While Panama is a special place in the world, the gay life is small to hidden. I went a disco there but can't remember the name. It was small with an outdoor section to it too. I met a great friend there and met his friends too and while it seemed like I was on a roll to meet other family, just seemed non-existent. In some chat rooms you will find very friendly guys who are eager to show the city. Hopefully others can share better news. Aside from that you should enjoy the country very much.
A friend of mine was there last year and believe me theres not much there besides the Panama Canal. Try Havana, now that's a whole different ball game. You will meet nice people and I mean nice people. Let me know if uou need more infor. Good Luck
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There's quite a bit of gay life in Panama-- arguably some of the best in Central America
(which, by DC standards, may not be much, but it's something). IMHO, Panama is about the most open minded of the Central American countries, and especially with COPA (= hot FAs), makes for an accessible, fun destination. During the day there are beaches, forests, historical sites and other interesting things to see. At night, the gay nightlife is pretty vibrant.
The central area of Panama is a grid and not too hard to figure out--- Via Espana will put in in a central spot, and in particular, the Riande Granada is in easy walking distance of a handful of spots and next to all night restaurants,stores, etc.
It's been a couple years since I've last been, so the bar list may not be 100% accurate, but there was a cluster of bars, plus a gay friendly bookstore (look for the rainbow on their sign on Via Espana, 2 blocks from the Granada-- check out http://www.angelfire.com/ma4/boutique_1975/main.html) so it seems to be the most concentrated area of gay life.
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Here is a link some might find useful--I found it when looking into a trip there recently. http://www.buscapanama.net/GLBT/tabid/563/Default.aspx
Not sure how updated it is, but it does even have this week's movie listings for Panama City, so at least some of it is recent!
Ayyy papi, I do travel South of the Border a lot.
How lucky that you're doing a quick reconnaissance antes de mi cumpleanos!
Of course, you're welcome to come back to PTY and join us Feb. 12-16.....
So your cumpleanos is coming up? woo hoo! I'd totally go back there, nice people and fun city, but fares are up again. I'm looking at GUA now, there's a fare out of NYC for $265 all-in. Wanna go back to your roots for a long weekend with me and show me around? I'm very tempted and have heard Antigua is very nice...
So PTY was fun. We rented a car b/c we were going to drive 2hrs away from the city to a beach on the Pacific... very nice and relaxing. But I don't recommend renting a car if you are staying in the city, there are no signs and it is difficult to navigate. We manage to get from point A to point B by stopping at gas stations every 5 min LOL.
Anyways, we stayed in PTY one night at the Radisson Decapolis Hotel - very nice, trendy and happening spot. It had a bar with a DJ by the lobby where both guests and locals hang out. There's a sushi restaurant too and it had decent food. All this is an open space with the same ambiance. We got upgraded to a suite on the 26th floor with amazing views of the city. I totallly recommend this hotel, even if you don't get points (you *wood hores!) There's mall across the street from the hotel and a casino. Things there are pretty cheap! Other day activities are going to the Canal and to the 'Casco Antiguo' - old town. Nice stores and fun to walk. They had a Jazz Festival last weekend so there were lots of 'fiestas' all over the old town.
As far as the gay scene, I didn't explore that much since we only stayed one night. However, we went to this place call LIPS (*muah*) which is a 5-10 min cab drive from where most of the hotels are. We paid like $2 for the cab!!! It is on a second floor of a shopping center and from the outside it looks a little shaddy but I didn't feel unsafe. I did feel we were the only non-locals of the whole place, and it's a big place. Most of the music the play is local (not even Latin music you would listen to in Miami ) We had to pay like $5 to get in, but then we paid $1.50 for an Atlas (Panamanian beer). It was an adventure and experience - well worth the time. You have to go and check it out. I'd like go back