Panama city is the capital of Panama and is Central America’s most cosmopolitan capital, a thriving center of international finance, a gateway to many natural riches and a vibrant destination marked by fine dining, chic clubs, shimmering glass towers, stylish neighborhoods and a charming colonial district. Its cultural and architectural diversity are nearly unparalleled in the region, making the city a true Latin playground.
Best Time to Visit
You can travel to Panama at anytime of the year, however, the dry season runs between mid-December and mid-April which is generally considered the best time to visit.
Top Places to Visit in Panama City
1. Museo del Canal Interoceánico
There are many museums in the city, and one of the most impressive is the Museo del Canal Interoceánico, known commonly as the Panama Canal Museum. The detailed exhibits highlight the famous waterway and explain its political and historical context. The labels are in Spanish, but English-speaking guides are available for tours.
2. Centro de Exhibiciones Marinas
The Centro de Exhibiciones Marinas is also worth a visit. The informative marine museum is home to two aquariums, sweeping views of the city’s coast and a natural trail that takes visitors through a patch of dry forest. While strolling, visitors can usually spy at least a few iguanas and sloths. Outside the museum, large drawings of ships allow visitors to identify the vessels waiting to transit the canal.
3. Mi Pueblito Museum
To get a feel for rural Panama without ever leaving the city, visit the Mi Pueblito museum on the town’s western side. The open-air museum features detailed replicas of rural villages in Darien, the Peninsula de Azuero and Bocas del Toro. Local artisans sell handicrafts at the adjacent shops, and folk dances are performed every weekend.
4. Casco Viejo District
Panama City is known for its many distinct neighborhoods, and the Casco Viejo district is one of the most charming and interesting. The “old city” is a UNESCO World Heritage Site marked by cobbled streets, colonial buildings, fascinating ruins and beautiful harbor views.
5. Parque Natural Metropolitano
The 265-hectare tropical semi-deciduous forest is a wilderness escape from the urban chaos of the capital, and it features panoramic views, hiking trails and a wide array of wildlife. Visitors can spot over 250 bird species, anteaters, white-tailed deer, titi monkeys, iguanas, tortoises and turtles while hiking, jogging and picnicking in the park.