5 Things to do This Weekend in Panama City

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The weekend is upon us, and that means (for most of us), it’s time to enjoy some free time with family and friends. If you are living in Panama, or visiting Panama City, there’s plenty for you to do, no matter what your tastes. Panama City is great on the weekends, and truly is the beating heart of the country when it comes to energy, diversity, and style. Here are 5 of our top recommendations for things to do, this weekend or any while you’re in town.

Cinta Costera, Panama

1. Visit Panama Viejo:

Not to be confused with Casco Viejo, Panama Viejo is the original ruins of the old city in Panama. It’s basically an outdoor, walkable museum with surprisingly in tact structures and town layout from around 500 years ago. The ruins of the old settlement are located just to the east of the San Francisco neighborhood, and is accessible easily by taxi, Uber, or bus. There is an actual museum near the entrance, plus walkable ruins and old streets, with guided tours available if requested. This is a great way to spend a weekend day, and if you go early enough, it won’t be too crowded.

2. If it’s Raining, Go Shopping:

Panama’s rainy season can dampen even the best laid plans on the weekend sometimes. It’s just something that people living in Panama have come to expect, and learned to prepare for. Luckily, Panama City boasts some of the best shopping in the hemisphere, with about 4 major shopping malls within its metroplex, perfect to escape a rainy day. Check out Albrook Mall, the 6th largest of its kind in the world, for pretty much all of your shopping needs, as well as fast food dining and movies. For a more upscale mall, check out Multiplaza in Punta Pacifica.

3. Go for a Bike Ride:

With all the traffic in Panama, it would seem as though the city isn’t a great place for the novice bike rider. This, however, is incorrect. Biking in Panama has gained tremendous popularity over the last few years, mainly because of the Cinta Costera, and the access to affordable rentals and bike clubs. You can rent a bike for about $25 for most of the afternoon, and bike down dedicated lanes on one of Panama’s most scenic areas. The Cinta Costera 1, 2, and 3 are all setup for pedestrian and biker traffic only, and provides great views and beautiful ocean breezes as well!

4. Explore the Gamboa Rainforest and Surroundings:

Gamboa is a small Canal Zone town about a 30-minute drive or so from downtown Panama City. Gamboa is full of great tours that can be done in a day, or in a morning/afternoon. You can hike through the rainforest, take a gondola above the tree canopy, learn about the local wildlife, and tour both Lake Gatun and the rest of the Canal. If a day just doesn’t seem like enough time to get done all you want to in Gamboa, stay at the Gamboa Rainforest Resort, which is also the hub for many of the area’s tours and excursions.

5. Dinner and Drinks in Casco:

Casco Viejo is by far the most popular area for both visitors and locals to spend time in on the weekends. Casco is great for walking, shopping, and historic churches, but it really shines when it comes to restaurants and bars. Some of the country’s best restaurants are in Casco Viejo, and you can get a truly unique and memorable experience in practically every one. Make sure to call ahead, and be patient if you have to wait, as Casco’s bars and restaurants fill up fast, especially on the weekend.

About Manoj Chatlani

Manoj Chatlani is a Senior Partner at POLS Attorneys, a full-service law firm in Panama City, Panama. Specializing in offshore services, including asset protection, estate planning, offshore banking, and offshore corporations, as well as Panama immigration and real estate transactions, POLS Attorneys offers clients a streamlined solution to all their Panama legal needs. Manoj is a Panamanian lawyer and holds a law degree from USMA and earned a Masters in Communication Law and Panama Tax law.

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