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A Short Trip to Panama City, Panama

A Short Trip to Panama City, Panama

Old Nov 25, 2018, 3:17 pm
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A Short Trip to Panama City, Panama

Welcome to my latest trip report, this time to the small Central American nation of Panama. We visited multiple attractions throughout the city including the famous Panama Canal, several nature and national parks, Casco Viejo, multiple cathedrals, and went on a short hike for a great view of the city.


Previous reports:
A Week in the Caucasus: Georgia, Azerbaijan
and
Armenia

A Landscape Photography Trip to Oregon

A Trip to Nigeria

A Trip to the Grand Canyon and Sedona

A Trip to the Azores.

One Week in India: Mumbai, Amritsar, Agra/Taj Mahal, Jaipur and Delhi CX and EY J

A Snowstorm in Tokyo and Volcanoes in the Philippines

New Year’s in Seoul, South Korea Delta A350 Suite

Keeping it Domestic: Grand Teton National Park

9 Days in Asia: Taipei, Hanoi, Ha Long Bay and Shanghai

Two Weeks in South Africa and Namibia: Joburg, Cape Town, Sossusvlei and Kruger

Bienvenido a Cuba!


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Old Nov 25, 2018, 3:18 pm
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Day 1




This was a quick, two night, weekend trip down to Panama City, Panama. I got out of work early and flew up to Atlanta to start the trip.

Today's route down to Panama City.



Our Delta 737-800 in Atlanta taking us down to Panama City.



Taking off from Atlanta.



Salmon for dinner.



We landed on time but ended up taxiing around the airport (seemingly aimlessly) before finally arriving at a gate. Once we arrived at the gate the captain came on and said we would be parking here but getting towed to a different gate before deplaning. That made zero sense, especially considering they were bringing the jetway up to the plane. We ended up deplaning at that gate with no explanation about that towing he mentioned.



After a 30 minute Uber ride from the airport, we arrived at the Hampton Inn downtown.




Day 2


Today would be our only full day in Panama City, so needless to say, it was a packed day. We woke up rather early and hit the lobby for some free breakfast. The rest of the day was rather busy.

View from our room.



Walking around Panama City looking for an ATM before heading over to the Panama Canal.



The Miraflores Locks are a 20 minute Uber ride from downtown Panama City. It's one of the three main locks making up the Panama Canal and was completed in 1914 (the expansion was completed in 2016).



Miraflores Locks.



When we arrived, this ship was just coming through. This is how it looks before the locks are closed.



The lock doors closing.



Closed and raised.



The whole process took about 10 minutes which was much quicker than I was expecting.



We spent a few minutes in the museum before moving on.



After the canal, we moved a bit further inland to the Soberania National Park. It seemed like a nice place to walk around on Google Maps, plus I had read that they had some jaguars.



Turtle.



If anyone knows what this is, let me know.



Jaguar.



Walking around Sobernia National Park.



We headed back into the city for some lunch. We went with a Mexican place for some tacos that a friend recommended.



Interesting exhaust setup on this bus.



The next stop was Iglesia del Carmen. We didn't go in but just stopped to take a look.



We hopped in another Uber to head to our next stop.



Our next stop was the Metropolitan Natural Park, which provides great views of the city. The hike up wasn't too strenuous (minus the heat and humidity) and took about 30 minutes each way.



A panoramic view of Panama City from the Metropolitan Natural Park.



Panama City's modern skyline.



Up next was the fish market and some ceviche for a snack. We looked around in the actual market first where people can go to buy fish.



Mercado de Mariscos, Panama City.



We went around back where a bunch of food stalls were located. We hunted down the one with green chairs that a few people online recommended.



We picked up some fresh ceviche, a beer and some fries for a few dollars a person.



The next area of interest was Casco Viejo, which is Panama City's old city. This area was first settled in 1673.



Casco Viejo.



Casco Viejo.



Walking around Casco Viejo.



The Catedral de Panama took over 100 years to be built and was completed in 1796. It's one of the largest churches in Central America.



Casco Viejo.



Before dinner but after sunset, we stopped at two spots along the water to get some pictures of Panama City's skyline.



Panama City during blue hour.



We went to a rather nice restaurant for dinner, though still pretty affordable. I went with the special, which was fried ceviche.





Day 3



Not much to say about the third day. We got up early and headed to the airport for the 8AM flight back to Atlanta. We did not get First this time, but the flight was rather open in the back, so still comfortable.

The Delta A321 taking me back down to Tampa from Atlanta after a fun weekend in Central America.



Overall, this was a fun and quick trip down to country #49 , Panama. I'd love to return one day and visit the more rural rainforest areas which seem interesting, especially for photography. The city was an interesting combination of history and modern architecture, the food was excellent and the whole city is pretty affordable in general.

