A layover in Panama City

1) Getting there:

If a four hour flight to Panama followed immediately by another 6 to 7 hour flight to Santiago doesn´t sound fantastic to you, it didn´t sound fantastic to us either. So I opted for the 7 hour layover in Panama City. A husband and wife traveling back home with their 4-year-old daughter drove us to Casco Viejo. Yet another example of Central American hospitality.

2) Afternoon drinks and sightseeing:

We had a couple Panamanian beers and took in the architecture.

The churches in the area were impressive. Our favorite was Iglesia San Jose. A legend accompanys the church regarding a certain pirate rogue Henry Morgan who apparenty was fooled at San Jose church. They have this amazing floor to ceiling golden altar. Apparently when the ciudadanos in Panama heard Henry was coming for the altar, legend has it they painted it black and thwarted his plan. I´m sure I got the 10 cent version of the legend, so if anyone knows the real version or the outcome of this story, please leave in the comment section:

3) Panama Bay:

I was so impressed with Panama Bay. I guess I hadn´t known what to expect. My experience with Central American capital cities so far is that they are not particularly swanky. This one definitely is. Donald Trump thinks so. His building is the one towards the right that resembles a sail on a boat (sort of).

That is the view of the left side of Panama Bay as you are looking out.

On the other side is pretty Casco Viejo on the right:

4) Chow time:

After all this picture-taking, we were jonesing a good local snack. We headed to the popular Mercado de Mariscos for some shrimp ceviche:

The shrimp was $2; the Coke was $1. I like.

5) The convenience of the whole thing:

It´s worth mentioning that the local currency in Panama is the US dollar. So, we didn´t have to run around exchanging anything. The airport (Tocumen International) is approximately 20 miles from Casco Viejo. You can get a cab anywhere, but give yourself extra time because there is indeed a lot of traffic. However, we got back to the airport with 2 hours still to spare before our flight time. Also Tocumen airport is so small; going through customs out and in was a breeze.

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4 Comments on “A layover in Panama City”

  1. Karen October 23, 2011 at 19:55 #

    Great update! Tell Shane he looks great, but too thin!! =) The bay pics are impressive.

  2. Eric Young October 30, 2011 at 20:18 #

    Hey, who is the model holding the beer? We have not seen such good looking men on your blog in a loing time? And why are there no pictures of the two of you together?
    Eric 🙂

  3. Giovanna Frange December 5, 2013 at 03:15 #

    Hi. Nice post !!!
    I have a layover in Panama city that takes 8h only. I’m counting that I’m gonna have onky 4hours / 4h:30min to see the city.
    I wanna go to the canal and just take pictures of the city. Do u know how much could be the cab from the airport to the canal or this place u posted?
    I’m leaving from NY but I’m brazilian and I’m going to Brazil. Do u think i would have to pay somethig to leave the airport and go see the city, or nedd a visa? I called cooa airlines and they told me I don’t need a visa but i have to pay 40,00 to leave the airport. Is this true? Sorry for so many answers. But if u could answer would be great. My flight is in 3 days. I get there around 6 or 7am.
    Thank u

    • Marisa LaValette December 6, 2013 at 12:31 #

      Hi Giovanna!

      Thank you for reading and visiting my blog website.

      It is true that you need to pay $ when leaving the airport to go into Panama City, because I think it is some kind of tourism tax. I do not think you need a visa.

      I remember paying $ to leave the airport, but I don’t remember how much I paid.

      Also, I am sorry that I do not know how much it costs for a taxi there and back, because I was very lucky when I went to Panama City. There was a Panamanian family with their children on the plane with us, and they were kind enough to drive us into the city. So I do not know what it would cost.

      If I remember correctly, I think it took 45 minutes to get from the airport to the old part of the city. There was A LOT of traffic in both directions, so be sure to leave time for that.

      I hope you have a wonderful trip!


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