Panama City, Panama

Panama City is the capital and biggest city in Panama. It covers 275 sq km (106.2 sq mi) and has a population of 881,000 people (2011 estimate), within a metropolitan area of 1.3 million people. Located on the southern entrance to the Panama Canal facing the Pacific Ocean, it is the political, administrative and transportation hub of the country.

More on Panama City

Panama City was established in 1519 by Spanish conquistador Pedro Arias Dávila as the base for expeditions to conquer the Inca Empire. It grew as a crossroad for trade routes. It was through here that the gold and silver the Spanish took passed through.

The original city was ransacked by English pirate Henry Morgan in 1671, and a new city was built in its place in 1673. It is located 8 km from the original site, which became known as Panama Viejo.

Today Panama City has grown to become one of the most modern in Central America. Its skyline is a dense concentration of skyscrapers, many of which being condominiums owned by European and American retirees making the city their second home. The city is in the 39th position for total highrise buildings in the world.

Golden altar of San José Church, Panama City
Golden altar of San José Church, Panama City
Author: Editorpana (Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported)

Visiting Panama City

The Tocumen International Airport (PTY) is the largest and busiest airport in Central America. There are flights from Amsterdam, Aruba, Atlanta, Barranquilla, Belo Horizonte, Bogotá, Brasilia, Buenos Aires, Cali, Cancún, Caracas, Cartagena, Chicago, Córdoba, Curaçao, Frankfurt, Guadalajara, Guatemala City, Guayaquil, Havana, Kingston, Lima, Los Angeles, Madrid, Managua, Manaus, Maracaibo, Medellín, Mexico City, Miami, Montego Bay, Monterrey, Montevideo, Nassau, New York-JFK, Newark, Orlando, Port-au-Prince, Port of Spain, Porto Alegre, Punca Cana, Quito, Rio de Janeiro, San José de Costa Rica, San Juan, San Pedro Sula, San Salvador, Santiago de Chile, Santiago de los Caballeros, Santo Domingo de Guzmán, São Paulo, St Marteen, Tegucigalpa, Toronto, Valencia and Washington DC, among others.

The most practical way to move about in Panama City is to take a taxi. Although the taxis do not carry a meter, the fares are strictly regulated. The driver should have a chart with map which shows how much the fare should be.

Aerial view of Panama City
Aerial view of Panama City
Author: dsasso (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic)

Places of Interest in Panama City

  1. Amador Causeway
    Causeway connecting three islands to the mainland. It provides a splendid view of the Panama City skyline.

  2. Casco Viejo
    The historic neighborhood of Panama City, with colonial-style civic buildings, churches and museums.

  3. Mi Pueblitos
    An ethnographic museum documenting the various ethnic groups in Panama.

  4. Panama Canal
    The most important sight in the city. Most visitors go to Miraflores locks to watch the ocean liners entering the canal. It has a visitor center and museum, along with an upscale restaurant in case you wish to lunch there.

  5. Panama Viejo
    Ruins of the original Panama city which was ransacked by pirate Henry Morgan in 1671.

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