Panamá La Vieja : What is known today as Panama Viejo, the old city of Panama, was the first city established by the shores of the Pacific Ocean, by Governor Pedro Arias Davila in 1519. This city was constantly visited by galleons coming from Peru, loaded with gold and silver, and other treasures en route to Spain. As a result of the attack by the English corsair, Sir Henry Morgan, occurred in 1671, the city was looted and set on fire, leaving instead of the Pearl of the Pacific, the ruins visible today. Among the ruins still visible that stand out are the convent of Saint Francis, the Company of Jesus, church of La Merced, Saint Joseph’s church, Saint John’s hospital, the royal houses, the slaughterhouse bridge, and the King’s bridge. Near the site, museums display objects from pre-Hispanic and colonial times, and scale models of the city back in the 18th century.
El Casco Antiguo: After the destruction of the first city as consequence of the attack by pirate Henry Morgan, a new city was founded in 1673 at the site today known as Casco Antiguo. A great deal of the wall that protected this coastal city from possible pirate attacks still stands, sheltering what UNESCO has designated as World Heritage Site. The streets and buildings in the old quarter served as backdrop for moments crucial to Panama’s birth as an independent republic, and witnessed the first footsteps as well the very last breaths of the nation’s forefathers. The Casco Antiguo is currently undergoing a strenuous restoration process in order to recover its original splendor. The cobblestone streets of this historical site guide its visitors through picturesque squares and opulent cathedrals to finally lead them to an invigorating cup of coffee or a robust glass of wine at any of its al fresco eateries.
Panama Canal : Considered the “Eight Wonder of the Modern World,” the Panama Canal counts with three sets of locks through which a yearly estimate of 14,000 ships transit between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. About 56,307 workers coming from the United States, Europe, and the Caribbean were needed to conclude this engineering feat, which today serves as bridge to a 5% of the world’s commerce. The Center in Miraflores counts with expositions about the functioning and history of the Canal, where visitors can learn about its locks system, pressure valves, tow ships, and other elements needed to guide ships safely between oceans.
Causeway : Built out of rocks dug out from the construction of the Panama Canal, the Causeway provides a breathtaking view from the Pacific entrance to the waterway and the Americas Bridge, which until the year 2005 was the only connection between the divided land masses. The Causeway provides fine dining and the chance to enjoy outdoor activities such as jogging, biking, rollerblading, or fishing, all with Panama City’s skyline as backdrop.
Afro-Antillean Museum : Since 1980, The Afroantillean Museum offered the possibility of learning about one of the most important facets of the construction of the Canal. The Museum has an exhibition hall that shows photographs of the arrival of the West Indian immigrants to Panama and their participation in the construction of the Transisthmian Railway and the Interoceanic Canal. Guided tours are offered in this hall and during the month of August, the museum organizes conferences and exhibitions alusive to the construction of the Canal.
Mi Pueblito : This attractive place is located at the bottom of the Ancon Hill, and offers the visitors beautiful gardens with ferns and flowers proper of the countryside. It is totally paved with river stones and natural flat stone, surrounded by street lamps and houses characteristic of the urban area of the towns. The representation of the rural area is located behind with a typical house made up of mud, straw and canvas with a creole clay roof and a mud floor. Behind the house you may see the furnace, the mud oven, the traditional "trapiche" (cane press) and range raised hens.
Museum of Religious Colonial Art : Located in the Old Quarter of Panama City, the Santo Domingo de Guzman old chapel was built in the third quarter of the 18th Century and was restored in 1974. The items exhibited in this museum belong to families and churches of Panama City and the countryside of Panama. Some of the pieces on display come from Spain while in others you may observe the South American art influence in the isthmus, either through the works, imported from Quito or Lima during the colonial times, and some others created by native or foreign artists based in Panama such as the silver chisseled and embossed processional cross, made in 1571 which belonged to the church of Veraguas.
Reina Torres de Arauz Anthropological Museum : The Reina Torres de Arauz Anthopological Museum displays a wide collection made up of more than 15,000 pieces of gold and pottery, lithic and ethnographic, preserved in great conditions, and counts with approximately 5,000 meters of covered areas and 3,500 of open spaces. This museum preserves Panama's history from pre-columbian times, since the Isthmus' first settlers, who lived more than 10,000 years ago, until the arrival of the Spanish explorers. The stucture counts with spacious storage areas, auditorium, amphitheaters, gardens, parking spaces, and six hectares of tropical rainforest located behind the building.
Panama's Carnival Panama City is no stranger to Momo’s festivities, when for four days, crowds head out to the streets looking for fun under the sun. During the day, cistern trucks cool down passersby with streams of fresh water while floats parade led by fantasy-clad queens. At night fall, stages located strategically around the city present local and international performers as a prelude to next day’s party.