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Plan Your Panama City Holiday: Best of Panama City

About Panama City
A diverse multicultural city of around two million, Panama City offers a lot more than up-close views of its namesake canal. The historic district of Casco Viejo is an atmospheric labyrinth of churches, plazas, and palaces that earn the area its UNESCO World Heritage status. The massive Metropolitan National Park offers a retreat within the city, with nearly 600 acres of tropical forest, walking trails, and wildlife (including sloths!), not to mention incredible city views. For a fascinating look at the canal, take a taxi or local bus to Miraflores Locks Visitor Centre and look down on the traffic below.

Essential Panama City

How to do Panama City in 3 days

Glistening skyscrapers, indigenous culture, and an urban rainforest
Read on

The best rooftop bars and restaurants in Casco Viejo

Panama City’s Casco Viejo, or Old Town, is its most captivating neighbourhood. I can’t get enough of strolling down the cobblestoned streets and looking up at the wrought-iron balconies. But more than anything, I love parking myself at one of the surprising number of bars and restaurants that are hidden on the rooftops in this historic quarter. Here are my favourite sky-high venues in Casco Viejo.
Rosie Bell, Panama City, Panama
  • Tantalo Hotel / Kitchen / Roofbar
    855
    Though it opened back in 2012, Tantalo is still the trendiest of the rooftop bars in Casco Viejo. Sitting on top of a 10-room boutique hotel, this spot hung with strings of lights serves up delicious dishes, expertly mixed cocktails, and views of the skyscrapers of “New Panama.” A rite of passage for newcomers to Panama, this was the first rooftop I experienced. I return regularly to inspect the constantly evolving lobby murals.
  • Lazotea Jorge Rausch - Restaurant & Rooftop
    1,996
    I always have a splashing good time at Lazotea, the first Casco Viejo rooftop with its own plunge pool. This bar and restaurant is fabulous for early evening gatherings with friends because the music doesn’t get painfully loud until things really get going. There’s an elevated section that’s perfect for dancing with the wind in your hair. You can reserve it—as I have done for several birthdays, farewells, and reunions—for private parties.
  • CasaCasco
    2,734
    On the southern edge of Plaza Herrera, this beautifully restored building houses restaurants on its three first floors, a pumping nightclub on the fourth, and—the pinnacle—a 360-degree terrace on the rooftop. I love that as soon as I arrive I’m asked whether I prefer a city skyline or bay view, as both are utterly promising options. Time your arrival for just before sunset and dress to impress for mingling with the glamourous crowd.
  • Tacos la neta Casco Antiguo
    308
    ­­­­Perched on top of the Selina Casco Viejo, Tacos La Neta is where the cool children lounge by the pool and devour oozing tacos during the day. After the sun goes down, this rooftop space is transformed into one of the city’s best places to boogie to music from top DJs. Great for solo travellers, it attracts a mix of locals, backpackers, and digital nomads who use the hotel’s coworking facilities.
  • Vista Corona Panamá
    39
    You don’t have to be a beer aficionado to love Vista Corona Panamá, as this palm-shaded space also serves elevated cocktails like the passion fruit-flavoured margaritas and the lychee-infused Bunny Fizz. If you do love a cold beer, the bartenders hand out free bottles of Corona at sunset to help you toast in style. Lit by strings of lights, this spacious spot is known for its gorgeous views over the rooftops of Casco Viejo.
  • El Faro del Casco Antiguo
    1,148
    There has been debate among my friends for years as to whether El Faro del Casco Antiguo’s 360-degree rooftop has the best views in Panama City. Here’s what we agree on: This 28th-floor terrace crowning a residential building is the quintessential spot to crack open a chilled beer and soak in two sides of the city. That’s because it’s located right on the border of Casco Viejo and the skyscraper-filled downtown.

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Make a day of it

Easy excursions to nearby islands

Welcome to the jungle

Rainforest walks, sloth-spotting, and more

Buildings with a backstory

Historic-meets-modern architectural wonders

By hike or by bike

Get your boots (or wheels) on the ground

High-energy adventures

Heart-pounding rapids, ziplines, and other thrills