Panama City’s Casco Antiguo (old historic quarter) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with an intriguing maritime history. Discover the gems behind its crumbling facades on a private walking tour with one of PSA’s local guides, taking in beautiful colonial architecture as you wander leafy cobble-stoned streets, and indulging in fresh ceviche from one of the fantastic local restaurant in the heart of town, or overlooking the bustling fish market, Mercado de Mariscos. The old town is quiet during the day, but comes alive in the evenings with lots of restaurants and pop up bars – great for people watching.
Panama’s new town couldn’t be more different to the old quarter; a mini-Miami with an ever-growing mass of sky-scrapers lining its shores (Panama’s financial industry is thriving). One of Central America’s most modern and cosmopolitan city’s, with a handful of luxury hotels, fantastic shopping and new fine-dining restaurants popping up every week, many travellers prefer to be based in the new town close to all the buzz, with easy access to the old town for sight-seeing (staying in the old town tends to be noisier at night).
Spend a morning visiting the world-famous Panama Canal; a marvellous feat of engineering and one of the most important, and indeed controversial inventions in the history of international trade. The Canal connects the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, and the story of its construction, over a hundred years ago, is completely extraordinary. Causing international division, political unrest, exploitation of local workers and resulting in hundreds of deaths, it’s construction wildly changed the course of Panama’s economy. It has to be seen to be believed, and is well worth a visit to see how seamlessly huge cruise ships pass through the canal as vast quantities of water are manipulated through intricate lock systems.
Panama’s position as an isthmus connecting the Americas means it is rich in biodiversity. This is celebrated in the city’s famous Biomuseo, worth checking out for its informative and interactive exhibitions on Panama, past and present. The museum was designed by world-famous architect, Frank Gehry, and is a piece of art in itself.
PSA Panama City Perks: We arrange private helicopter rides setting off from Panama Vieja to see the ancient town from above and soaring along the beautiful coast. As Panama is so small, you can see almost the whole country on the ride in just a short flight. This is also a great way to travel out to the San Blas islands for a magical day trip – you’ll feel your toes in the sand in no time.