Panama: What to do In Panama City

The City of Panama


Where to Stay

There are three main places to stay: Casco Antiguo (pictured above), the New City (Panama City) or Playa Blanca (the beach just over the Panama Canal).

Casco Antiguo:

It’s a mix between New Orleans, Buenos Aires and Charleston, South Carolina. It has a lot more charm than the New City of Panama City- but less modern amenities and luxuries. The best place to stay is Casa del Horno and the best place to eat is Las Clementinas. People also recommend eating at Ego– see a New York Times restaurant review. As for shopping, there is an adorable shop of true artisanal items for your home interior from Panama, Karavan. The items are incredibly high in quality — feels like a more authentic version of Serena and Lily. The owner is a friend and one of the most intriguing people we have met on our travels- a serious adventurer. Even if you do not stay here, Casco Antiguo is a must see.

The New (Panama) City:

The main part of the city. It is where most business, restaurants and hotels are. The best place to stay is at the Bristol Hotel. It’s one of the “Leading Hotels of the World”, walking distance to the best restaurants– you can’t go wrong. You are greeted by men in traditional colonial dress with panama hats. The old-school dining room is one of the few places which still adheres to a formal dress code- even for breakfast.

Playa Blanca:

The is the place for people who want to see the city — but don’t love cities. Playa Blanca is right over the Panama Canal– a straight shot from the airport. But get off the highway and you hear an amazing sound– nature buzzing all around you. The air smells so wonderful, amazing actually, and there are street signs that look like this. Ah, should we drive up that?

As far as accomodation, the Intercontinental and the Westin are 100% sterile, borderline cheesy and a bit overpriced– but you are 10 minutes outside of the city with giants infinity pools and a piña colada. That makes up for a lot of bland decoration.

Where to Eat in Panama City

The food is not amazing in Panama. As for restaurant recommendations in the New City, while we didn’t find it to be the case, many people consider La Posta to be the best restaurant in the city. Market, La Trona and media Luna are good.

View from the Outside of La Posta