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2-3 days near Panama City

Cincinnati
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292 posts
4 reviews
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2-3 days near Panama City

We will arrive in Panama City on Christmas for an event on the 29th. After that we will go to Bocas, but I would love some advise as to how to spend the first few days. I do not wish to spend much time in PC (big city) and wish to seek out an experience different from what we will have in Bocas.

Suggestions greatly appreciated.

Haslett, Michigan
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226 posts
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1. Re: 2-3 days near Panama City

We just returned from Panama City. If you have not visited the Panama Canal yet, I would highly recommend it. It is remarkable that they could construct the canal 100 years ago. We really enjoyed Miraflores Locks (about 15 minutes from downtown and $10-$15 cab fare). There is a museum there on the construction and operation of the canal, and everything is in English and Spanish. There is also a 3-D film, but we did not think that it was worth the time. There is a second floor restaurant with a terrace that overlooks the locks. We had a late, leisurely (2 1/2 hour) lunch on the terrace and watched a number of ships passing through the locks, including several of the big Panamax container ships. The restaurant buffet was ok, nothing fantastic, and cost $32 per person. However, you are paying for the view and the long stay, not the food. You should get reservations and ask for a terrace table if you decide to do this. You could also do a partial transit of the canal. I would not recommend Panama Bay and Canal Tours though.

There are also a number of excellent National Parks and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Center on Barro Colorado Island in Lake Gatun. We saw a lot of birds (including several species of toucans, three species of monkeys, two species of sloths, Red Eye and Poison Dart frogs, and numerous insects including beautiful buterflies. The hiking is a little strenuous with fairly steep hills and given the heat and humidity. There is also a small nature centure (Punta Culebra) on the Amador Causeway and the Municpal Park right in Panama City. There are also boat trips on Lake Gatun to view the wildlife on the various islands.

The Panama Canal Railroad, Gatun Locks, and Fort San Lorenzo are also interesting.

We used Rudy of Rudy's Tours to arrange our side trips and to be our guide. He did an excellent job, is very knowledgeable about Panama, and speaks excellent English. I would highly recommend him. His wife Patty makes all of the arrangements.

I have not completed all of my reviews on our activities but will do so in the next week or so. You can use the "Activities" section of Tripadvisor to get more information.

Cincinnati
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292 posts
4 reviews
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2. Re: 2-3 days near Panama City

Thank you for your suggestions! We could spend one day at the canal, another at the Smithsonian research center, and then?. We still have 2 full days to plan. I'm not sure we would like to base in PC all that time as we aren't big city fans.any other ideas? I look forward to hearing more of your trip MIHorseman and others as well.

Panama City, Panama
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3. Re: 2-3 days near Panama City

How about El Valle de Anton ? About two hours drive from the city. A mountain destination.

Cincinnati
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292 posts
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4. Re: 2-3 days near Panama City

I will check that out, thanks!

Cincinnati
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292 posts
4 reviews
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5. Re: 2-3 days near Panama City

I am having trouble finding places to stay.

Any recommendations? Golden Frog is booked.

6. Re: 2-3 days near Panama City

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