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8 Aussies touch down in Panama November for 3 nights. 

This will be the precursor to the Havana week. Panama was chosen this time as none of us have spent any time their outside of using the airport hub. 

We would love to have some Panama insights from members who know it well. We will be based in and around Panama City

Gracias :party:

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8 Aussies touch down in Panama November for 3 nights. 
This will be the precursor to the Havana week. Panama was chosen this time as none of us have spent any time their outside of using the airport hub. 
We would love to have some Panama insights from members who know it well. We will be based in and around Panama City
Gracias :party:

Panama is a fantastic country and is really unlike any other Latin American country. My mom grew up in the Canal Zone, and I have a whole extended family down there. I make the trip to Panama at least once a year and I spend most of my time at the beach, but usually do a day or two in the city. Panama City is huge. The skyline changes every year. Because of the “loose financial regulations” there is a ton of money invested in the city. You can find any type of cuisine in the downtown area.
Casco Viejo is the historic part of town, and where I would spend my time. Cascomar is a great Tapas spot and worth checking out. The LCDH is run by a Cuban guy named Yurian. Selection is pretty good, I found a box of Sir Winston there a 18 months ago before production ramped up, but taxes on tobacco are pretty high so sticks are pretty expensive.
If you get out of the city, Panama has some of the best beaches in the world, and great fishing too.
The people are very gracious, and extremely proud of their heritage and their country. The president declared the day after Panama qualified for the World Cup a national holiday.
Enjoy your trip, and if you get hassled by the law, the police do take bribes. (Advice my lawyer Uncle gave me after a brief run in)


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36 minutes ago, Dmpotocek said:


Panama is a fantastic country and is really unlike any other Latin American country. My mom grew up in the Canal Zone, and I have a whole extended family down there. I make the trip to Panama at least once a year and I spend most of my time at the beach, but usually do a day or two in the city. Panama City is huge. The skyline changes every year. Because of the “loose financial regulations” there is a ton of money invested in the city. You can find any type of cuisine in the downtown area.
Casco Viejo is the historic part of town, and where I would spend my time. Cascomar is a great Tapas spot and worth checking out. The LCDH is run by a Cuban guy named Yurian. Selection is pretty good, I found a box of Sir Winston there a 18 months ago before production ramped up, but taxes on tobacco are pretty high so sticks are pretty expensive.
If you get out of the city, Panama has some of the best beaches in the world, and great fishing too.
The people are very gracious, and extremely proud of their heritage and their country. The president declared the day after Panama qualified for the World Cup a national holiday.
Enjoy your trip, and if you get hassled by the law, the police do take bribes. (Advice my lawyer Uncle gave me after a brief run in)


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Great information. Many thanks :party:

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37 minutes ago, JamesKPolkEsq said:

Bocas del Toro, magical. 

I can second that, been there a few years ago, lovely vibe in that small town.

We all fell in love with the San Blas Archipelago,  but same as Bocas, not quite in reach for a day trip from Panama City.

As mentioned before, Casco Viejo is a must!

Some of the islands along the south coast are easily reached by helicopter or on a game fishing trip.

Enjoy!

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I spent a few months down there not too long ago. If you're staying in the main part of the city, I highly recommend the Hilton or Waldorf for hotels. They're more or less centrally located to everything and you'll have a good selection of restaurants and bars within walking distance. The Trump Hotel (political rhetoric and association aside) is also very nice, but there's not as much to do around the hotel.

 

Like Dmpotocek and SokaKeil said, Casco Viejo is an absolute must. Lot of good nightlife, restaurants, bars, rooftop bars, etc in that area. Not to mention the area itself is beautiful to just walk through. The LCDH had a good selection when I was there, although their shelves would sometimes go empty when the tour buses came through. Taxes are high on tobacco, I think 15%, but if you pay cash they won't charge tax. You can't smoke indoors in Panama anymore, but the owner of the LCDH also owns a restaurant in Casco that has an outdoor patio you can smoke at. Actually, I think almost all of the bars and restaurants I went to had outdoor patios where smoking was allowed.

 

Uber is extremely cheap compared to U.S. pricing. I never paid more than $5 for a trip. Also, U.S. currency is widely accepted everywhere. The Panamanian Balboa is 1:1 with the U.S. dollar and I don't think I ever saw paper Balboa bills, only coins.

 

I almost forgot, if you've never seen the canal up close, dinner on the deck at the Miraflores restaurant is a must! Make a reservation if you can, but you'll literally have ships coming through the locks no more than a few hundred feet in front of you. It's truly fascinating to watch!

 

Have a great trip!

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I spent a few months down there not too long ago. If you're staying in the main part of the city, I highly recommend the Hilton or Waldorf for hotels. They're more or less centrally located to everything and you'll have a good selection of restaurants and bars within walking distance. The Trump Hotel (political rhetoric and association aside) is also very nice, but there's not as much to do around the hotel.
 
Like Dmpotocek and SokaKeil said, Casco Viejo is an absolute must. Lot of good nightlife, restaurants, bars, rooftop bars, etc in that area. Not to mention the area itself is beautiful to just walk through. The LCDH had a good selection when I was there, although their shelves would sometimes go empty when the tour buses came through. Taxes are high on tobacco, I think 15%, but if you pay cash they won't charge tax. You can't smoke indoors in Panama anymore, but the owner of the LCDH also owns a restaurant in Casco that has an outdoor patio you can smoke at. Actually, I think almost all of the bars and restaurants I went to had outdoor patios where smoking was allowed.
 
Uber is extremely cheap compared to U.S. pricing. I never paid more than $5 for a trip. Also, U.S. currency is widely accepted everywhere. The Panamanian Balboa is 1:1 with the U.S. dollar and I don't think I ever saw paper Balboa bills, only coins.
 
I almost forgot, if you've never seen the canal up close, dinner on the deck at the Miraflores restaurant is a must! Make a reservation if you can, but you'll literally have ships coming through the locks no more than a few hundred feet in front of you. It's truly fascinating to watch!
 
Have a great trip!

I forgot about the cash “Discount” at the LCDH. Also the reason you never saw a paper balboa is because Panama uses USD paper currency. They only mint their own coins.


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