As the sun slowly rises high, it’s glint shines over the high rise jungle of Panama City. The capital of Panama, it plays an exclusive role in bridging North and South America. Yet surprisingly it goes one step further and seeks to collate the east and west. For those who have no knowledge of Panama, you might mistakenly see it as just another metropolis. Indeed it does have such qualities as an urban interior and metropolitan circular nature with around 880,000 people. However, it’s full of surprises that lead one to scratch their chin trying to figure out what the city is about. For such a small country it’s amazing to see such a healthy skyline, but when you learn of the economy, it all makes sense. It’s a service-based city which is used as a hub for the wealthy, businesses and indeed many governments in the region. Despite the modernization, the city has not lost its traditions and customs.
Credit Bernal Saborio
Through the winding green
If you feel as if you would be missing out on a true Panama adventure then you must go see what the locals call the ‘real’ Panama. The canal and jungle tour that awaits you will take you from starting point on the Pacific side to the Atlantic side. You’ll be traveling both by boat with other guests of the tour and then through the thick brush on foot. You’ll first be lead to the town of Gamboa which will then start the tour off through the various canals and lakes that wind up and down the country. When you reach Gatun Lake, the boat then stops and asks the guests to get off and head toward the jungle on foot. There you can meet the capuchin and howler monkeys. They’re not afraid of humans so they often get close in the hopes you’ll feed them. After half an hour of learning about all the different animals that make the jungle their home, you’ll then heard toward northern Panama. Stopping at various iconic and important sites, you will eventually make your way to Fort San Lorenzo. From here you’ll be picked up in an air-conditioned minibus and dropped back in Panama City.
An overachieving stay
So in this commotion and learning about this bridging nation of Panama, where could you find a little peace and quiet? Head toward the northeast of the capital to the Courtyard Panama at Metromall Mall hotel. An overachieving hotel that may be rated 3-stars by the international standard but give 4.3 stars to all who have stayed inside its quarters. This is a trend that is hard to find anywhere so it should immediately catch your attention. Just 4 miles from the Tocumen International Airport it’s in a great position. Surrounding it are all kinds of shops, places to enjoy a nice meal and generally walk around to experience life as the citizens do. If you’re not used to the glistening sun all day long feel free to cool off in the outdoor pool that also has a lounging area. All the rooms pleasantly harbor a 32-inch LCD TV for you to watch the local news or just a movie of your choice.
Panama is such an overlooked nation because it’s in a slightly awkward location. It literally takes on the shape of a bridge, and that is its unofficial role to connect the two Americas. However, if you take your time and immerse yourself in its capital, you’ll wonder what kept you so long from visiting.