Panama…My main takeaway

I went into the trip not really wanting to visit the Canal.  It just seemed to cliche and too many people only think of the canal when they think of tourism in Panama.  I wanted to help show a different side of the city and country to let people know there is more to do there than spend a day watching boats on a stopover with Copa.  Although I can be a control freak, I hate planning trips so when some of the other hashers told me their plans in Panama City the two remaining days I had I tagged along and ended up learning more than I ever planned about the canal and probably seeing a good chunk of information (I guess that’s what I get for following engineers!).

In trying to come up with posts to change you all I was actually changed myself.

Panama *IS* the canal.  For better or for worse the main differentiation for Panama over any other Central American country is a result of the canal.  Whether it is being able to flush toilet paper or the international relationships and immigration due to the construction and continued use of the canal, or even just the revenue the canal generates for the country it would probably be a much different story for Panama without it so for me to go in and tell you to ignore the canal and try to experience real Panama would only tell a fraction of the country’s story.

So I’m starting at the end of my adventure to tell you the moral of my story.  Stay tuned the rest of the week for the rest of my experiences including the two different Canal museums, the old town, and of course some food pictures.

I should probably make it clear now that I have not received any compensation from any tourism agencies, hotel chains, or anyone else for this trip.  This was completely self-funded.


    1. @Seth,
      There were no boats going through the locks when I was there and I wanted to head off to other things in the city in my limited time. It sounds like i missed the activity because my friends started playing drinking games downing a beer between boats and apparently boats were passing about every 8 minutes.

      I thought I liked Costa Rica, but Panama is my new Central American favorite. For countries smaller than South Carolina they are so different. I understand Costa Rican spanish much better than Panamanian Spanish though so language was a big barrier in Panama.

  1. How long were you in and around Panama City? I am planning a trip that could be as long as 6 nights, but not sure if that would be overkill. Could split it up between a few evenings downtown and some a bit outside the city (Westin Playa Bonita or elsewhere). Any thoughts?

    1. I was there for 6 days total. 3 days at an all inclusive, 3 days in Panama City (but i mostly slept for one of them)

      If you just want to go to the locks and not see too much else in the city that would be fine. Otherwise i’d recommend 3 useful days in the city…an don’t bother with the hop on hop off bus. It’s not worth the hassle.

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