Panama City is Central America's most cosmopolitan capital, a thriving center of international finance, a gateway to many natural riches and a vibrant destination marked by fine dining, chic clubs, shimmering glass towers, stylish neighborhoods and a charming colonial district. Its cultural and architectural diversity are nearly unparalleled in the region, making the city a true Latin playground.
There are many museums in the city, and one of the most impressive is the Museo del Canal Interoceánico, known commonly as the Panama Canal Museum. The detailed exhibits highlight the famous waterway and explain its political and historical context. The labels are in Spanish, but English-speaking guides are available for tours.
The murals around the Panama Canal Administration Building give more insight into the storied waterway's history. The four large murals depict the construction of the canal from the digging of Gaillard Cut to the installation of the Miraflores Locks.
The Centro de Exhibiciones Marinas is also worth a visit. The informative marine museum is home to two aquariums, sweeping views of the city's coast and a natural trail that takes visitors through a patch of dry forest. While strolling, visitors can usually spy at least a few iguanas and sloths. Outside the museum, large drawings of ships allow visitors to identify the vessels waiting to transit the canal.
To get a feel for rural Panama without ever leaving the city, visit the Mi Pueblito museum on the town's western side. The open-air museum features detailed replicas of rural villages in Darien, the Peninsula de Azuero and Bocas del Toro. Local artisans sell handicrafts at the adjacent shops, and folk dances are performed every weekend.
At the Museo de Arte Religioso Colonial, visitors can feast their eyes on a large collection of religious artifacts, some of which are more than 500 years old. Housed next to the ruins of the Santo Domingo Church, the museum is a must-see for anyone with an interest in art or the religious heritage of the region.
Other museums worth exploring include the captivating Museo de Historia Panamá, the Museo Antropológico Reina Torres de Araúz, which contains a great collection of pre-Colombian artifacts, and the Museo de Sitio Panamá Viejo, which is home to an interesting and detailed scale model of the city during the mid-17th century.
Panama City is known for its many distinct neighborhoods, and the Casco Viejo district is one of the most charming and interesting. The “old city” is a UNESCO World Heritage Site marked by cobbled streets, colonial buildings, fascinating ruins and beautiful harbor views.
The capital is a very green city, thanks largely to the Parque Natural Metropolitano. The 265-hectare tropical semi-deciduous forest is a wilderness escape from the urban chaos of the capital, and it features panoramic views, hiking trails and a wide array of wildlife. Visitors can spot over 250 bird species, anteaters, white-tailed deer, titi monkeys, iguanas, tortoises and turtles while hiking, jogging and picnicking in the park.
The Calzada causeway offers more opportunities to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city. The two-kilometer causeway connects the mainland to four small islands, and residents head there in the early mornings and afternoons to skate, jog, walk and enjoy sweeping views of the old city and the skyline. The restaurants and bars that line the causeway are some of the city's best, and the refreshing ocean breezes make them cooler than most.
Other sights worth seeing in Panama City include the Iglesia de San José, the Plaza de Francia, the white-domed Bahá'í House of Worship, the Parque Bolívar, the ornate National Theater and the waterfront Paseo las Bóvedas esplanade.
Panama City Geographical Location
Panama City is located on the southern central coast of Panama at the Pacific entrance of the Panama Canal. It is the largest city in Panama and has a population of approximately 1,275,000.
Panama City Language
Spanish is the official language of Panama but English is very common as a second language.
Panama City Predominant Religion
85% Roman Catholic
There is religious freedom in Panama and the government does not collect any official religious data from its citizens.
Panama City Currency
Panama has two official currencies, the Balboa and the US Dollar.
Panama City Climate
It is hot year-round in Panama City with a wet season that last for most of the year, typically from May until November.
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