Located at the Pacific entrance to the Panama Canal, Balbao is a vibrant district of Panama City. The district was founded by the United States of America at the time of Panama Canal's construction. In recent years the town has been developing and expanding the capacity of its port and has experienced a rapid growth in population, which has significantly boosted Balboa's economy. It's friendly, inviting atmosphere and the opportunity to do some fantastic sight-seeing make Balboa an exciting cruise destination.
Balboa's main sight-seeing opportunity is undoubtedly the Panama Canal. This artificial waterway allows ships to move freely across Central America, without navigating the entire continent, and is an impressive feat of construction and engineering. Balboa also boasts many great areas for walking and cycling trails, which provide excellent views of the city's skyline and waterfront. Aside from these attractions, Balbao does offer several other interesting sight-seeing opportunities.
Panama Canal Administration Building
The Panama Canal administration building was opened in 1914, one month after the completion of the Panama Canal. The building attracts visitors from all over the world due to its impressive design and excellent water fountains. The building also contains a series of murals showcasing the construction of the Panama Canal, painted by American artist William B. Van Ingen. The murals are a fitting tribute to the innovative engineering that occurred during the completion of the Panama Canal in the early 20th century.
A walk up Ancon Hill provides visitors with amazing views of the Panama Canal and surrounding areas which are not to be missed. The hill also provides great views of Panama City and can make a fantastic day trip for tourists hoping to take in the sights and sound of Panama without too much expense.
Situated adjacent to the district of Balbao, the Amador Causeway allows for breath-taking views of downtown Panama and Panama Bay. Original built out of rocks excavated for the construction of the Panama Canal in 1913 and then used by the American military, the causeway is now home to many shops and bars and has become a popular tourist attraction.
Shopping in Balboa
Authentic Panamanian crafts and gifts can be found at the Balboa market and the Panama Viejo market located within Panama City. Panama's most famous local craft are ‘molas', hand woven, patterned clothing items made locally. Other places to pick up gifts and souvenirs from your stay in Panama include the Reprosa shopping centre, Mercado Nacional de Artesanias and the Flory Saltzman Mall. For bigger shopping trips, try El Dorado Mall or Multicentro Mall which both include a cinema within the complex.
Eating Out in Balbao
Panama City contains an abundance of different restaurants serving quality food at inexpensive cost. Seafood is amongst the most popular food in Panama and ‘Corvina', a white fish similar to sea bass, is regularly available. The city also offers a range of other eateries including many good Chinese restaurants, which have sprung up as the Chinese population in Panama has increased.