Chapman Freeborn blog

The Many Layers of Panama City

Panama City is the capital of the Republic of Panama and is located at the entrance of the world-famous Panama Canal. The city was originally founded in 1519 by Spanish conqueror Pedro Arias de Avila, and is one of the most cosmopolitan capitals in Central America. Panama has long been a centre of trade from the east and west, creating a real cultural cocktail of nationalities, religions, languages and lifestyles.

Explore the ‘Three Cities’

Panama City can be easily broken up into three separate parts. The first is the ruins of the original city, Panama Viejo, dating back to the 16th century. The second is the Casco Viejo – the Spanish colonial city from the 17th century. The third is the modern part of Panama where visitors will find ultra-modern buildings and skyscrapers.

The Panama Viejo ruins are certainly worth a visit whilst in Panama. The best-preserved building is the Cathedral of Our Lady of Asuncion, built in 1626. The story of old Panama can be grasped here by seeing the old ruins, and the tales they have to tell about the people who lived there.

The Spanish colonial part of Panama City dates back to 1671 and today is recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Within this part of the city there is both French and Spanish architecture, stunning 17th century churches and many fantastic boutique shops, bars, restaurants and cafes. This part of the city really comes to life at night and you’ll find upbeat Latin music filling the streets, plenty of salsa bars to try out your dance moves, and also many cosy cocktail bars and rooftop terraces for a more laidback experience.

Traverse the Panama Canal

Panama Canal

No trip to Panama City would be complete without venturing out into the Panama Canal – widely regarded as one of the most impressive creations by mankind. You can start your journey off at the Panama Canal Miraflores Visitor Centre, where you’ll learn about the construction of the canal, which begun in 1903 and was completed in 1914. Hop on a boat from here for a day trip on the Panama Canal, where you can fully appreciate the enormous scale of this project.

Head to the Amador Causeway

Panama Causeway

The picturesque Amador Causeway was created using rocks removed during the excavation of the Panama Canal. The Causeway connects four islands together and is the perfect place to go for a stroll, jog or bike ride whilst taking in the breath-taking views. You’ll be able to see boats and ships entering and leaving the picturesque Panama Canal as you go!

Ensure your visit to Panama City is in true style and comfort by chartering a private jet with Chapman FreebornAlbrook ‘Marcos A. Gelabert’ International Airport is just two miles from the city and Tocumen International Airport is only ten miles away. This makes it an incredibly well connected city that’s easy to visit by private jet.