We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Panama City for 1 week

new york
Level Contributor
104 posts
29 reviews
Save Topic
Panama City for 1 week

We are traveling to Panama City for one week in January. Already have our Flights and our apartment for the week in the Casco Antiguo area, Trying to figure out must do's during that week. Some good restaurants etc. Is there a could public transportation system? best way from the airport to the casco antiguo area? any information would be greatly appreciated

Panama Your Way
City Tours, Taxis & Shuttles, Private Tours, Day Trips, Historical & Heritage Tours
Panama City, Panama
Level Contributor
533 posts
Save Reply
1. Re: Panama City for 1 week

Best way to get to your Casco apartment is to have the rental agent (apt owner) arrange for a transfer from the airport ($30 - $35) or just take a cab (same cost). I like the prearranged transfer because it's one less hassle to deal with at the airport - someone will be waiting for you with a little sign.

Public transportation - stick with the taxis when in the City, cheap and easy. Just make sure to agree on the price BEFORE you get in the taxi - no meters. The MetroBus "system" is not really a viable option for a visitor - cash not accepted, no route maps, and looooong waits. Some people like the new "hop on, hop off" tourist bus - do a forum search for more info.

Restaurants in Casco are good to outstanding and one of the real plusses with staying in the neighborhood. Hard to find a bad meal, best to just wander around, look at menus and find something that fits your budget and taste.

Because you are staying in "my barrio" I would be happy to give you one of my infamous "walkabouts" - will get you orientated (so you don't wander into trouble) point out the restaurants and talk some history if you are into that. PM me if interested.

Enjoy your stay.

Steve www.panamanotes.notes

new york
Level Contributor
104 posts
29 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Panama City for 1 week

thanks for your reply stx steve. if anyone can help me we are staying in casco viejo or as ive been told is also called casco antiguo right next to the la merced church. was wondering if its walkable from the church to the 5th centennial park where we could catch the hop on hop off tour bus? according to a map i looked at it seems to be close enough to walk it but not to sure. if anyone can help me with this information i would greatly appreciate it

Panama City, Panama
Level Contributor
533 posts
Save Reply
3. Re: Panama City for 1 week

It's a 2 or 3 minute walk from Patty's place. Out your apt, turn right, at the end of the street turn right again, one short block and turn left - the park will be in front of you. The "hop on hop off" bus stop is on the Cinta Costera (divided four lanes) side of the park.

Steve

new york
Level Contributor
104 posts
29 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Panama City for 1 week

wow thanks steve i didnt think it was that close.........

new york
Level Contributor
104 posts
29 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Panama City for 1 week

Just spent a week in Panama City. First let me say that I am a world traveler. With that said Panama is third world. There are some very interesting places to see. Panama Canal, the different Locks, The Rain forest, The Embera Indians, and without doubt the Caribbean side of the Island. Panama City itself can be seen in one day as well as the old city which is called Casco Viejo. Both are very dangerous at night and some areas are just pain dangerous 24 hours a day. They are very poor, everything is under construction, there streets are filthy and full of garbage as well as pot holes and empty building. It is without doubt a sight to see and then get out. Lots of stray animals lots of homeless people. The old city has some beautiful old churchs but the element around them are not good. There are no beaches in Panama City. You have to either drive 1 to 2 hours or take a ferry for an hour or 2 to the pacific beaches or a much better choice would be the caribbean beaches which cannot be done in one day. The beaches on the pacific side are just ok. Not very clean and with little to offer as far as bathrooms, showers, changing rooms and restaurants. If you are seniors or people with disabilities Panama City is not for you. Driving is a major task and the locals are out of control on the roads. Cabs are cheap but you have to haggle with them because they will try to take advantage of you if your not a local. Most cab rides to almost everywhere should be anywhere between $5 and $10 bucks. Some restaurants are really good and others are really bad. You have to be very aware of the menus and check the interiors. Some better restuarants are, Puerta del Tierra, DaVinci, La Forchetta, Manolo Caracol, Tantillo and Diabloiso. There is a fish market which is filthy but I have to say it serves delicious freshly made Cerviche. Cheap and very good for those who dont mind the craziness of the locals and the smell of dead fish and garbage´. I actually ate lunch there everyday because the Cerviche is delicious. Only use yellow cabs not cars that stop and say taxi. stay out of the side streets and always stay by the ocean walkways or in the old city a street called ave central which is where most of the restaurants bars and supermarkets are if your cooking home. All in all I´d recommend Panama as a stop over for the day or maybe 2. Its enough. Of course if your doing the Caribbean side it is almost like your in the South Pacific. We rented an apartment I would recommend staying in a major hotel. Its safer. Hope this information helps those who are thinking about traveling to Panama.

CDY
Medellin, Colombia
Destination Expert
for Panama City
Level Contributor
3,878 posts
99 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Panama City for 1 week

Sorry but casco Viejo is not nearly as bad as you state, were you mugged there, who told you it was so bad?

It actually has a very high police presence, lots of govt buildings. I have spent many nights there at restaurants and clubs and never a problem, there are bad areas that are close but no reason for you to go there.

It is not completly gentirfied yet so yes there will be some bums and poor people living there, it is not old San Juan in PR, but that is what makes it interesting not just a bunch of elites living there, at least not yet.

Panama City is not for everyone, it is very crowded, lots of trash in places, traffic can be a pain.

I agree not a good city for people with mobility issues, in my old neighborhood in Cangrejo, via Argentina area lots of sidewalks but many times cars are parked on the walkways, manhole covers are missing, lots of holes to step in

and turn an ankle, or some big enough to disappear in.

Driving in PC isnt that bad once you get use to it, it is typical of driving in most Latin America cities, but no real reason to much easier to grab a cab, they are inexpensive.

new york
Level Contributor
104 posts
29 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Panama City for 1 week

I say it is as bad as I stated. No one told me anything. I was there for 8 days and lived in Casco Viejo. I've also been to Old San Juan and Cuba Csco Viejo is comparable to both icluding the traffic, construction, pot holes etc. Police presence is always in Casco Viejo at all times because it is so unsafe. In fact there are Police on every corner if not 2 or 3 on every corner. They are building and there is construction everywhere because The Presidential Building is now there. Maybe in years to come it will be gentirfied but it is not as of yet and will not be for a long time. Yes, some restaurants and clubs are all off Avenue Central which is the only safe street to walk on after dark.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Level Contributor
2,087 posts
5 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Panama City for 1 week

I lived the Casco before they started the gentrification prosses, and I'm not talking about construction. I have walked all over Casco, days and night, sure it's sketchy but no more than parts of NYC. I don't understand how you can say the whole Casco is dangerous if you only stayed on one street and saw police everywhere. Did you experiance danger?

Panama City, Panama
Level Contributor
533 posts
Save Reply
9. Re: Panama City for 1 week

You say, "Avenue Central which is the only safe street to walk on after dark" - WHY? Did something happen?

"No one told me anything" - Did you ask? Sure wish you had taken me up on my offer of a walkabout.

Yup, Panama (and Casco Viejo) are certainly not for everyone - especially a "world traveler" that apparently needs the comfort and familiarity of a Hilton or Marriott.

Hope your next trip is more in line with your expectations.

Steve

Edited: 28 January 2013, 06:15
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Level Contributor
2,087 posts
5 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Panama City for 1 week

I meant to saw I liked not lived the Casco more before gentrification and I know many Panamanians that feel the same way. Let hope that people who think that a neighborhood is better with only safe, well to do people, don't totally destroy what was the best place in Panama City. It would be a shame.