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Panama City is the cosmopolitan capital of Central America, complete with fine dining and diverse architecture. The multi-cultural population is a result of its enduring allure, with Latin American, Asian and even North American and European immigrants coming to embrace this cultural hub as their own. With this ethnic diversity comes a fervent energy fuelled by the variety, producing exciting nightlife spots and stylish neighbourhoods.
Much like the people, the architecture has a global set of influences- old Havana, colonial Europe and shimmering glass and steel towers combine throughout the districts, crafting the incomparable impression of a city with a timeless heritage embracing the modern with true panache.
Centro de Exhibiciones Marinas
The CEM, as it is known by the locals, is a perfect place in which to become more closely acquainted with the local flora and fauna, without even leaving the cosmopolitan comforts of Panama City's picturesque districts.
The museum tour takes in two full-size aquariums containing fish from both Caribbean and Pacific waters, but the real delight is a preserved stretch of dry forest which lets get up close and personal with Sloths and Iguanas in their natural habitats. Adding the useful audio and visual presentations which are handily translated into English makes this informative exhibit even more fascinating.
The Panama Canal
Of course, you can't have a visit to this region without visiting the Panama Canal, one of the most incredible man-made structures on earth. Bisecting the country and connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean, this amazing route stretches 44 miles across the Panama Isthmus, with innumerable settlements and villages dotted upon its banks. From the centre of Panama City, you can easily stroll to the Calzada, the Pacific entrance to this magnificent waterway, and an idyllic causeway which links the four small islands of Naos, Culebra, Perico and Flamenco. A popular spot for the city natives, the palm-tree lined shorelines are often filled with the vibrant variety of Panama City's populace.
Baha'i House of Worship
If you head to the outskirts of the city on foot, you will probably see the white dome of the Baha'i House of Worship long before you reach it. Atop the crest of a hill overlooking the entire expanse of the city, this sacred building serves as the mother temple for the whole of Latin America. The close you get to the pure white façade of the dome, the more you will be able to see the thousands of small oval tiles that make up the weave of it contours. You could spend hours marvelling at the view, but the vaulted interior of this awe-inspiring building will have you whiling away the afternoon within its serene halls.
Karavan is a great place to shop, especially if you are looking for authentic products. Original Kuna embroidery combines with Congo art to create a scintillating array of original art pieces, all of which can be taken home. Local artisans populate Karavan every day, so you can always find a stunning original art piece for your personal collection.
The Rene Café sits under the towering Iglesia Cathedral, but it's not just the view which you should be visiting for. This newcomer to the Panama City restaurant scene has become somewhat of a local favourite, serving fire-roasted lobster and tart mango salad with crunchy greens.
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