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Panamá City
Monday, November 20, 2017
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Panamá City

 

This cosmopolitan city offers a breathtaking skyline, Spanish colonial ruins, good museums, beautiful parks, and a great infrastructure of hotel, restaurant, convention and banking facilities.

Built to provide a calm harbor for ships entering the Panama Canal, the Amador Causeway extends from the mainland to connect four small islands offshore. A palm-lined road runs the length of the causeway. Also known as Colonial Panama, Casco Antiguo is the historic center of today’s capital. It is a quiet, pleasant district of narrow streets overlooked by the flower bedecked balconies of two and three-story houses. Some good museums are found in the Casco Antiguo, including the Canal Interoceanic Museum, which traces Panama’s history as the route connecting Atlantic and Pacific from pre-Hispanic to modern times.

About two miles from the center of Panama City are found the ruins of the first capital, known as Old Panama or Panama La Vieja, founded in 1519. Fragments of walls and arches stand in an open park, recalling the splendor of the Spaniard's first settlement on the Pacific Ocean. The most impressive structures remaining are the cathedral, with a massive bell-tower, and the Bishop's House.

 

Metropolitan Nature Park

Fifteen minutes from downtown Panama is the 265 hectare Metropolitan Nature Park. It is located right at the outskirts of the city, which is a unique in all of Latin America. It has five trails where a diversity of tropical wildlife, including toucans, parakeets, orioles, trogons, sloths, agoutis and Red-naped Tamarin can be seen. There is also a collection of native orchids, and more than 200 birds can be spotted. Indeed, it is an important site of convergence for migratory birds.

The park is an excellent opportunity for environmental education, having meeting rooms (the Panama Audubon Society meets here) a small museum, a library, and a shop that sells conservation items. The interpretive trail is enjoyed by visitors and school groups. The view from the top of Cerro Mono Titi is spectacular offering a panoramic view of the city, the Port of Balboa, and the adjacent Las Cruces Trail National Park.