Occasional Traveler

A collection of my thoughts and photos on travel.

Posts Tagged ‘Panama City

Panama Viejo

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November 27, 2009 | We took a morning flight out of Bocas del Toro back to Panama City.  After checking in to our hostel (we had a private room with a private bathroom), we took a cab to Panama Viejo to see the ruins of Old Panama City.  After going through the museum (there were some English-speaking guides as the museum is completely in Spanish), we continued outside to see the ruins.

Through the remains of an old building, you can see the blur that is my sister walking down the sidewalk.  The area outside of the ruins is supposedly a bit sketchy so we didn’t wander outside of the area.

Some of the ruins have had some additions for some structural support.  I also snapped a shot of some local kids playing across the street (that’s not creepy, right?).


Written by Jessica

February 8, 2011 at 8:58 AM

Miraflores Locks

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November 22, 2009 | After visiting Ancon Hill, our taxi driver drove us to Miraflores Locks.   It was a relief to be in the air-conditioned museum.  Entrance fee was $8 per person (for non-Panamanians).  For $5, we could have just seen the viewing deck and passed on the museum.  The museum was very informative.  After walking through the floors, we went to eat at the restaurant in the building.  We were lucky enough to see some sailboats pass through the locks– it would have been cooler to see a cruise ship or some other big boat, but the next one wasn’t scheduled for another couple of hours.

You can see the different water levels and one of the gates in this picture.  Once a boat is in the locks, the boat is navigated through the locks by people located on both sides of the locks with ropes.  It’s really not a beautiful location or anything, but the canal is an amazing man-made project and definitely worth visiting.

Interestingly enough, it was William Nelson Cromwell (of Sullivan & Cromwell– the law firm my sister works for!) that was hired to lobby the US Congress to build the canal across Panama instead of Nicaragua.  At the time, Panama was part of Columbia and Columbia wanted a lot of money to let us build the canal.  Turns out there was a Panama separatist group and guess what the U.S. did?  We supported their movement, and before you know it, Panama was independent.  And that was how the U.S. came to build the Panama Canal!

Written by Jessica

January 29, 2010 at 2:01 AM

Panama City

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November 22, 2009 | We arrived in Panama City at night, had dinner, and rested up at Balboa Inn, located in a quiet neighborhood. After complimentary breakfast at the inn, we hired a taxi driver to drive us around for a few hours. Our first stop was Ancon Hill– but the taxi driver could only drive partially up and we had to walk the rest of the trail up the hill.

This is a view of the city that we saw on the way up–

The hike was good, but it was hot!  There was some shade from trees on the way up. I’d say it’d be a 20-30 minute hike one-way.  Some other pictures I took on the hike:

The building in the left image was at the top of the hill.  Next to the building was a covered area with some guards sitting at the picnic tables.  The middle image was an old guardhouse (?) that had been painted.  And the right image was a stray cat that was hanging out at the top of the hill under a bench.  Cute!

The Balboa area just below the hill where we stayed was once part of U.S. jurisdiction so you’ll notice that the houses are nicer and the neighborhood is very nice.  The Panama Canal Administration Building is also located in Balboa, with the Goethals Monument located just in front of it.  We drove by so I didn’t get a chance to take a picture.

Written by Jessica

January 25, 2010 at 11:30 PM

Attractions in Panama City

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In the tentative itinerary for the 8-day Panama trip, we will start and finish in Panama City. There are three main attractions that I’m planning on visiting.  In addition to these three, we’re also going to dine on Amador Causeway, hike up Ancon Hill for a great view of the city, and shop Centro Municipal de Artesania Panamenas for souvenirs!

If we had more time, I would also want to visit Parque Natural Metropolitano (it’s a must-see if you won’t have a chance to visit any other regional parks) but we’ll have plenty of opportunities to hike and see wildlife in Boquete!

Casco Viejo

“Casco Viejo” translates to “old quarter” and refers to the historic center of Panama City.  Casco Viejo is a 38-block area is full of history around every corner, with sites such as the Golden Alter of Iglesia San Jose and the Canal Museum. Good views of Amador Causeway the Bridge of the Americas, and the Panama City skyline can be seen.

While the area itself is safe, the neighborhoods that you pass to get into the area are not as safe and taking a taxi is recommended.   My plan is for us to take a taxi in one morning and just do a self-guided tour around the area (~1.5 hours).

Sources: Panamainfo.com, Frommers.com (Casco Viejo walking tour)

Miraflores Locks

Probably one of the most visited sites in Panama City, Miraflores Locks is one of the three locks of the Panama Canal.  The Miraflores Locks visitor center has 4 floors, with a restaurant on the 3rd floor.  I’ve read that the food isn’t extraordinary (yet a little pricey) but the views are!  I’m planning on visiting in the morning and having lunch at the restaurant in the center (total ~2.5-3 hours).

Open daily 9am-5pm, $8 for adults (foreigners).
Restaurant open daily 12pm-11pm.

Sources: Panama Canal Authority (official website)

Panama Viejo

You’ve probably figured out that this translates to “old Panama.”  Panama Viejo is the oldest European settlement on the Pacific coast of the americas, founded in 1519 by conquistaor Pedrarias Davila.  It was the capital of the country until 1671 when the city was attacked and a fire destroyed the city.

Frommers.com recommends starting at the Panama Viejo Visitor’s Center & Museum (with information both in English and Spanish) and then walking to the Cathedral Tower. Word is, tour buses come in the morning, so it’s best to visit in the afternoon to avoid those crowds!

My plan is to visit for ~2 hours after lunch.  It’s a 4-mile, $2 taxi ride from downtown.

Open Tu-Su 9am-5pm, $6 adults (includes cost of Cathedral Tower).

Sources: Wikipedia, Frommers.com, Patronato Panama Viejo (official website – Spanish)

Written by Jessica

June 23, 2009 at 2:46 PM

Posted in Panama, travel

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