Big City Tales

The Pretty Colors of Panama City | April 10, 2018

While I have always been intrigued by the idea of taking a cruise through the Panama Canal, I have to admit that visiting port cities was secondary to navigating the lock system waterway connecting the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. However, after a chance viewing of the movie Contraband starring Mark Wahlberg in which part of the plot unfolds on Panamanian soil, seeing the coastal skyline and pretty colors of Panama City became a primary objective.

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Notwithstanding Wahlberg’s criminal movie exploits and the recent ‘Panama Papers’ exposure of rogue offshore financial dealings, the city’s tourism appeal remains strong. World Heritage Sites include Panama Viejo (Old Town) and Casco Viejo (Old Quarter) that showcase the historical aspects of the city dating back to its founding in the 1500s by Spanish conquistadors. Architecturally, all that remains in Panama Viejo are the stone ruins of the original city settlement but Spanish colonial buildings such as Plaza de la Independencia and the Church of San Francisco feature prominently in Casco Viejo in addition to other significant monuments.

Along with its historical districts, Panama City boasts modern neighborhoods with many high-rise towers making for a dense skyline, particularly along the waterfront.

Avenida Central is the main pedestrian walkway in the inner city area that offers bakeries, fruit stands and shoe stores among other shopping options.

Along the waterfront, the Causeway is a man-made boardwalk that stretches for two kilometres and provides an area for both exercising and eating in equal measure, as well as an ideal place to view the city skyline and ships awaiting entry into the canal.

Once the sun sets, the Calle Uruquay club district comes to life and is a prime location to dance the night away and feel the groove of local rhythms.

Demographically, Panama City is quite diverse with a mix of cultures hailing from around the world that is reflected in multiple languages being spoken and an array of arts and crafts being sold. Traditional items on display range from elaborate handmade patterned textiles to simple straw hats.

A Colorful Cityscape

Be it white sand beaches, turquoise blue ocean waters, green and yellow bananas, or multi-colored bins, buses, boats and buildings, Panama City is alive with pretty colors that beckon to be seen and admired.

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