In the newer neighborhoods of Panama City, Panama, wide streets busy with traffic are flanked by sidewalks crowded with pedestrians. Many are on their way to work and even more are shopping in huge department stores that are filled with goods from all over the world.
Its location on the Panama Canal has made it one of the world’s most important cities for trade. Despite the spotless, air-conditioned malls and man-made groves of skyscrapers springing up along the waterfront, this old city founded by the Spanish during the early days of their conquest still retains much of its colonial charm.
This City has also managed to conserve much of its natural heritage and is probably the only capitol city with large tracts of tropical rainforest within its boundaries. From lookouts in Metropolitan Park, one can watch parrots flying over the canopy of lowland rainforests with its impressive modern skyline as a visually stunning backdrop.
A blend of the old, new, and the natural, Panama is the most up and coming city in the Americas.
Similar to many places in Panama, the area that encompasses Panama City was inhabited by indigenous peoples who lived in small villages near rivers and the coast before the arrival of the Spanish in the early 1500s.
Panama was one of the first places colonized by the Spanish in the Americas and the city of Panama was the first European settlement on the Pacific coast of the new world. Founded in 1519 by Pedro Arias de Avila, Panama City, Panama became a jumping off point for expeditions into South America, and an important stop on the Spanish trade route between this continent and Spain.
Because so much treasure flowed through Panama City, though, it was a perfect target for pirates. Due to their frequent attacks, the city was relocated a short distance to the west to what is presently known as the neighborhood of Casco Viejo about 150 years after the Panama City was founded.
Panama City continued to be an important stop along the trade route between Spain and South America until 1746 when the trade route through Panama was abandoned due to huge losses from pirate attacks. The city temporarily lost importance until a century later when the Panama railroad was built as a result of the California gold rush in the United States. It was actually safer and easier to travel by ship to Panama, cross the isthmus by train, and continue on to California than to risk hostile Indians when traveling overland in North America.
Panama City, Panama became the official capital of the country in 1903 when Panamanians declared independence from Colombia. From this time on, because of the Panama Canal, Panama City, Panama has been one of the most important and strategic cities in the world.
The culture of Panama City, Panama has been evolving for 500 years to form its own identity and includes influences from its Spanish colonial past, Afro-Caribbean peoples, indigenous tribes, the United States, immigrants from the Middle Eastern and China, and an ever growing community of ex-pats.
This capital city of over a million inhabitants offers something for everybody who visit or reside in its colonial streets and modern byways. There are a number of museums and churches that are interesting to visit and due to its position at the Panama Canal, shopping for low-priced goods from around the world is always a popular activity as are banking and investing.
Exploring the historic neighborhood of Casco Viejo is a must for anyone visiting Panama City as is a visit to the Panama Canal. Many visitors also check out the ruins of Old Panama.
Visitors to Panama City, Panama who would like to see a sloth, toucans, parrots, monkeys, and other tropical animals will have a good chance at seeing such wildlife along trails in Metropolitan and Soberania Parks.
Types of accommodations available
Befitting such a large and important capital city, there are dozens of hotels of all sorts to choose from in Panama City, Panama. Visitors to the city can stay at bed and breakfasts in Casco Viejo, in modern, large hotels near the airport and Allbrook Mall, and at a wide variety of smaller, mid-range hotels in the Cangreja and Exposicion neighborhoods.
Panama City, Panama is a place that most tourists to Panama include in their itineraries. Whether travelers stay a night or two because of its proximity to the airport, are on their way to other areas of the country, or because they hope to walk the old streets of Casco Viejo and see the canal, Panama City is visited by just about everyone who comes to this exciting country.
Panama City, Panama has been a very important center for commerce and trade literally for centuries. In recent times, with globalization and the explosion of China’s economy, this city and the all important Panama Canal have become even more valuable for trade. As long as there is a canal, Panama City will be one of the most strategic and important cities in the Americas. That said, real estate in and Panama City is highly valuable and is only going to be worth more as time goes on.
National and global merchants, investors, ex-pats, and Panamanians all need to spend some or most of their time in Panama City, Panama. They need to stay somewhere so whoever owns property in this busy town should consider themselves to be extremely fortunate.
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