Stay tuned, up next is my trip to Ukraine with visits to Kiev, Chernobyl and Pripyat, along with a layover in Frankfurt, Germany on the way back.
EKorSQ and bitterproffit like this.
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Old Nov 25, 2018, 4:45 pm
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I once spent 3 months in Panama back in the late 90s. I lived in a hotel in Panama City and drove across the Bridge of the Americas over the canal to work every day. I think the skyline was significant smaller then. I heard that they have a subway line plus a bypass road that goes out into the bay, skirting downtown.
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Old Nov 25, 2018, 5:15 pm
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Nice report, ChiefNWA, and I enjoyed reading about your trip to Panama. Glad you made it to Casco Viejo - my wife and I loved exploring there. I think we also took the same DL flight down - it was also on a 737-800, but this was back in 2015!

Thanks for sharing.

Matthew
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Old Nov 25, 2018, 9:30 pm
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The animal with the hook nose is a Baird's Tapir. They call it the macho de monte.
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Old Nov 26, 2018, 4:01 am
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Looks like a great weekend getaway.

Panama is one of those places I would love to do a stopover while on a trip to Central or South America.

I guess living in Florida you speak basic Spanish? I found it helped quite a lot during my trip to Colombia.

Last edited by DanielW; Nov 26, 2018 at 4:06 am
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Old Nov 26, 2018, 5:49 am
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Really great TR and really great photos! I was in Panama for a mileage run a few years ago but only stayed for a few hours - it looks like I missed a lot! Thanks for sharing.
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Old Nov 26, 2018, 6:10 am
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Originally Posted by HawaiiTrvlr
I once spent 3 months in Panama back in the late 90s. I lived in a hotel in Panama City and drove across the Bridge of the Americas over the canal to work every day. I think the skyline was significant smaller then. I heard that they have a subway line plus a bypass road that goes out into the bay, skirting downtown.
The skyline was likely much smaller then, Panama has seen a lot of growth in recent years. They do indeed have a subway line and that road that jaunts out into the water. It's called the Cinta Costera.

Originally Posted by 757
Nice report, ChiefNWA, and I enjoyed reading about your trip to Panama. Glad you made it to Casco Viejo - my wife and I loved exploring there. I think we also took the same DL flight down - it was also on a 737-800, but this was back in 2015!

Thanks for sharing.

Matthew
Thanks! Cassco Viejo was interesting. Too bad we saved it for last as we had limited time there before it got dark. Next time.

Originally Posted by ricktoronto
The animal with the hook nose is a Baird's Tapir. They call it the macho de monte.
Thanks! I knew it deep down as I remember reading the sign for that enclosure, just couldn't quite remember when writing up the report.
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Old Nov 26, 2018, 6:15 am
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Originally Posted by DanielW
Looks like a great weekend getaway.

Panama is one of those places I would love to do a stopover while on a trip to Central or South America.

I guess living in Florida you speak basic Spanish? I found it helped quite a lot during my trip to Colombia.
Thanks Daniel! Copa usually offers good stopover fares when flying through PTY, and one or two days is really all you need to see the city. More if you want to get deep into the rainforest.

I live in Tampa, so Spanish isn't as widely spoken as it is in Miami, but it's still present. I took four years of Spanish in grade school as well, though I've lost quite a bit of that. I speak enough of it to maintain a very basic conversation and cherry pick words to grasp what someone is saying. All the verb tenses and dictation though are what get me.

I'm going to have a short layover in Dubai in May, any restaurant recommendations? I land from ADD at around 4 and have a midnight flight to YYZ.

Originally Posted by Madone59
Really great TR and really great photos! I was in Panama for a mileage run a few years ago but only stayed for a few hours - it looks like I missed a lot! Thanks for sharing.
Thanks! You should definitely return, Copa has some pretty competitive fares. I think FTers might end up seeing PTY now considering Copa has introduced lieflats on their 737 Max planes, it's well worth the layover I think.
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Old Nov 26, 2018, 11:29 am
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Originally Posted by ChiefNWA
Thanks! I knew it deep down as I remember reading the sign for that enclosure, just couldn't quite remember when writing up the report.
Indeed a Tapir, in the wild in Costa Rica. You find a lot of them in the southern parts of the country in the rain forest. Had a couple of scares with them running on the field while on approach into the fields out in the isolated national parks here.
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Old Nov 27, 2018, 6:48 am
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Nice modern skyline, and photos!
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Old Nov 28, 2018, 8:30 am
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Originally Posted by hkskyline
Nice modern skyline, and photos!
Thanks hkskyline!
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Old Dec 5, 2018, 1:53 pm
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Thanks again for the TR. I really like the photos from the canal.
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Old Dec 7, 2018, 11:59 am
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Originally Posted by nequine
Thanks again for the TR. I really like the photos from the canal.
Thanks!
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