City of Panamá, Republic of Panamá
The City of Panamá is the first Spanish city established on the Pacific coast on the continent, the biggest and most populous city on the Isthmus, as well as the main cultural and economic center in the country of Panamá. The City of Panamá has over a million residents in its metropolitan area, almost 25 neighborhoods, and covers approximately 1,000 sq. miles. It has a warm climate all year around, with only two seasons: a rainy season that runs from May through November and dry season at all other times. It also has the biggest community park in town, located in the San Francisco area.
The principal income of the city is the tourism and the Panamá Canal. It has several museums to visit; among them is the most creative and modern Museo de la Biodiversidad (Biodiversity), situated on the beautiful causeway (Fort Amador) at the entrance of the Canal in the Pacific Ocean.
The city has several beautiful places to visit in addition to the Canal, including, as mentioned, several museums, the Old Panamá Tower (in San Francisco), Mi Pueblito (Ancón), the spectacular Cerro Ancón (Ancon Hill), Casco Viejo, the Presidential Palace (where you can book inn advance for a free tour), the botanical and interesting Summit Gardens Park ($5 entrance), the Natural and Metropolitan Parks (beautiful and extended places where you can connect with nature and go bird watching), and the Smithsonian Aquarium (Ft. Amador).
Transportation: In addition as you going from one place to another within the city, you can enjoy the beautiful ride by train into the city of Colón, where you can spend the day at the Canal visitor´s center (Atlantic side) and have lunch there, or go to one of the hotels in the area, or visit the Free Zone.
Within the city you can also take a ride in the recently inaugurated Metro, where you can go to the Albrook Mall, one of the biggest in town with hundreds of stores and prices for all budgets. Other malls in the city are Multiplaza, Multicentro, El Dorado and Metro Mall. The Metro fare is $0.35 per person, and you must purchase a card at the station ($2.00 plus transportation; exact change).
You might as well want to take a partial or full transit at the Canal, or go to one of the nearby islands, like Taboga or Isla Grande, where you can enjoy good hotels and international gastronomy.
There is also the Hop-On / Hop-Off bus, where you can purchase a one or two days ticket ($29.00) and visit several tourism sites.
In addition, if you have extra time, you might like to visit the "interior". Panamá has a beautiful countryside with hundreds of villages, towns, beaches, mountains and small cities. The most well-known are Chame, Coronado, Buenaventura, Chitré, Pedasí, San Blas, El Valle, Boquete and Bocas del Toro. Tour operators offers different guided tours for bird watching, water rafting, scuba diving, fishing, boat tours by the Bay, outdoor adventures, horseback riding and many opportunities for scientific explorations (like Barro Colorado, and many rainforest places along the country).
Culture in the city? The City of Panamá has many theaters, like the colonial and impressive Teatro Nacional (National Theater), in Casco Viejo, with representations in classic ballet of international and local artists, as well as all kinds of events.
We have a Jazz Festival and other important cultural events year around. Panamanians love to party, and are always looking for an occasion to celebrate. We have several extra holidays, like the carnival, where everyone in the city stops whatever they are doing to participate.
Locals take their social live seriously, and also love to go out to eat, in many of the hundreds of restaurants in the city.
Don’t forget to visit the "Cinta Costera", a beautiful boulevard by the "Bahía de Panamá (Panamá Bay). You can walk, bike, or ride on either lane.
MARBELLA, one of the small neighborhoods inside the city, is mainly a residential place, with high rise buildings, and is considered the banking area. Is located between Punta Paitilla, Obarrio and Bella Vista. The closest main roads are Calle 50 and Vía Israel (continuations of Cinta Costera/Ave. Balboa). There are some small stores around, and very close by are two important malls and hotels. Marbella doesn´t have a culture by itself, but enjoys the growth of the city in general.
The neighborhood of Marbella is very central, and if you are visiting, you have no need for a car. That is, unless you plan on also visiting the interior.