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Panama Playa Bonita for Anyone

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At one time, a certain canal was Panama City's biggest draw. Now, the opening of the Frank Gehry–designed BioMuseo promises to lure more travelers here. They will stay for beaches, biodiversity, and the chance to be a part of an emerging urban scene.
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Panama City, Panama
Advanced Spanish speakers may want to visit Panama's Biblioteca Nacional, the National Library. Though they won't be able to check out books, they can participate in literary and cultural programming that is open to the public. Among the...
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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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Av Samuel Lewis, Panamá, Panama
For nearly 40 years, the family behind the jewelry store Reprosa has been making and selling reproductions of fine pre-Columbian jewelry and other historically and culturally significant pieces. Founder Frank Santomenno wandered into the business...
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Learn a language at home with CDs or take an immersive class in the country where the language is spoken, bolstering new skills with fun activities like salsa dancing? Option 2, please. Spanish Panama Language School, located in Panama City,...
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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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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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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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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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Veracruz, Panama
Rincon de Filo, in the seaside village of Veracruz, is worth the short trip (about 6 kilometers, or 3.5 miles) southwest from Playa Bonita. Classic Panamanian seafood, such as paella, is the specialty. The nautical decor is refined yet...
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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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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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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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Casco Antiguo, Panama City, 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...