We decided to visit independently Miraflores Locks, the closest place for watching the canal to Panama City. We found the journey from the city center simple enough and did not have a feeling we need to take a tour with a guide as everything was pretty much explained in the museum.
However, if you want to be picked up in your hotel and not to get around Panama City by public transport, you can reserve this tour. Also, if you are looking for a more exceptional experience, there is an option to book a tour which includes the sailing the Panama Canal. Getting to the Panama Canal on own is fairly easy.
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First, you need to get to the main bus terminal Albrook Station - we were staying in the city center, so we took the metro, but it seemed that every single bus is eventually heading to Albrook bus terminal, in case you do not have a metro entrance nearby your hotel. On Albrook station you need to find a bus going to either Paraiso or Gamboa.
It is better to ask around, but the bus was waiting on the ground floor on the left side to the bridge we had to cross from the metro to the bus terminal, and it stopped in the lane closest to the bus terminal building. In case you will have hard times to find it, the staff is happy to help.
The bus dropped us off in front of the visitors center, and when we wanted to get back to Panama City, we only had to wait a couple of minutes at the same place. Once you buy a ticket, you can enter the visitors center, where are several things to do.
Is Panama City Worth Visiting?
The highlight is undoubtedly the viewing platform. Ask at the information center what time will be the next ship going through Miraflores Locks, and plan your time accordingly. You can either go to the platform straight away to find the best place for watching, or you can go to the museum, cinema or restaurant. Well, we recommend you to avoid the restaurant on site as it is overpriced, rather bring your snack.
The four-floor museum is interesting. You can learn how the Panama Canal works, you can read more about history, the technical side of the canal and about people who were behind the construction. Do not forget to go to the cinema, to watch a 20 minutes long film about the Panama Canal. Honestly, we found the admission to the Miraflores Center pretty expensive. Visiting Panama Canal is definitely not a budget-friendly thing to do in Panama, but on the other hand, it is an exceptional attraction not to be seen anywhere else in the world.
Although the visitor center in Miraflores Locks is open almost all day, from 8 AM to 5 PM, the best way how to enjoy your visit is to find out the exact times when the ships are passing by, because when the lock is empty the sight is not that entertaining. For the exact times, do not hesitate to contact the visitor center directly. The most popular and also convenient place to stay in Panama City is within the historical center of Panama Viejo or in one of the modern chain hotels offering the sea view.
If you are looking for something cheaper, look for a room in other areas. Budget Hotel Valencia - This budget-friendly hotel is located within walking distance to the historic center, metro station, and bus station. Staff is friendly, and the place is safe. We spent our stay there and can recommend it to all budget travelers. Mid-range Tryp by Wyndham Panama Centro - Beautifully appointed and air-conditioned rooms close to the city center offers the best value in Panama City.
Among the best features belong outdoor pool, fitness center, and rooftop view. Luxury Hard Rock Hotel Panama Megapolis - A stylish accommodation overlooking the city and oceanfront has everything you might think of including spa, sauna and steam bath. You can also search for all hostel options using HostelWorld. I spent 16 days in Panama, however, 14 would have sufficed.
I have written up a detailed itinerary of my time there for 14 days taking out what I felt I would change if I did it again and also added in a one-week itinerary. You can read this here and have a good idea of how your trip will go and how to get from point A to point B. That includes internal transport which is two flights , your Panama canal tickets, your hotels, day-tours, and activities. You can check out all the details here. The tour ends in Panama City and covers the top places except for San Blas, so you could extend and go to San Blas on your own if you wanted.
You can read it here. Most yoga retreats in Panama are in Santa Catalina. This is kind of on its own in comparison of the rest of Panama and not something I could fit on my itinerary. Most people who go here for retreats fly into Panama City and have transportation arranged. The most trusted site for yoga retreats is bookyoagretreats. It includes all your meals, lodging, airport transfer, 5 surf lessons, 5 yoga lessons, and some local tours.
In Boquete, I got some net bags. The rest of the items were colorful backpacker things. You can get some small souvenirs and chocolate or coffee to take home to friends. A bottle of rum is also a nice idea. What a guide Rachel. Well done. You stayed in some amazing places too. Low season is the way to go in almost all countries. More rain and more green, less tourists and lower prices. I prefer to have some rain; cools things off.
Guide to Traveling in Panama
Panama looks really cool! Your guide is definitely quite comprehensive and helpful. Thank you so much. Festivals in Panama If you want to plan your stay around some popular festivals, you can check out this calendar which lists them out. How long to stay in Panama I stayed for 16 days.
- PANAMA: MUCH MORE THAN A CANAL.
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International flights in and out of Panama vs. Transportation around Panama: taxis, Uber, budget shuttles, domestic flights, cheap local buses There are taxis everywhere and they use the meter or will tell you the price ahead of time. Packing for Panama I have written a post dedicated to packing in Panama and tips on what to wear in Panama which you can read here. Two-week itinerary for Panama I spent 16 days in Panama, however, 14 would have sufficed. I will never give away, trade or sell your email address.
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You can unsubscribe at any time. About the Author: Rachel Jones. Rachel Jones left a career in nursing and lived on the beaches of Goa, India for the five years. Her blog, Hippie in Heels, like its name, is a contradiction combining off-beat adventurous places with glamorous and bespoke travel. Ryan Biddulph October 15, at pm - Reply. Renuka Walter October 16, at am - Reply. Erika December 29, at pm - Reply. Like the Article? Leave a Reply Cancel reply. Toggle Sliding Bar Area.