I’m currently in Panama as I write this piece, and thought, better to write now while everything is still happening.
People rarely think, “oh let me go to Panama” but Panama is actually the hub of Central America and for some reason no one ever decides to stay in Panama. So what prompted me? A flight deal! Panama was not on my travel list nor was it a dream destination but here I am. Happy to be here!
I stayed in the Hard Rock Hotel in Panama City which is EXTREMELY modern. (great for me). I love having the amenities i’ve become accustomed to while at home. For those of you who prefer to live amongst the locals or see colonial Panama, stay in Casco Viejo.
When it came to transportation, I was pleasantly surprised to see how well Uber functions here. So I Ubered everywhere. I could have taken the local bus but since i BARELY speak Spanish — that wasn’t a good idea. From the hotel in Panama City to Casco Viejo was $5USD each way. Which is reasonable. (Tip: Take Uber if you can, the taxis will definitely try to overcharge)
So what did I do in Panama ? Sites, sites and more sites! I visited Panama Viejo which was burned down back in the day and was able to see what is still standing. And then visited the Panama Canal. While I was not particularly impressed with it — one cannot come to Panama and not visit those two places.
After spending Day 1 in Panama City, Day 2 was spent in Casco Viejo. We went to the infamous Tantalo Bar and wasn’t too impressed with the scene either (It was hyped up so much on every review i read before getting there). Where were all the black Panamanians ? Speaking of blackness — i was constantly stared at, complimented, gawked at, my complexion and it being so pretty and me being so pretty was almost shocking to people. It would almost appear as if there were no black people in Panama. But there are — so after awhile it became awkward and made me uncomfortable. You could argue that people are admiring you but when you feel like an art exhibit or exotic bird, walking through the street becomes exhausting.
That said, I LOVE Casco Viejo. The architecture is amazing and you can walk through and take pictures since the area isn’t crowded. There are local vendors selling trinkets and panama hats for those of us that like buying souvenirs
bullshit on vacation. Support local!
Where I ate:
- Tantalo Kitchen, Casco Viejo
- Fish Market, Casco Viejo
- Si Hay Pizza, Casco Viejo
- Mangos, Casco Viejo
Lastly, Panama is great for a quick trip. Come explore, submerge yourself in the culture. The people here are very diverse and there is no “Panamanian look”. What do you think of my time here? Would you visit ?