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A Wander Around Panama City, Panama

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Panama City, known as the Crossroads of the Americas, is evolving with a gastronomical culture, a revitalized historic Casco Viego, and glittering skyscrapers. Add to the mix standout attractions such as the Museum of Biodiversity and the expanded Panama Canal. Where else can you be in the heart of a modern metropolis, in the rainforest, and on the Pacific Ocean all in the same day? It's Panama City's time to shine.
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The newly completed Cinta Costera pedestrian park runs the length of Avenida Balboa, between Casco Viego and Punta Patillia. Not only does it connect two popular areas of the city, it also provides continuous sidewalks for walking and biking,...
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Taboga Island, Panama
On hot afternoons, beat the heat with a tempting treat from a vendor with a cart and a big block of ice. Raspados is a snow cone made with finely shaved ice, doused with flavored syrup, such as grape, lemon or strawberry, and served in a paper...
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Calle 15 Este, Panamá, Panama
In the early morning, you can stroll by the pier and watch—as the pelicans do—the fishermen deliver the day's catch. Check out the fish market at Avenida Balboa and Calle Eloy Alfaro. On the side of the market, a cluster of local fondas (small...
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Taboga Island, Panama
Isla Taboga is about a 45-minute ferry ride from the marina at Amador Causeway. Sit at the ferry bow to get an unobstructed view of cargo ships waiting to queue the Panama Canal. The sleepy island lures locals to its shores and is home to a nearly...
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Av. Central, entre calle 3era y 4ta, Panama City, Panama
The old quarter of Casco Viejo is not only a UNESCO World Heritage site but also the emerging gastronomic epicenter of Panama City. There are myriad trendy bars and restaurants to choose from, but when it's time for dessert, head to Granclement....
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Calle 15 Este, Panamá, Panama
Behind the bustling seafood market El Mercado de Mariscos, amid crates of shrimp and fish, locals play a competitive game of dominoes—a popular way to while away the day.
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Panama City, Panama
Follow the sound of chiming bells to the Iglesia de San José, which houses a Baroque hand-carved, wooden altar covered in flakes of gold. Amid painted angels, ornate crosses, and stained glass windows, you can tread peacefully through the church...
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Panama City, Panama
Coffee lovers go to the Bajareque Coffee House & Roastery, where the owner grows, dries, roasts, and grinds his own beans. World-renowned geisha beans are sourced from the owner's family farm in the Boquete region. Buy a bag or two to savor a...
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San Felipe, Panama City, Panama
To simply watch daily life go by, park yourself on a plaza bench under the shade of a Poinciana tree, as the breeze blows through and orange blossoms float down to the cobblestone streets. A plaza in Casco Viejo is the perfect place to sit back,...
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Casco Antiguo, Panama City, Panama
Start with a glass of red sangria at this dark, alluring bar. Chill out and chat with your barstool neighbor. Then, move outside to a table on the Plaza de Bolivar for a tapas-style feast of tuna tartare, spicy Peruvian ceviche, and ravioli de...
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Hotel Radisson Decapolis, Planta Baja, Av Balboa, Panamá, Panama
I always ask our taxi driver for neighborhood restaurant recommendations. For Punta Patillia, one of Jose's fervent suggestions was Gourmet Pizza, across from the Multicentro Mall, for salads and delicioso pizza.
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Gatun Lake, Panama

In the 17th century, the pirate Henry Morgan traveled the Chagres River to attack Panama City. In the early 20th century, the Chagres River was dammed to create the 53-kilometer-long (33-mile-long) Gatún Lake, at the time the largest...

