Get surprised by Panama City
Don’t be fooled by the image you might have of Panama City. You will meet very few people who have visited Panama. Unlike its neighbor Costa Rica, Panama is not as trendy. But being less popular means fewer tourists while Panama is full of wonderful landscapes, has a rich culture, and offers many delights: food, paradise places, and amazing people.
With the gorgeous old district of Casco Viejo that will make you feel you're in Cuba, Panama City is a very vibrant and fun city even if it can be as expensive as a city like New York.
Panama City in a few words
Casco Viejo, great seafood, history of the Panama Canal, islands very close, bars, clubs, reggaeton, dance, parties, pricy.
Panama City Wander List
Seafood, bars, and dance are on the menu in this Panama Wander List.
As always: only the gems, nothing more.
As you will see, most of the fun places are located in the old district of Casco Viejo.
Best Panama City bars for a drink (or two)
The rooftop bar of the Tántalo Hotel in Casco Viejo: Enjoying a beer with a 360° view on the bay of Panama City. Perfect to start the night.
The Relic Bar has a very cool outdoor terrace/backyard that will make you feel you are in the middle of Mayan ruins. Perfect for a few drinks to start the night.
Casa Jaguar was one of the best places I went to. It's a restaurant in the evening, then turns into a bar, then into a crazy dance club. Get some drinks and go sit on the leather couch of their cozy balcony. You can also come back later when the music hit the place for a fun night in the rhythm of reggaeton.
Best Panama City restaurants
How about a combo of delicious tapas, seafood, in a restaurant entirely built inside old stone ruins? Go to Soroco for an unforgettable dinner.
Bonus points: they have some jazz live music on weekday evenings.
As mentioned above, Casa Jaguar is also a restaurant during the day and proposes very good meals.
For a good brunch, NINA is a cool hipster place that is also a concept store.
The Siroco restaurant is fully integrated into ruins.
As you've figured out by now, Casco Viejo is the heart of Panama City and should be at the top of your lists of things to visit. The colors of the buildings are gorgeous, it's full of small shops, restaurants, and nice bars.
Make sure to check its history punctuated by pirate invasions.
When going there at night, don't adventure yourself too much on the west as it becomes quickly unsafe outside of the center of the district.
Also, order rides through Uber as it's safer than normal taxi cabs.
San Blas Islands escape - Photo series
From Panama City you can escape the city for 48 hours in the archipelago of San Blas. That's an experience you will never forget. You can easily find tours that will take care of everything.
Follow our photo series in this dedicated post, you won't be disappointed.