Panama, Ciudad de Panamá – The City and the Panama Canal
For us, Panama became such a transfer point to Costa Rica, American Miami was also an option, but with Panama there is no need to arrange a visa and then you can get to Costa Rica by car or bus. In addition, the capital city of Panama (or the Spanish city of Panama, also known as Panama City) has one very famous unique - the Panama Canal, which is an attractive place for tourists from all over the world. But Panama has much more in it.
The city itself was founded in the 16th century and is divided into the Old Town (Panama Viejo) and the New Town (Casco Viejo), both parts of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. However, we are starting in the most modern part, where there are many skyscrapers, where there are hotels and multinational banks. Along the Pacific coast, a long, well-kept promenade leads up to the small harbor. It is here that all the fishing boats are literally on the mud, but in the afternoon the port is filled with water and fishermen can go out to sea. At the same time, there are huge restaurants offering perhaps the best seafood. It is not a luxury, but you eat a lot and well.
Behind the promenade, there is a small park where it relaxes especially on hot summer days. It also offers beautiful views of the typical skyscraper skyline on the left and Casco Viejo begins on the right. The picturesque Plaza de la Independencia, the Church of Francis of Assisi, Arco Chato and Convento de Santo Domingo are definitely worth a visit. But only the neighborhood itself is beautiful with its typical houses and palaces.
The Panama Canal is just outside the city, you can get there for a quarter of a dollar by public transport, but beware of the need for a bus card, which is sometimes a challenge if you can't speak Spanish. But the locals are very happy to help. The Miraflores chateau is accessible for a mere $ 20 entrance fee and is valid all day, so you can return at any time. The price includes a view of the locks, a short film and a museum. However, it is a good idea to find out in what hour the ships arrive, which is only once a day. The canal connects the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean, is over 80 kilometers long and 150 to 305 meters wide. Water to the locks is pumped from Gatun Lake. The construction of the canal began in 1880 and the first voyage took place here in 1913. The passage of larger and smaller boats is relatively slow, but certainly an interesting spectacle, you can refresh yourself in the local buffet or the more luxurious restaurant.
Later, on a hot day, we will stroll to Cerro Ancón Hill, where you can enjoy a beautiful view across the city. It is the highest point of the city and the Panama Canal administrative complex. The hill is abundantly forested and therefore we are on the way of happiness and meet our first monkeys, an arrow frog and agouti.
GPS: (airport) 9°04'06.4"N 79°23'13.1"W
Text and photos: Veronika Schubertová
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