8 am: Out of bed sleepy head
Shake off that hangover, grab a quick breakfast (I recommend a quick bite in the hotel’s restaurant) and catch a $3-4 dollar cab ride to the Amador Causeway, the pacific entrance to the Panama Canal. The Amador Cause connects four small islands and is home to a number of small cafés and restaurants and boasts a beautiful view of the Panama skyline. Grab a drink, rent a bike (and/or walk) back to Panama and watch the numerous boats lined up to enter the Canal.
12 pm: Is that your tummy?
Once you are finished walking down the causeway, catch a cab to Casco Viejo (no more than $2 – $3 US) for some sightseeing and lunch! Casco Viejo was originally built and settled in 1671 after the destruction of Panama Viejo. There is so much to see in Casco Viejo and everything is walking distance! For a full list of all the attractions within this small area, please click here. For lunch stop off at Rene Café, located in the Plaza cathedral. For a “fixed price” of around $8 US, you can enjoy a delectable four course lunch which includes salad, appetizer, rice, meat/fish and desert. Or choose to sip a cold Panamanian beer (I suggest Balboa) as you munch on a delicious pizza at the Segafredo Café in Plaza Bolivar. If you are still craving for a sugar fix than head over to Granclement (Avenida Central & Calle 3) for some traditional French artisan style ice cream or sorbet for $2.50 US a scoop. Or walk over to the Plaza Francia for your very own Panamanian snow cone (respaldo) made from ice shavings from a block of ice and topped off with syrup and condensed milk ($0.50 US).
4pm: Look at that view
The walk from Casco Viejo is breathtaking. Take the time to stroll down the pathways and enjoy the beautiful view of the city. If you have time (and if your still hungry!), stop by the Seafood Market (El Mercado de Mariscos), located right outside Casco Viejo and beside the public pier. For ridiculously low prices (starting at $1 US) crevice caught fresh from the Pacific Ocean and/or you can purchase seafood and have it cooked right in front of you for less than $10 US in the restaurant upstairs.
ceviche from the fish market
Time to do more?
For those beach bums, take a boat from the Amador Causeway to IslaTobago (nicknamed the Island of Flowers) for a day of fun in the sun. Travelers can choose the slow route (The Calypso Queen Ferry located on Isla Naos for $6 US) and/or the “rapida” route (Balboa Yacht Club for $6 US). On the island travellers can relax on one of its many beaches or enjoy a hike up to the top of the hill to enjoy the sceanic views. There are also plenty of restaurants and even small hotels if you want to stay on the island a little longer. Remember to keep your money in your pocket as Isla Tobajo is a tourist hotspot and therefore souvenirs are often double in price.
Or hop on a Diablo Rojo (Red Devil) before they are completely wiped out of Panama City! The Diablo Rojo is the old transportation system within Panama. The bus is basically an old yellow school bus that has been “tricked out” by the bus driver – this includes painting the inside and outside of the bus. But the Diablo Rojo is sadly being replaced by a newer bus system. Hop on a Diablo Rojo ($.025/each way) that is heading to Panama Viejo and spend an afternoon wandering around the ruins of Panama’s first city destroyed by Capatin Henry Morgan. Be prepared to pay around $2.50 entrance if you are student (and remember to bring a student card!).