Are you tired of doing the same touristy activities and looking for something fresh and exciting to do in Panama City? Look no further, as we have rounded up a list of the best non-touristy things to do in Panama City. From exploring vibrant neighborhoods to indulging in the local culture and enjoying unique activities, there is always something new to discover in this city. So, put on your walking shoes and let’s get started!
Explore Panama City’s Vibrant Neighborhoods
Casco Viejo: A Blend of History and Modernity
Casco Viejo is the historic district of Panama City that dates back to the 17th century. It is a charming mix of vibrant architecture, lively plazas, and narrow cobblestone streets. This neighborhood is a perfect blend of history and modernity, as it has undergone significant renovation and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
As you walk through the streets of Casco Viejo, you will feel as though you have stepped back in time. The colorful buildings and colonial architecture transport you to another era. The neighborhood is also home to many boutique shops, cafes, and restaurants, where you can indulge in local cuisine and shop for unique souvenirs to take home.
While here, we recommend visiting the Panama Canal Museum, which provides an overview of the history of the Panama Canal and its construction. You can also stroll along the waterfront and enjoy a stunning view of Panama City’s skyline from across the bay.
Obarrio: The Heart of Panama City’s Nightlife
Obarrio is located in the heart of Panama City and is known for its bustling nightlife scene. It is home to some of the city’s best bars, nightclubs, and restaurants, making it the perfect destination for a night out. Here, you can indulge in delicious food, sip on cocktails, and dance the night away.
But Obarrio is not just a destination for party-goers. During the day, the neighborhood is a hub for business and commerce, with many banks and corporate offices located here. You can also find high-end shopping malls and luxury hotels in the area.
San Francisco: A Mix of Local Culture and Urban Development
San Francisco is a mix of local culture and urban development, making it a must-visit destination. It is known for its street art, small boutiques and retail stores, green parks, and restaurants serving delicious traditional food.
The neighborhood is home to many local artists and designers, and you can find unique handmade products in the boutiques and markets. San Francisco is also a great place to try traditional Panamanian food, such as arroz con pollo (chicken and rice), ceviche, and empanadas.
While here, you can visit the Mercado de Mariscos, a local seafood market, and indulge in fresh ceviche or seafood soup. The park in San Francisco is also a popular spot for locals to gather and enjoy outdoor activities, such as jogging, yoga, and picnics.
Discover Panama City’s Natural Wonders
Metropolitan Natural Park: A Green Oasis in the City
Metropolitan Natural Park is a lush green oasis in the middle of Panama City. It is home to an abundance of exotic wildlife, including monkeys, sloths, and tropical birds. The park is a popular destination for nature enthusiasts and those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. The park has many hiking trails, ranging from easy to challenging, that offer stunning views of the city and the surrounding natural landscape.
If you’re interested in learning more about the park and its inhabitants, you can take a guided tour with a knowledgeable local guide. The guides will take you on a journey through the park, pointing out the different species of plants and animals that call the park home. You’ll also learn about the park’s history and its importance to the local ecosystem.
After your hike or tour, you can enjoy a picnic surrounded by the beautiful natural scenery. The park has several picnic areas that offer stunning views of the city and the surrounding forests. You can relax and enjoy the peaceful surroundings while listening to the sounds of the wildlife.
Ancon Hill: Panoramic Views and Wildlife Encounters
Ancon Hill is one of the highest points in Panama City and provides a stunning panoramic view of the city’s skyline. It is a popular destination for tourists and locals alike, offering breathtaking views of the city and the surrounding natural landscape. The hill is also home to a variety of exotic wildlife, including monkeys, sloths, and tropical birds.
If you’re interested in wildlife encounters, Ancon Hill is the perfect place to spot many exotic birds and animals. The hill is covered in lush vegetation, providing the perfect habitat for a variety of species. You can take a leisurely hike up the hill, stopping along the way to observe the wildlife and take in the stunning views.
