Miami of the South
Panama City is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Panama. It has a population of 813,097, with a total metro population of 1,063,000, and is located on the awe-inspiring Pacific entrance of the Panama Canal. Panama City is the political and administrative centre of the country. Undoubtedly the most cosmopolitan capital in Central America, Panama City is both a gateway to the country’s natural riches and a vibrant destination in its own right.
As a thriving centre for international banking and trade, Panama City sports a sultry skyline of shimmering glass and steel towers that is reminiscent of Miami. Although there’s no shortage of fine dining and chic dance clubs, visitors are often drawn to Casco Viejo, a dilapidated neighbourhood of historic buildings and cobbled streets reminiscent of old Havana. Abandoned in favour of more stylish neighbourhoods, Casco Viejo lay crumbling on the edge of the sea for decades.
However, following an ambitious reclamation of this colonial district in recent years, it is priming itself to charm and enchant visitors once more. The city’s architectural diversity is rivalled only by its cultural diversity. Urbanites here hail from all over Latin America, the Caribbean, Asia and, increasingly, North America and Europe. Given the ethnic diversity, it’s no surprise that the capital boasts a wide array of restaurants, with everything from Panamanian-style ceviche and bluefin tuna sushi to tikka masala and chicken kebabs. Not far from the city, you’ll also find some impressive adventure opportunities, from hiking through tropical rainforests to skirting along the jungle on a train ride to Colón.
So whether it's for a few days or an extended break, Panama City provides enough culture, sights and adrenaline-rush activities to suit any holidaymaker.