You're forgiven if hearing the word "Panama" makes you burst into song. Van Halen got it right when they penned their 1984 hit, despite it having nothing to do with the fabulous cruise port of Panama City, Panama. A thoroughly modern city flanked by both the Panama Canal and the Pacific Ocean, the colonial-era landmarks and quaint cobblestone roads create a charming contrast to the city's gleaming skyscrapers. Surrounding this large city of nearly 900,000 residents is a large section of tropical rainforest which keeps the city on its feet. It's the presence of this rainforest that provides enough water for the canal to do its job effectively. With a tropical savanna climate, temperatures are warm to hot all year long, making Panama City an excellent place for plenty of outdoor activities. Listed below are a handful of our favorite experiences when cruising to Panama City, Panama:
- The Panama Canal connects the Atlantic Ocean via the Caribbean Sea to the Pacific Ocean. One of the world's most famous man-made waterways, the canal is still a main passageway for international trade. There are plenty of guides who can give you a more comprehensive visit complete with history, either on a partial-transit or full-transit excursion.
- The historic part of the city is called Casco Viejo and was designed to preserve its old buildings. It was named a World Heritage Site in 1997. Explore all of the magnificent architecture seen in structures such as La Catedral Metropolitana and Palacio Bolivar, among many others. It's also where the Panama Canal Museum is located, in case you didn't get enough on the boat tour (or skipped it completely).
- Go from old to new while strolling Avenida Balboa, the most modern part of the city. Located along the Pacific Ocean, it’s extremely attractive to real estate developers, and you'll find some of the tallest buildings, including the Arts Tower and the distinctive Yacht Club Tower.
- Located on the Amador Causeway is the colorful Frank Gehry-designed Biomuseo. Designed to help expand Panama City's cultural attractions, the museum has eight exhibitions revolving around the biodiversity of Panama.