Hello to the Panama Experts and experienced Panama travelers,
My husband and I are planning our first trip to Panama for two weeks, mid-March. We are staying at the timeshare at Playa Coronado for one week with a couple days before and after our stay there to explore some more. I need some information and advice:
First, when we arrive in Panama City, we need a place to stay. We have often stayed in private hostel rooms, but I am not sure which Panama City neighborhoods are safe and convenient to sights or restaurants etc. I am open to hotels and b&bs under $70usd as well as hostels in those neighborhoods.
It is suggested in the forum that we rent a car in the city not at the airport. Where are the car rentals located in Panama City?
Is it possible to visit Panama Canal and environs as a day trip from Playa Coronado or should we do that while we are in Panama City? We have about a 1 1/2 days before we go to the timeshare.
What day trips are possible while at Playa Coronado? In a previous post, Andrew had mentioned going to the Embera village, and others have talked about El Valle. Are there tour companies in Playa Coronado area that are recommended?
After our timeshare stay, we have about 3 days. Is it feasible to drive from Playa Coronado to Boquete? How long would it take? Should we make reservations for lodging as this would be during a weekend? I would appreciate recommendations for inexpensive (under $70usd) lodging and any advice for enjoying that region.
Also, do we need a tourist card to enter Panama, and does American Airlines usually provide these to passengers? Do we have to pay an exit fee at the airport or is it included in our ticket price? What should we expect regarding security procedures at the airport?
I like the restaurant suggestions provided by LN in the post about Playa Coronado.and I thank everyone in advance for their willingness to share their expertise.