At the top of the hill, you’ll be rewarded with a panoramic view of the city’s skyline and the surrounding natural landscape. It’s the perfect place to take photos and enjoy the stunning beauty of Panama City.
The Amador Causeway: A Scenic Walk or Bike Ride
The Amador Causeway is a scenic road that connects Panama City to four small islands. The causeway is a popular destination for locals and tourists alike, offering spectacular views of the Panama Canal and the Pacific Ocean. The causeway is also a great place to take a leisurely walk or bike ride, stopping at the local vendors and restaurants along the way.
As you walk or bike along the causeway, you’ll be surrounded by stunning views of the ocean and the city’s skyline. You can stop at one of the many restaurants and enjoy a delicious meal while taking in the beautiful scenery. The causeway is also home to several shops and vendors, offering a variety of souvenirs and local products.
If you’re interested in history, you can visit the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute on one of the islands. The institute is dedicated to the study of tropical ecosystems and offers a variety of exhibits and educational programs.
The Amador Causeway is the perfect place to spend a relaxing afternoon, enjoying the stunning natural beauty of Panama City. Whether you’re looking for a scenic walk, a bike ride, or a delicious meal, the causeway has something for everyone.
Immerse Yourself in Panamanian Culture
If you’re planning a trip to Panama, make sure to immerse yourself in the country’s rich culture. From museums to markets, there are plenty of ways to experience the best of what Panama has to offer.
The Panama Canal Museum: A Journey Through History
One of the most iconic landmarks in Panama is the Panama Canal, and the Panama Canal Museum is the perfect place to learn about its history. The museum is located in the heart of Casco Viejo, a historic neighborhood in Panama City. It offers a comprehensive overview of the canal’s construction, its impact on the Panamanian economy, and its significance to the world’s economy.
Inside the museum, you’ll find interactive exhibits that bring the history of the canal to life. You can see models of the canal’s locks, learn about the workers who built the canal, and explore the impact that the canal has had on the world’s shipping industry. It’s an educational and fun experience for visitors of all ages.
The Biomuseo: Celebrating Panama’s Biodiversity
Panama is home to a unique ecosystem that has had a significant impact on the world’s biodiversity. The Biomuseo, located along the Amador Causeway, celebrates this biodiversity and the evolution of the isthmus of Panama.
The museum was designed by the renowned architect, Frank Gehry, and is a work of art in itself. Inside, you can learn about the different ecosystems in Panama, from the rainforest to the coral reefs. You can also explore the museum’s outdoor exhibits and see the native flora and fauna up close. It’s a fascinating and educational experience that is perfect for both adults and children.
The Mercado de Mariscos: A Taste of Local Seafood
No trip to Panama is complete without indulging in the country’s delicious seafood. The Mercado de Mariscos is the largest seafood market in Panama City and is a great destination for foodies.
Here, you can taste the freshest seafood caught that day, including shrimp, lobster, and ceviche. You can also watch the fishermen unload their catch and experience the hustle and bustle of the market. It’s a great way to immerse yourself in the local culture and taste some of the best seafood in Panama.
Overall, Panama is a country that is rich in culture and history. Whether you’re interested in museums, markets, or outdoor adventures, there is something for everyone to enjoy. So why not book your trip today and discover all that Panama has to offer?
Experience Panama City’s Unique Activities
Panama City is a vibrant and exciting destination that offers a wide range of unique activities for visitors to enjoy. From exploring the ruins of the original city to taking a scenic train ride, there is something for everyone in this bustling metropolis.
Panama Viejo: Exploring the Ruins of the Original City
Panama Viejo is a must-visit destination for history buffs and anyone interested in the rich cultural heritage of Panama. This ancient city was founded in 1519 and served as the capital of Panama until it was destroyed by pirates in the 17th century.
Today, visitors can explore the remains of the city’s ruins and learn about its fascinating history. The site features a number of well-preserved buildings and structures, including the cathedral and the governor’s palace. You can also visit the onsite museum, which houses a collection of artifacts and exhibits that tell the story of Panama Viejo and its people.
