Both times I’ve been here, I mainly just got hammered.

Overview

Backpacking Panama city? Here’s why I hated and loved it. Panama City was like Marmite for me. It’s huge expanse of business and crowds I hated, it’s old historic area with winding streets, atmospheric bars and a gym! A bloody gym! Loved.

After checking into Lunas Castle, great place with a popular backyard bar. I wandered round the old town grabbing a few (many) cheeky beers on roof tops and in hipster style bars. In old town I felt pretty safe staying and letting loose. There’s police and travellers everywhere. I was here for three days prior to catching the boat to the Colombia via the San Blas islands. Wrote a post here about this wicked journey and why you should do it.

Backpacking Panama city? Here's why I hated and loved it. The famous canal s a boat passes through

The famous canal s a boat passes through

This was spectacular

The famous canal was quite spectacular and worth chilling to watch it in action as boats came through.

I wandered out to the local meat market, course I did. On the first day about a 30 min stroll away from the old town and picked up some amazing chicken thighs and seafood for a cheap as chips. Made myself a lovely stew that lasted for a couple of days, which kept me happy on the hangovers.


Do’s

  • Stay in the old town at Lunas castleit’s comfy, great for socialising (with its own backyard bar) and situated in the best location
  • Visit the canal, there’s an all you can eat for rather cheap with a splendid view

Don’ts

  • Explore areas to far outside the old town and canal area unless you’ve something specific to see
  • Stay more than a couple of days

I’m not much a city go’er, I can’t say I found Panama epic. It was decent, great for partying, meeting people and stocking up on supplies. Like boxers. But, If I was pushed for time travelling, I’d skip this place and head straight for Panamas Bocas Islands.

Backpacking Panama city? Here's why I hated and loved it. The boats sitting on the water in the city port
The boats sitting on the water in the city port

Tips for healthy eats

  • There’s local mini marts around the old town but I’d recommend heading out a little to the street markets found on the out-skirts for fruit and veg purchased from the locals. Cheaper and fresher.
  • You’ll find a lot of fancy restaurants in the old town and a not so many cheap healthy eats, so I chose to cook in Lunas Castle kitchen for the most part.

How to get meat for that protein hit

  • The local down town market isn’t too far away from the old town area. Heading there early morning during the day means it’s safe and you’ll get the best cuts.
  • Little supermarket shops in the old town sell basic fruit and veg.

Where to exercise

There’s a few gym options, the best being Planet Gym. It’s about $10 for a session so stay for a few hours and make the most of it. I was going to be at sea for 5 days after Panama so I went hell for leather.

Failing that, running along the water front of the Old Town and finding yourself your own exercise area will do the trick.

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TRX Traveller

Travel with Fitness Blogger permanently backpacking the world. TRX/bands/bodyweight expert | Travel & home workouts. Sharing EPIC destinations, functional fitness & nutrition tips.

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