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Things to do in Panama City

Get snappy with a rainforest canal boat tour

Known as the bridge between oceans and continents, Panama is a rich centre of biodiversity, and Ancon Expeditions (tel: + 507 269 9415; offer various options for getting to know it better. Its six-hour rainforest canal boat tour gives glimpses of monkeys, exotic birds and various reptiles. There are also whale and dolphin-watching day trips.

Go beach-hopping around the San Blas Islands

Although unrealistic to do in a day, it's possible to visit the San Blas islands from Panama City. These small golden, palmed islands are as close to paradise as you're ever likely to tread; meet the indigenous Kuna and dine on freshly caught lobster. San Blas Adventures ( can get you there.

Go fishing in the Panama Canal

Panama is known for its great fishing. Husband-and-wife team, Rich and Gabriela, pilot the company Panama Canal Fishing (tel:+507 6678 2653; that takes keen anglers down the canal and onto Lake Gatun. You're likely to catch peacock bass, snook and tarpon while surrounded by glorious rainforest.

Take a walking tour with former gang members

The best way to see any city is by foot, so join Fortalezza Tours ( as they show a side of Panama City rarely seen by tourists. Started by the former Ciudad de Dios gang, tours visit their old stomping grounds and shine light on the darker side of life in the capital.

Visit the Embrera, an indigenous Panamanian group

Embrace Panama's pre-city history and spend some time with an indigenous Panamanian group at a reserve about an hour from Panama City. Run by an indigenous guide, Garceth Cunampio Tocamo, Embrera Tours ( offer an authentic view of Embrera culture, customs and efforts to survive amidst modern pressures.

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Featured Hotels


Toscana Inn Hotel

A modestly-sized boutique hotel in Downtown Panama City, Toscana Inn comes equipped with air conditioning and Wi-Fi in every room. Café Los Girasoles restaurant serves up Panamanian cuisine for dinner and a complimentary buffet-breakfast spread in the morning.

The Westin Playa Bonita Panama

A luxury, beachfront hotel with six restaurants, a full-service spa, business centre, kids club and three infinity pools, each kitted out with a swim-up bar. Located approximately 20 minutes outside of the city centre, flanked by rainforest, the resort has 611 luxury rooms and suites, many offer views of the Pacific.

El Machico Hostel

Situated in Panama City's Marbella district, this lively hostel fosters a laid back atmosphere with courtyard swimming pool, open air cinema nights, pool games and a small bar.

Hotel DeVille

This is one of Panama City’s top-end boutique hotels, located in one of the city's most romantic spots. Each of the 33 rooms are individually (and impeccably) decorated. The difference here is in the details right down to the antique furniture that graces each handsome room. Beautiful and classy, with rooms and suites available at rather high prices but you won’t be sorry.

Hotel Riande Continental

Centred on a palm tree-fringed swimming pool, this sophisticated Panama City hotel is an excellent choice if you're searching for low-key luxury. Spacious rooms offer modern furnishings and sweeping views of the Panama City skyline. All rooms have a mini-bar and cable TV, and there is a surcharge for the Wi-Fi which is available all over the hotel.

Las Clementinas

Las Clementinas is another Casco Viejo charmer, in a fully-revamped colonial building in the most beautiful part of town. They have gone for understated elegance and style here, and have definitely succeeded. Furnishings are either original antiques or perfect replicas. Las Clementinas also has a bar and cafe with great food.