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Calle 2a Oeste 85-81, Panamá, Panama
At the Plaza de Francia (French Plaza) and Las Bovedas, not far from the French Embassy, you'll find indigenous Guna Indians (formerly known as Kuna Indians) sewing and selling vibrant molas depicting tropical San Blas Island plants, birds, and...
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Clayton, Panama City, Panama
The Panama Canal, an early 20th-century industrial marvel, continues to amaze engineering, construction, history, and maritime buffs. An expansion to double its capacity is in progress and slated for completion in 2015. The upper deck of the...
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San Felipe, Panamá, Panama
The Spanish colonial square is abuzz with children playing baseball, couples canoodling on park benches, and folks socializing over coffee at patio tables. It's a welcoming area for sitting at a cafe and taking in the scene, day or night. Relaxing...
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Calle 8a Oeste, Panamá, Panama
Arco Chato (the Flat Arch) on Avenida A, an architectural ruin in the old quarter near Iglesia de Santo Domingo, houses an outdoor gallery of intriguing and modern sculptural works and art installations. The ruins, the rustic stone, and the...
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Calle 9 con Calle Boquete (Esquina Casco Antiguo, Panama
Wine? Check. Tapas? Check. New friends? You bet. Good times are meant to be shared. Tinto de Verano offers a comfortable, intimate setting for sipping wine, sharing tapas, and lingering with locals. Speaking of lingering, the plush, tufted booth...
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San Felipe, Panama City, Panama
At the outskirts of Casco Viejo, a cigar maker works in his small shop. The naturally-lit shop is filled with personal mementos. There are ink sketches on the table surface, where he cuts the cigarro leaf wrapper.
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Calz. de Amador, Panamá, Panama
The Museum of Biodiversity is one of the most anticipated attractions in Panama City. The iconic architectural lines of Frank Gehry's designs make a reappearance at this museum near the equator. But there's a colorful twist, which will undoubtedly...
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Punta Paitilla, Panama City, Panama
As the sun sets on Panama City, the cityscape begins to sparkle. Punta Paitilla offers impressive views from Balboa Avenue clear to the Metropolitan National Park and Casco Viego. Conversely, as the sun rises, the Metropolitan National Park offers...
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San Felipe, Panamá, Panama
Explore the cobblestone streets of Casco Viejo in the early evening, and you'll experience a quiet and romantic neighborhood, newly reemerging as a contemporary cultural center. In the twilight, it's easy to imagine the bygone colonial grandeur as...
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Calle 6a Oeste, Panamá CASCO VIEJO, Panama
Great for breakfast and lunch, this restaurant, deli, and shop offers organic chocolate, fresh orange juice, fruit, cheeses, salads, snacks and deli meats. There are also a good selection of beer and shelves of wine. Breakfasts such as pancakes...
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Av Balboa, Panamá, Panama
Cool down with a non-alcoholic mojito concoction of fresh mint, lemon, and sparkling water on the rocks. It's tasty, and the mint twist is very refreshing.
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Vía Argentina, Panamá, Panama
Follow the locals to El Trapiche for traditional food. A plate of grilled garlic shrimp, plantains, and rice is possibly the perfect Panamanian meal, paired with Trapiche's tropical blend fruit juice. There are two locations—El Cangrejo and the...
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Calz. de Amador, Panamá, Panama
Palm-lined Amador Causeway is a breezy locale for renting and riding bicycles. Sights along the way include the Museum of Biodiversity designed by Frank Gehry, boats on the bay, a marina, and, across the canal, the Bridge of the Americas...
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Casco Antiguo, Panama City, Panama
So many stylish restaurants are popping up on the gourmet scene in the old quarter, and Veggie Moon is a fairly new one with quite a following. The decor of white chairs and tables against a backdrop of stone walls creates an inviting setting for...
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Calle 3a, Panamá, Panama
Passing by the Karavan Gallery, it's impossible not to take a peek at the beautifully stylized displays: a gallery of local art, baskets of home accessories, and hanging artisan jewelry. Offerings also include gorgeous mola textile pieces made by...
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Panama City, Panama
Mostaza offers an upscale, formal setting for an intimate dinner in the heart of Casco Viejo, yet it's tucked away in a discreet corner. Take advantage of the outdoor ambience and dine at an al fresco table in front of the historic ruin Arco Chato...
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Avenida de la Amistad, Panamá, Panama
Shopoholics can get major retail therapy at the Albrook Mall—Central America's biggest mall. Be sure to wear walking shoes for the two safari-themed floors of some 200 stores, give or take. A bus terminal and a theater keep it hopping with...
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Av. A, Panamá, Panama
If you'd rather pass on trendy bars but want to enjoy a beer in Casco Viejo, then perhaps La Bencidad, with its outdoor patio, would be more up your alley. It's very popular with locals for live music and dancing. It's at Avenida A, between Calle...
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Av. Cincuentenario, Panamá, Panama
This Panamanian/expat favorite situated in the laid-back San Francisco neighborhood is all about great cuts of beef at reasonable prices. Dine on the outdoor terrace for a relaxing dinner such as steak with papas fritas.
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Calle Ricardo Arias, Panamá, Panama
A creamy complement to coffee, the tres leche at Costa Azul is addictive. This small, local cafeteria serves Spanish dishes, continental breakfasts, coffee, and, of course, tres leche. It's a good thing Costa Azul, in the thriving banking...
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Av Central, Panamá, Panama
To get a glimpse of authentic Panamanian life, stroll down Central Avenue, which is within walking distance of Casco Viejo. In the morning the street comes alive with pedestrians heading to work and shops opening for business. Buy bananas at a...
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We trekked in a hand-carved canoe on Rio Gatun into the rainforest to meet one of Panama's most intriguing indigenous tribes, the Embera Indians. Native to the Darien region of the south--reputed to be one of the most dangerous places in the...
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Balboa, Panamá, Panama
For years the mainstay of mass transit in Panama City was the diablos rojos (red devil) buses. These privately owned, tricked-out buses transported throngs of Panamanians to and fro. With a new subway system on the way, changes were made to...
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Avenida 8, Panamá, Panama
Old world theaters exude glamour and grandeur, and this one is exceptional—from the gold facade and brass door fixtures, to the interior wooden foyer, painted ceiling frescos, gilded tiered balconies, and posh chandelier. Tour inside and view the...