Panama, Casco Antiguo
Panama, Casco Viejo
Planning your vacations to Panama and don’t have much time? If you like nature, history, big machinery, culture and architecture, then there are only 2 destinations within Panama City that can offer all this in a compact, yet authentic experience: the Panama Canal and Casco Viejo.
You can basically organize all this for a long weekend. Combining day trips to the Canal and basing from Casco Viejo (see my Hotel suggestions according to your budget) you will be able to enjoy the beauties of one of the world’s engineering wonders and Panama’s 300 year old colonial heart.
To experience the Panama Canal, you have different choices. My favorite (if you are in good shape!) is the Barro Colorado Island trip. It is run by STRI, the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and consists on a 6 hours hike through the forest of the most studied tropical forest in the world. You take a boat early at Gamboa (around 7 a.m.) and cross lake Gatún. The visit is guided by biologists, with great information regarding scientific research. Sometimes you get a monkey specialist, a bird specialist, botanical… it all depends on who is guiding! I worked with BCI for quite a while and I can tell you it is one of the most informative experiences you can have. You need to book in advance though! So plan ahead. My recommendation: go during the week, groups are smaller (up to 10 people).
Now, less informative, but equally fun:… See full recomendations here!