A Panama City Layover

After getting the boat across the Atlantic (again) and another hot Christmas spent in the tropics it was time to head home for a January break. Flying from Bocas del Toro we had to stop over in Panama City so we decided to take full advantage and turn it into a two-night layover to explore the city.


After doing a bit of reading it was clear that the best place to stay in most people’s (likeminded) opinions is Casco Viejo. We booked into the American Trade Hotel which was the first good decision made on our mini-break. This luxury boutique hotel is a historical landmark nestled within the old quarter. The colonial deco is in keeping with Casco Viejo’s personality and the luxury touches make it the perfect place to stay.

Tip: Book the Panorama room: floor to ceiling windows with stunning views across the old and new city.


Naturally on your ‘to do’ list in Panama City should be to visit the Canal and the Miraflores locks, although naturally we decided to rain check on this as in a month’s time we will transit through the canal. Start by exploring Casco Viejo, easy to do on foot, wander the streets taking in the colonial vibes. If you have time check out the ex-gang tour that runs from here (we missed out but heard it was good). To experience the changing skylines of the city, take a walk along the Cinta Costera. Starting from Casco Viejo, the colonial architecture, past the fish market and through a long stretch of waterfront all the way to the high modern skyscrapers.

Tip: 2 days is plenty to see Panama City, there isn’t much to do – if you have longer here get out to the San Blas islands or Bocas del Toro.


We ate at Madrigal in Casco Viejo on our first night and were happy enough with the food and service – up until we headed slightly out of the city and visited Maito. A must eat for everyone visiting Panama City. They serve up a great tasting menu with local produce and friendly service. The only downside is it is in a slightly off location just out of town but worth the drive.

Tip: Get an Uber from Casco Viejo (about 20 mins)


To soak up the sunset vibes head straight to Panaviera, located on the 66th floor of the Sun Casino this supplies average cocktails but above average views of the city. Now for a really big claim…for the best mojitos ever, be sure to go to Pedro Mandinga rum bar, a craft rum distillery in Casco Viejo – this chilled bar with its Caribbean vibes and a happy hour will leave you a content traveller. If cocktails aren’t your thing (god forbid) then visit La Rana Dorada, a craft brewery located on the edge of Casco Viejo, the setting is somewhat lacking on the side of the busy corner into the old town but they do serve up some pretty good beers. For a later night, check out Tantalo hotel and their rooftop bar.

Tip: Check Tantalo’s online schedule for their themed nights

January 2017 (Panama City) 

Shots of Panama City 

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