1st. Time to Panama City

Old Jul 20, 14, 2:59 pm
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Illinois
Programs: HH Diamond, Southwest RR, HI Priority Gold, Marriott Rewards
Posts: 33
1st. Time to Panama City

Thinking of taking a trip to Panama City to see the canal. Have never been to panama and I do not speak Spanish. Is it worthwhile, and how many days should I plan to stay. I will be traveling alone, is it safe by yourself. I have a lot of Hilton points so will be staying at a Hilton property, not planning on renting a car. Is Sept. A good month to go.

Thanks for any information
Made43
made43 is offline  
Old Jul 20, 14, 4:49 pm
  #2  
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 72
It's safe, especially anywhere along the canal area. City is safe also as long as you use common sense.
I'd plan on 1 day around the canal, including a canal cruise. Then 1 day in the city itself people watching and checking out site. A hop on hop off bus is available to help orient yourself. After that, get yourself out of the city to visit a Nat'l park. Cheap flights are available to David (or a long bus ride) with parks nearby.
ukdave0 is offline  
Old Jul 22, 14, 8:50 pm
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Programs: DL DM, DL AMEX Reserve
Posts: 271
Are you single? Your response will dictate the advice that is forthcoming
PirateJeff is offline  
Old Jul 23, 14, 4:10 am
  #4  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Illinois
Programs: HH Diamond, Southwest RR, HI Priority Gold, Marriott Rewards
Posts: 33
1st time in Panama

Not single but the MS elects not to go.
made43 is offline  
Old Jul 23, 14, 4:15 am
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Programs: DL DM, DL AMEX Reserve
Posts: 271
Originally Posted by made43 View Post
Not single but the MS elects not to go.
Interested in gambling, nightlife etc, or just sight seeing?

(btw: I know for an absolute fact Mrs. PirateJeff would NEVER allow me to go there by myself )
PirateJeff is offline  
Old Jul 24, 14, 1:05 am
  #6  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Illinois
Programs: HH Diamond, Southwest RR, HI Priority Gold, Marriott Rewards
Posts: 33
1st time in Panama City

Just interested in sightseeing, getting too old for nightlife and I don't really gamble.
made43 is offline  
Old Jul 26, 14, 11:02 am
  #7  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Jupiter, FL
Programs: DL PM, Starwood Plat, Marriott Lifetime Plat, Hilton Silver
Posts: 16,759
A couple tips. Don't get the taxi at a hotel. Go around the corner and find one for a couple bucks.
There is certainly enough to do over a few days.
Visit an Indian village, take the train back from a half way trip thrust he canal. Some good restaurants in the old town.

A trip across the isthmus to the other side is good too.
pbiflyer is offline  
Old Sep 8, 14, 6:45 pm
  #8  
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: DCA
Programs: AA Executive Platinum
Posts: 879
Hi, all.

I have an overnight layover at PTY next month - arriving at 2:00 p.m. Monday from IAD and leaving at 9:30 a.m. (ish) Tuesday for GEO.

I've never been to Central America before.
I'm male and will be alone.
I'm not interested in nightlife or gambling.
I am interested in history, art, religion, nature.
I'm not averse to driving.
My Spanish is limited, but I can get around okay.

What should I try to do/see in the few waking hours I'll have there?

Where is a good place to stay?

Thanks so much for any help!
discoverCSG is offline  
Old Sep 8, 14, 9:57 pm
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Chicago
Programs: AA, UA
Posts: 38
Best case scenario, you'll get to see the canal for a bit. If you land at 2, you could maybe make it to Miraflores locks by 4. I'd suggest you spend the night in Casco Viejo and walk around a bit. Plenty of nice hotels there, but beware as some are noisy/party places. Or stay in a nice hotel, there are several there, in the newer part of town. You'll need to leave the hotel by 7 AM for your flight. Don't bother driving, it's a terrible city to try to figure out on the fly, one ways and traffic make it difficult, and cabs are not overly expensive, busses are cheap but extremely inconvenient. Like walk a mile or two outside the airport with your luggage inconvenient. I'm jealous that you're going to GEO!
Darian is offline  
Old Sep 15, 14, 1:56 pm
  #10  
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: DCA
Programs: AA Executive Platinum
Posts: 879
Thanks, Darian!

