A view of the Panama City skyline

MedRepublic Destination Profile: Panama City, Panama

Kelly Yeo Travel Leave a Comment

If you’re considering traveling to Panama City for medical tourism, you’re in for a treat.

Panama City lies between North and South America. The city has long been considered the most cosmopolitan city in Central America. Blending Spanish and American influences, the city is a center of international trade best known for the Panama Canal.

As a highly urban locale not too far from water, the skyline could be straight out of Miami, Florida. Large tropical rainforests and beaches are available along the outskirts of the city along both the Pacific or Caribbean oceans, ensuring an outdoors escape is easily within reach.

Things To Do

The historic Panama canal bridges both the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans.

If you’re in Panama City, no trip would be complete without a visit to the Panama Canal. At the Miraflores and Pedro Miguel Locks, watch the cruise ships and freighters move through the canal, once called the 8th wonder of the world. The canal has long been heralded as a monument of mankind’s ingenuity. Travelers can also take the daylong Panama Canal Railway trans-isthmus train ride, taking you from Panama City on the Pacific Ocean to Colon on the Atlantic. Journey as enterprising 19th century gold rush miners once did while en route to California.

Within the city, be sure to visit the neighborhood of old Panama, or Casco Viejo, one of

Just one example of Casco Viejo’s beautiful architecture.

Panama City’s top attractions, featuring ruins of the city dating back to 1519. The ruins are a UNESCO World Heritage site. The nearby neighborhood features neoclassical and Art Deco architecture perfect for a mid-afternoon stroll. Nearby is the Museum of Biodiversity, or Biomuseo, designed by world-renowned architect Frank Gehry, which features world class exhibitions about Panama’s diverse flora and fauna and beautiful botanical gardens.

For the more fitness-minded, visit the Parque Natural Metropolitano, a surefire way to both be active and take in Panama’s natural beauty. The park offers two main walking trails north of downtown Panama. These trails form a singular loop and also offer panoramic views of the city, the bay, and the canal. Within the park, visitors can see tit monkeys, anteaters, sloths, deer, iguanas, turtles, and more. Both self-guided and ranger-led tours are available of the park.

Transportation

If you’re traveling internationally, you’ll fly into Tocumen International Airport. From there, you can take bus, taxi, or Uber to your hotel. Around town, take taxis and Ubers for an effective way of getting around. However, taxi and Uber drivers may be more aggressive than you’re used to.  Streets may also be poorly maintained, so don’t be surprised if you’re taken for a bumpy ride! Metro and bus are also a low-cost option of getting around the city.

Safety

In terms of travel safety, take standard precautions as in any large city while traveling within greater Panama or Panama City. Petty thievery is an issue, as is common in large, well-known tourist areas. Keep your belongings close on your person, especially in Casco Viejo. Pack insect repellant with DEET to keep infectious mosquitoes away. When hiking and taking other day tours outside the city, pay attention to your guide and stay on set hiking paths.

 

Kelly is rising senior at UCLA majoring in Human Biology and Society, with plans to pursue medical school. She loves interdisciplinary, long-form journalism, and reading in general. Her hobbies include trying to get into shape, writing creatively, and exploring Los Angeles.