Panama City


Andrew Payti

Panama City

Panama City is both the capital and largest city in Panama. This modern metropolis of approximately 1,275,000 people is located by the Pacific entrance of the Panama Canal and is a popular tourist destination. Its high-rise buildings—apartments, condominiums, office complexes, hotels—and its traffic congestion, overcrowding, and pollution make it seem like an even larger city. An important center of finance and commerce, it is home to approximately 100 banking institutions. Would you be surprised to know that on the outskirts of this busy city are rain forests and wildlife reserves?

Just two miles around the bay from the breathtaking skyline of this modern, bustling city is the original, colonial section of the city—el casco viejo, or el casco antiguo—a UNESCO World Heritage site. Many of its colonial buildings date from the days of the Spaniards. For many years the old section was left to deteriorate, but after the destruction caused during the battles to oust the dictator Manuel Noriega, it has undergone a face-lift and is returning to its original splendor—a combination of colonial buildings, lovely plazas, and ancient ruins.

Explore More:

Imagine you want to vacation in Panama. You fly into Tocumen International Airport and plan to stay a few days in Panama City before exploring the rest of the country. List the types of sights and activities you generally enjoy when visiting a new city—museums, parks, restaurants, shopping, landmarks, etc. Then investigate the specific places and activities Panama City offers in the categories on your list. Would you like to spend most of your time in the modern section or the historic section? From what you have learned, is this a city you would like to visit? Why or why not?

Share What You Know:

Compare and contrast Panama City with the city nearest you. Include topics such as geography, climate, population, attractions, architecture, and surrounding areas.