Are you suggesting that I rent a car to get to Milaflores, or get a taxi? If a taxi, would I be able to get one to come back into the city?
discoverCSG is offline  
Old Sep 16, 14, 6:50 am
  #11  
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: PTY
Programs: UA Plat, AA, Hilton, PC, MR, Hertz
Posts: 6
With limited time, hire a diver for the day. I prefer Panama Roadrunner. http://panamaroadrunner.com. Ask about customizing an trip for you.
Baidu is offline  
Old Sep 17, 14, 9:35 pm
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Chicago
Programs: AA, UA
Posts: 38
Don't rent a car, take a taxi or find a tour. Downtown Panama City is pretty congested and confusing, with one way streets and massive ruck hour traffic.

Originally Posted by discoverCSG View Post
Thanks, Darian!

Are you suggesting that I rent a car to get to Milaflores, or get a taxi? If a taxi, would I be able to get one to come back into the city?
Darian is offline  
Old Sep 28, 14, 3:08 pm
  #13  
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: IAD/DCA
Programs: US Airways Dividen Miles AA Advantage
Posts: 5
One of my favorite things to do in PTY is to get a ceviche at the mercado de mariscos on the Cinta Costera, going towards the casco viejo.

Try the excellent ceviche de concha negra at whichever booth seems more appetizing.
elvatoloko is offline  
Old Oct 9, 14, 11:55 pm
  #14  
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: NYC
Programs: UA Club Card, UA & DL Platinum; Hyatt's Gold Passport, AVIS President's Club, AA, GOES
Posts: 268
We just returned from Panama. We departed EWR at 5:00 PM and arrive in PTY @ 11:30 PM. Make sure that you have your customs & decs form done before you arrive. The signs are in Spanish and the custom officers seems that the only language they speak is Spanish. I tried to let them know that I don't understand Spanish but they don't seem to understand my English. We rented a car from Hertz with a GPS (in English) which worked great. If you get a rental car, make sure you add the pass for the tolls. We enjoyed our stay at the Trump Tower. The infinity pool is beautiful. The pool area is open 24-hours. The restaurants close at around 11:00 PM but they have room service. We had booked a half-day tour to see the Panama Canal with Viator. Before we left the US, the tour company informed us that they would leave a message at the hotel informing what time we would be picked-up. When we checked-in, the message left informed us that we would be picked-up at 5:00 AM at the lobby. I began to worried when I didn't see or hear from anyone at 5:15 AM. The receptionist contacted the tour agency and they told us we would be picked-up in 10-minutes. The 10 minutes was more like 45 minutes. The driver made several pick-ups at different hotels. We finally got picked-up at around 6:15 AM and we still had to make additional pick-ups. We arrived at the pier at 6:45 AM and got processed. At 7:00 AM, we boarded our boat for the Panama Canal. We started towards the canal but we had to wait for someone from the Panama Canal Authority to take over our boat before we approach the Milaflores locks. We went through three different locks. They served breakfast and lunch onboard (part of the package). We finally disembarked at Gamboa at around 1:30 PM. We had to wait for the bus to take us back to our hotels. The trip back from Gamboa to our hotel took about an hour, depending on the traffic. Tiring day but worth the trip.

Since we left on a Sunday, the drive back to the airport took about 30 minutes. We were told that the drive back to the airport on weekdays is terrible. In fact, they told us that on weekdays, expect a two to three hour commute to the airport. We had to stop for gas on the way to the airport. The rental car drop off is at the terminal. They check the car thoroughly for any damages, so make sure that you inspect the car very well when you pick-up the car.

We had downloaded our boarding passes on our iPhones. There was no issue at the security & immigration check-point. We proceeded to the gate and this is when we found out that there is a secondary security check. Make sure that you get a paper copy of your boarding pass before you arrive at the gate as they do not accept electronic boarding passes.
RSonny2010 is offline  
Old Oct 16, 14, 3:26 pm
  #15  
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Programs: DL DM, DL AMEX Reserve
Posts: 271
Originally Posted by Baidu View Post
With limited time, hire a diver for the day. I prefer Panama Roadrunner. http://panamaroadrunner.com. Ask about customizing an trip for you.
Those prices though...
PirateJeff is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread