Panama is renowned for its fascinating man-made Panama Canal and its fabulous position on the map. Being situated in the point where North America meets South America, more specific in Central America, on the Isthmus of Panama, this country fascinates due to the impressive mixture of cultural influences and architectural styles which are proofs of each centurys glory. Between the 16th and 19th centuries, due to its position, Panama was an important shipping point for colonial Spain in its connection with South America. You will discover many cities that will impress you with their Spanish architectural buildings and monuments. We will tell you a bit about the top 5 cities that are most tourist-friendly and deserve your visit.
Panama City is the capital of Panama and the largest city in the country. Panama impresses tourists due to its futuristic architecture and mind-blowing sky scrapers. Honestly, when you think of Panama you dont imagine that this is a bustling metropolis always ready to amaze and overcome new limits.
If you want to take part in an airplane tour and admire the city from above, you wont believe that this city was founded in 1519. The conquistador Pedro Arias Dávila built this city so the Spanish could have a departing point for their expeditions to the Inca Empire situated in Peru. From a birds eye view, you might think this city was just born under the careful eye of modern and courageous architects. The airplane tours are provided exclusively by the local tour operator, Panama Flight Adventures.
If you want to discover the superb colonial buildings, you should visit Casco Viejo and Panama Viejo (Old Town of Panama) where you can still see some ruins of the 16th century Panama. In this area you will also have access to the renowned Panama Canal and the Bridge of America.
Portobelo (Beautiful Port) was founded in 1597 by the Spanish conquistador Francisco Velarde y Mercado and it was named by the one and only Christopher Columbus. The city deserves its epithet thanks to its beautiful art and architectural masterpieces. Its history tells us that even the infamous Captain Henry Morgan was drawn by this citys wealth and, in 1668, he captured the city.
The city is famous for its forts, especially for the San Jeronimo fort which is the largest one and used to be the secret spot for many Incan treasures. The Church of San Felipe is also an interesting attraction, many tourists coming here to see the statue of the Black Christ. Portobelo has an entire festival dedicated to the Black Christ.
During your trip to Portobelo, you can relax on the local beaches, Playa Blanca and Playa Frances, and also do some swimming, kayaking or scuba diving.
The third-largest city in Panama and the capital of the province of Chiriqui, David enjoys an enchanting location being situated on the coast of the Pacific Ocean, near the border with Costa Rica. It is one of the most prolific cities of Panama, a place where unemployment and crime rate are really low and the infrastructure is quite good.
The city was founded in 1602 by Francisco de Gama. Its construction started around the area of the Bolivar park. The city has a few casinos and nightclubs that tourists might find appealing.
If you want to do some fun outdoor activities or just admire the surroundings, there are a few places nearby that might keep you busy for an entire day. One of the most pleasant destinations for a day trip is the Los Pozos de Caldera hot springs.
David offers easy access to Bocas del Toro archipelago, where paradisiacal islands and luxury resorts await for their tourists.
Santiago is famous for its picturesque Santa Catalina beaches which are a magnet for tourists who want to relax in a heavenly setting and do some world-class surfing. If youre not convinced yet, you should know that these beaches are covered in black sand.
Downtown Santiago is filled with buildings that will help you travel in time and discover the beautiful architecture of the Spanish colonial era. Santiago was founded in the 17th century by the people of Montijo and Santa Fe who needed a town as the center of dispatches. Nowadays, the city is the capital of the province of Veraguas.
Colon is the largest port city of Panama and can be a great touristic destination especially for the ones who love water activities. This city is port to the Caribbean Sea, part of the Atlantic Ocean, so you will be able to enjoy great beaches, surfing, snorkeling and scuba diving.
The citys history started in 1850. The Americans needed the Atlantic terminus for the Panama Railroad, so they decided to build a city to serve as their final train station. The main reason was actually their desire to offer a fast route from Panama to California to help Americans with their gold rush.
Many years, the city was known under the name of Aspinwall (after the name of William Henry Aspinwall, the promoter of Panama Railroad), but the Spanish wanted to name it Colon. This was one of the ways they wanted to honor the accomplishments of Christopher Columbus (in Spain he was known as Cristóbal Colón).
Colon has many parks and statues that are interesting to see and admire. Almost 10km south of Colon, you can find the Gatún Locks which offer great views of the Panama Canal.