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Postcard from Panama City

Postcard from Panama City

I talk a lot about places being on my list: those cities, countries and continents that I’m just dying to visit. The places that I’ve read books about or seen Facebook photos of, the destinations that friends have raved about or other bloggers have told me I’d love: Queenstown and Greece, Copenhagen and Brazil. More often than not, however, I end up going to a new place simply because the opportunity presents itself, because the flight is cheap or because a friend is there: that’s how it was with Stockholm, Phu Quoc and, now, Panama City.

Panama City Skyline over the Pacific Ocean in South America

I knew very little about Panama before I entered the country. All in all, I booked my ticket within 24 hours and boarded the plane within five days of Jess inviting me (essentially the first time that I even Googled to figure out where the San Blas Islands were). And I was only in Panama City for a whirlwind couple of days: sunny stretches of catching up on girl talk, wandering the renovated ruins of Casco Viejo and eating endless cups of cheap and delicious ceviche.

Streets and buildings in Panama City, Panama, South America

The old town of Panama City, known as Casco Viejo or Casco Antiguo, is filled with beautifully ornate and brightly colored churches and government buildings.

Streets and buildings on the coast in Panama City, Panama, South America

The endless horizon of the Pacific Ocean.

Construction in the streets of Panama City, Panama, South America

Ambitious construction projects are taking over Casco Viejo: the government is currently moving all of the telephone and electric wires underground.

Flowers and buildings in Panama City, Panama, South America

Ceviche Archi at the fish market in Panama City, Panama, South America

Ceviche Archi in El Mercado de Mariscos (the fish market a few steps from Casco Viejo) is just delicious beyond words. It’s only $2 for a cup of mixed seafood and the lady who owns it is incredibly sweet (even if you just smile and nod when she speaks to you in Spanish).

Balcony at Magnolia Inn in Panama City, Panama, South America

This is the balcony where I started each morning in Panama City with a cup of hot coffee. It was the perfect way to clear my head and properly enjoy where I was: watching the sun rise over the Pacific Ocean and the Casco Viejo buildings, listening to the taxi horns and commute conversation, feeling the tropical warmth on my cheeks. I stayed in a dorm at Magnolia Inn, and can’t recommend it enough: the owners are super helpful and knowledgeable about the local area. They’re American, so there aren’t any cross-cultural miscommunications and the place is kept to ridiculously clean and organized standards. It’s reasonably priced, located in the heart of Casco Viejo and the air conditioning works like a dream.

Note: Magnolia Inn kindly offered me a discount on my accommodation, but all opinions are my own.  

  • Riaan Autumn

    Your pitcures are stunning (as usual)! And I love how spontaneous this trip was. I had never thought about Panama City before this but now I may need to add it to my list!

    Thanks for inspiring me with your adventures! I linked to your website on my latest blog post, 5 Remedies for a Bad Case of Wanderlust, as a resource for aspiring travellers who are waiting on their next adventure:http://tspadventure.wordpress.com/2012/11/08/5-remedies-for-a-bad-case-of-wanderlust/

  • You are so creative

    Ha, you hagives you a nasty stomach virusd to censor your own blog once you realized what an asshole you are after your sandy post. Hope Panama gives you a nasty stomach virus, forcing you to sit on the shitter for days. like yeaaah I am so special.

  • KaleenasKaleidoscope

    It’s so crazy to see your photos of the exact same places I was in a few months ago! I stayed in Magnolia Hostel too, it was great. Was the owner’s teenaged daughter there? I forget her name but she was so cute, she took us up to the ballroom and showed us a jazz dance she was choreographing. And that ceviche is to DIE for, I wanted to try all the flavors and variations but there were too many! Beautiful shots, Panama City really is a cool place. 🙂

  • camorose

    Love it! If you go to Panama City, you HAVE to sail to Colombia. More details on that coming up next!
    And believe me, I’m getting plenty of wanderlust inspiration from lots of other travelers–but until then, I’ll try to keep inspiring from NYC 🙂

  • camorose

    Look, if you want to verbally attack me, have the courage to give your real name and email–don’t hide behind the veil of the Internet. I’m happy to sit down and have a civil conversation about all the mistakes I’ve made and ways in which I contribute both positively and negatively to society–but I’d rather you quit the blog spamming. If you don’t want to hear what I have to say, please stop reading this blog. Thank you in advance.

  • camorose

    What a small world! Her daughter wasn’t there, but the owner’s nephew was–such a cool family! And yessss I could eat every variety of ceviche for days–so delicious AND cheap!

  • New addition to my bucket list!

  • camorose

    Totally worth it!

  • Pingback: Casco Viejo Restaurants Transform Panama City Dining()

  • Bud Helms

    asdasdas

  • https://goo.gl/GkELdK

    Ceviche Archi in El Mercado de Mariscos (the fish market a few steps
    from Casco Viejo) is just delicious beyond words. It’s only $2 for a cup
    of mixed seafood and the lady who owns it is incredibly sweet (even if
    you just smile and nod when she speaks to you in Spanish).

  • https://goo.gl/Dy7T39

    This is the balcony where I started each morning in Panama City with a cup of hot coffee. It was the perfect way to clear my head and properly enjoy where I was: watching the sun rise over the Pacific Ocean and the Casco Viejo buildings, listening to the taxi horns and commute conversation,

  • camorose

    So amazing!

  • IVAN LYBARGER

    Good article, Thanks!