Both times I’ve been here, I mainly just got hammered.
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! I 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. I felt pretty safe staying and letting loose in the old town, 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.
I thought 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.
- Stay in the old town at Lunas castle, it’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
- 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 spectacular. 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.
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.
- There’s 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.
- The 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.