old Navy and many more!

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Photo: Multiplaza Pacific Mall

Soho Mall (Soho City Center)

If you want to get some luxury shopping done on your trip to Panama then Soho Mall is the place to go.

You will find some luxurious brands at Soho Mall like:
  • Chanel
  • Louis Vuitton
  • Fendi
  • Bottega Veneta
  • Gucci
  • Dior
  • Coach
  • Prada, just to name a few.

Although there is a small food court, there is nothing much to do at this mall other than eat or shop for luxurious items.

Some of these high end brands also have stores at Multiplaza Mall.

Where to eat local Food

Mercado de Mariscos Restaurant – Cinta Costera

Get your seafood fix at Panama City’s Seafood Market.

As the name suggest, there is literally a fish market on one side where you can buy freshly caught seafood and about a dozen restaurants on the other side where mainly seafood is served.

Try fish and fries with one of the local beers; the “Balboa” or “Panama“.

The Best Things To Do In Panama City Panama | Travel Beauty Blog
Photo: Cinta Costera

Churreria Manolo Restaurant – Via Argentina

Another great place if you want the Panamanian experience. Try the “patacones” and “arroz con pollo”. These are 2 of the main dishes on the menus of most restaurants.

Although the food is cheap ($10 or less for a meal) be prepared to pay 10% service charge and “propina” better known as a tip, of 5-20% of the total bill.

Some restaurants have a fixed amount for tipping of the waiters and others leave it optional.

Additionally there is a 7% ITBMS tax included in all purchases in Panama City.

Be fair when giving tips. It is not polite to leave behind a few cents on the table.

It is better to leave $1-$5 depending on the service you received.

You may also be able to find this restaurant at some Mall Food Courts like at Albrook Mall.

General information about getting around and things to do in Panama City Panama

Some other points to note about visiting Panama is that it is a tropical country and you should dress cool. Panama is also very humid.

If you are visiting during the rainy season (December – mid March) it is advisable to walk with an umbrella since it rains a lot (almost everyday), during this time of the year.

While in the dry season, expect little to no rain at all. You’ll want to have a good camera, a pair of sunglasses on hand, a hat for the excessive heat, and sunblock.

Always have small change ($5, $10 bills) and avoid having to pay with $50 and $100 bills at the “Mini Super” aka mini marts or smaller roadside shops.

Unless of course you’re buying a lot of items with little or no change to be received. This especially goes for taxis and Uber (if paying by cash).

If you decide to pay with either one of those bills, getting change can be very hectic. Or they may not have change if you’re making a small purchase. To be safe, ask first.

They may also ask you to provide your name and identification before it can be changed as well as having to sign on a spreadsheet/piece of paper.

This is quite normal in Panama and it is important for the shop to record the $50 and $100 bills that they received.

If you’re in the supermarket for instance, sometimes this process can hold up a line as it usually requires the Supervisor/Manager to review it first. Panamanians are very impatient. 

However, it is more common to pay using bigger bills at supermarkets and at larger stores, but can be painful to do so at some smaller convenient shops.

Related: My First Time In Miami And How I Survived

Wrapping Up The 15 Best Things To Do In Panama City Panama

There you have it! 15 things to do in Panama City Panama especially if you are only visiting for a short period of time.

For the most part Panama City is safe and foreigners are noticeably welcomed. But as it is with everywhere else, exercise caution and be vigilant at all times.

Panama uses US currency and the native language is Spanish. Knowing some basic Spanish is necessary and highly recommended.

Always do research on the area you intend to visit, prior to arriving there and plan how you will arrive and return.

Now, you have all the necessary information for a fun-packed couple of days in Panama City, Panama. Hope you enjoy your stay and return again!

Read Next: How To Spend 72 Hours In Costa Rica

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