Panama City is the capital of Panama, located at the Pacific entrance of the Panama Canal. Panama City is the political, administrative, and cultural center of the country. Recently, Panama City has become one of the most important financial centers in Central America, with more than 35 banks, and has become a hub for high-rise buildings (eight of the ten tallest skyscrapers in Latin American are either in Panama City or in the process of being built). The city enjoys three malls and many five-stars hotels.
The city has numerous tourist attractions including world-class hotels and restaurants. Of particular interest to tourists are various sites located in the Casco Viejo, including
- Las Bóvedas, literally The Vaults, a waterfront promenade jutting out into the Pacific;
- The National Institute of Culture Building and across from it, the French Embassy;
- The Cathedral on Plaza de la Catedral;
- Teatro Nacional, a recently renovated performance center, with outstanding natural acoustics; It provides an intimate performance environment, seating about 800 guests.
- Museo del Canal Interoceánico (InterOceanic Canal Museum);
- Numerous restaurants located near the French embassy.
- Palacio de las Garzas (Heron's Palace), the official name of the presidential palace. There actually are Herons in the compound.
Further southwest one can climb the Ancon Hill for an overview of the city and beyond that is the fairly well-known bridge that spans the Panama Canal, the Bridge of the Americas. A new attraction is the new bridge over the Panama Canal, the Centennial Bridge.
Relocated on a brand new location, on the entrance of Curundu Heights, on former Panama Canal Zone is the Museo Antropológico Reina Torres de Araúz (Reina Torres de Arauz Anthropological Museum) — best know by its Spanish acronym MARTA — with precious metal artifacts from pre-Columbian Panama.
The area immediately east of the Pacific entrance of the canal--known as the Amador Causeway-- is currently being developed as a major tourist center with many North-American style malls, hotels, discos, and restaurants. Currently the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute operates a station and a small museum open to the public on Culebra Island, just off the island of Naos. The noted American architect Frank Gehry known for the Bilbao Guggenheim Museum and the Disney Concert Center in Los Angeles, has designed a structure which will be built in this area. The structure, called The Bridge of Life Museum, is scheduled to be completed in 2007.
Visitors who wish to experience more of the local atmosphere are advised to look for accommodations nearer the commercial and financial center of the city, in the neighborhoods of Bella Vista, Marbella or El Cangrejo. Casco Viejo is another good option. In the neighborhood known as Bella Vista, Calle Uruguay is home to Panama's newest cosmopolitan restaurants among them La Rioja, Bistro 10, Peperoncini, and La Posta.
JOURNEYS trips that include Panama City:
Information based on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panama_City