The Embera Village: A Glimpse into Indigenous Life
The Embera Village is a unique experience that provides a glimpse into the life of the indigenous Emberá people. This community is located deep in the heart of the rainforest and is only accessible by boat.
During your visit, you can learn about the Emberá culture, history, and take part in traditional dances and ceremonies. You can also purchase handmade crafts and souvenirs made by the Emberá people, including intricate baskets and colorful textiles.
One of the highlights of a visit to the Embera Village is the opportunity to interact with the locals and learn about their way of life. The Emberá people are known for their hospitality and are always happy to share their customs and traditions with visitors.
The Panama Canal Railway: A Scenic Train Ride
The Panama Canal Railway is a must-do activity for anyone visiting Panama City. This historic railway was built in the mid-19th century and was instrumental in the construction of the Panama Canal.
The train ride takes you through stunning tropical rainforests and over the famous Panama Canal. Along the way, you can enjoy panoramic views of the canal, bridges, and lush greenery. The journey is a relaxing and unique way to experience the beauty of Panama.
The Panama Canal Railway is also known for its luxurious amenities, including comfortable seating, air conditioning, and onboard dining. You can sit back, relax, and enjoy the scenic views while sipping on a refreshing drink or snacking on a delicious meal.
Whether you’re interested in history, culture, or natural beauty, Panama City has something for everyone. With its unique activities and vibrant atmosphere, it’s no wonder that this destination is a favorite among travelers from around the world.
Enjoy Panama City’s Off-the-Beaten-Path Attractions
Panama City is a vibrant and diverse city that offers visitors a unique blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. While there are many popular tourist attractions in the city, there are also many off-the-beaten-path destinations that are worth exploring. In this article, we will take a closer look at some of these hidden gems that are sure to delight and surprise visitors.
The Afro-Antillean Museum: A Tribute to Panama’s Caribbean Heritage
The Afro-Antillean Museum is a fascinating destination that celebrates the rich and diverse Caribbean heritage of Panama. Located in the neighborhood of Calidonia, the museum is home to a collection of photographs, artifacts, and documents that highlight the influence of African and Caribbean culture on Panama. Visitors can explore the exhibits and learn about the history of the Afro-Antillean community in Panama, which has played an important role in shaping the country’s culture and identity.
One of the highlights of the museum is the collection of traditional costumes and textiles that showcase the vibrant and colorful fashion of the Afro-Antillean community. Visitors can also learn about the music, dance, and culinary traditions of this community, which have all had a profound impact on Panama’s cultural landscape.
The Punta Culebra Nature Center is a must-visit destination for wildlife lovers who want to explore the natural beauty of Panama. Located along the Amador Causeway, the nature center is home to an extensive collection of marine life, including sea turtles, octopus, and stingrays. Visitors can explore the exhibits and learn about the diverse marine ecosystems that are found in the waters around Panama.
In addition to the marine life exhibits, the Punta Culebra Nature Center also has an outdoor area where visitors can observe various species of birds and land animals. The nature center is a peaceful and tranquil destination that offers a respite from the hustle and bustle of Panama City.
The Diablo Rosso Art Gallery: Showcasing Contemporary Panamanian Art
The Diablo Rosso Art Gallery is a unique and innovative art gallery that showcases contemporary Panamanian art and design. Located in the vibrant neighborhood of San Francisco, the gallery is situated in a historic mansion that has been beautifully restored and renovated.
The gallery hosts various exhibitions throughout the year, featuring the work of both established and emerging artists. Visitors can explore the exhibits and learn about the diverse and dynamic art scene in Panama. The gallery also offers workshops and events that allow visitors to engage with the artists and learn more about their work.
So, there you have it – a list of non-touristy things to do in Panama City. From exploring vibrant neighborhoods to indulging in the local culture, there is always something new to discover in this city. Whether you are interested in history, culture, nature, or art, Panama City has something to offer everyone. So go ahead, step off the beaten path and explore the hidden gems of Panama City.