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12 hours in Panama from 6.30 am to 6.30 pm - What can I see?

Washington DC...
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12 hours in Panama from 6.30 am to 6.30 pm - What can I see?

What are the best one or two places to visit in that time frame. What is the best mode of transportation? I will be by myself.

Panama City, Panama
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1. Re: 12 hours in Panama from 6.30 am to 6.30 pm - What can I see?

Best depends a lot on personal taste.

What do you like - old buildings, big ships, nature ?

Atlanta, Georgia...
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for Colon, Isla Grande, Portobelo
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2. Re: 12 hours in Panama from 6.30 am to 6.30 pm - What can I see?

How and where are you arriving and leaving? Tocumen by air or Colon by sea?

LN
Panama City, Panama
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3. Re: 12 hours in Panama from 6.30 am to 6.30 pm - What can I see?

Or are you arriving through Amador Harbour?

Washington DC...
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4. Re: 12 hours in Panama from 6.30 am to 6.30 pm - What can I see?

I have a layover at the airport - coming from Cordoba and going to Washington DC. I love nature. I am not particularly interested in ships but I will love the waters where they sail. I also like busy places - so if there is someplace where I can see the local people and their culture, that will be nice. I would like to see anything beautiful - be it a building, part of nature or something in a museum.

Edited: 04 October 2012, 00:41
Atlanta, Georgia...
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for Colon, Isla Grande, Portobelo
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5. Re: 12 hours in Panama from 6.30 am to 6.30 pm - What can I see?

Gotcha.

I'm assuming all your bags are checked through and you'll have minimal carry-on. That would be a good idea, anyway. Clearing immigration and customs will take about 30 minutes -- if that. 'Course, it depends on how many flights are coming in and how many people they have at the immigration counters.

So, here's one suggested itinerary. When you clear customs, grab a cab for the Panama Canal Administration Building. It will cost you between $30 and $35. Don't pay any more than that. (Tip: never get in a cab without confirming the cost. If you don't like the price, offer what you're willing to pay. If he doesn't accept it, close the door and go to the next cab.) You'll get there sometime around 8:00am. On the first floor is a coffee shop that has a fairly decent breakfast. You can get a traditional American style breakfast or Panamanian style, with things like caramiñoles -- a meat paste in corn meal, or tesajo - thick, boiled beef jerky, and fresh local fruits like pinapple, papaya and mango. Have your breakfast and look around. Above you will be a 360 mural of the construction of the Panama Canal. They were commissioned by Goethals, the chief engineer of the Panama Canal, and were painted by William Van Ingen, who also did murals in the Library of Congress and the U.S. Mint. They are amazing, and clearly depict what has been integral in both the history and culture of Panama and the U.S.

A couple of facts: The Administration Building sits on a hill that was landfill from part of what was cut out of the Gaillard Cut. Much the rest formed the causeway that goes out to Amador.

Miraflores Locks Visitor's Center opens at 9:00 am. So, after breakfast and after walking around the mural, catch a cab to the locks. It's busy, in a Panamanian sort of way, and the museum is very well done.

If you like animals and nature, grab a snack at Miraflores and take a cab to Soberania National Park, around 10:30am. There, at Summit Park Zoo, you'll see animals that are indiginous to Panama, such as monkeys, crocodiles, toucans, parrots, coatimundis, tapirs and jaguars.

Around 1:00pm, grab a cab and head for Casco Viejo ... the old city of Panama. StxSteve has a great list of local restaurants (for a late lunch). The architecture is beautiful. Just ignore the street construction going on.

You should get a cab to head back to Tocumen no later than 4:00pm. Traffic can be awful. Again, the fare should be no more than $30 to Tocumen (including tolls).

Atlanta
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for Jaco, Bocas Town
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6. Re: 12 hours in Panama from 6.30 am to 6.30 pm - What can I see?

Nice job GB :)

Washington DC...
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7. Re: 12 hours in Panama from 6.30 am to 6.30 pm - What can I see?

Thank you GB for planning every last detail. I think I will do exactly what you suggest :)

8. Re: 12 hours in Panama from 6.30 am to 6.30 pm - What can I see?

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