23 hours in Panama

I’ve said it again and again, I love to take advantage of a good stopover flight. It is the absolute easiest way to travel to two countries in one trip. Airlines have finally caught up with this trend and certain ones now provide quick access to their country of origin. When planning my trip to Barbados last year, I had the idea in mind to search for a stopover during my tour.

During my flight research, I quickly discovered Copa Airlines, based in Panama City, had a stopover program. Their flights are designed to have an extended layover in Panama City, so you may enjoy the beautiful Central American city and country. I happily and rapidly booked my flight to Barbados with an extraordinary Panama City excursion in between.

I had exactly 23 hours in the beautiful mecca that is Panama City. I had a chance to learn about and visit the world renowned and highly advanced engineering that is the Panama Canal. I had the opportunity to explore Casco Antiguo (its Old Quarter). While I was there, I enjoyed some authentic freshly shaven ice and a Panamanian meal for dinner. I went bar hoping at night to a few rooftop bars to see the beautiful skyline of the city. Most importantly, I was able to rest and relax before my non stop partying in Barbados.

Definitely consider Copa Airlines and a stopover in Panama City during your next travel destination.

See more information on my 23 hour Stopover in Panama below.

Panama City Stopover

Where I stayed: JW Marriott Panama City

How I got around: Uber works very well in Panama City. I spent about $15 USD to get to my hotel from the airport. Uber to other parts of the city varied from $4-10 USD per ride.

What I saw: After I checked into my hotel I refreshed and went straight to the Panama Canal. To visit the Canal, the Miraflores Visitor Center is just a 15-minute drive from downtown Panama City. I highly recommend you check out the Imax movie narrated by Morgan Freeman, of course, about the Panama Canal. The movie is included in your ticket price to view the canal. I then took an Uber to Casco Antiguo (its Old Quarter). This area of town is full of culture, cute shops and restaurants. After dinner I went to a few rooftop bars to view the skyline. I started at Tantalo Roofbar in Casco Antiguo. I ended my evening back at the JW Marriot’s rooftop bar, which has a spectacular night skyline view and a affordable drink menu.

Panama City

Where I ate: I stayed in the Old Quarter for dinner. I asked my Uber driver who picked me up from the airport for dinner recommendations and he recommended, Diablicos, for delicious authentic Panamanian cuisine. Prior to dinner I also stumbled upon this man making freshly shaven ice. He recommended and made it the authentic Panamanian way with fruit flavors of passion fruit and sweetened condensed milk. That shaven ice was so good especially in the humid air that is Panama City. My hotel stay included breakfast, so I was able to fill my belly before my flight to Bridgetown, Barbados the next morning.

Fresh shaven ice

What I spoke: Spanish is the spoken language in Panama. You may find some locals that speak English in the touristy areas like hotels, shops etc., but most people only speak Spanish. My Spanish level is intermediate, but I definitely felt comfortable enough communicating decently in the country.

What I bought: The Panamanian balboa (PAB) is the national currency of the Republic of Panama. Since I was staying less than I day, I opted to just use my credit card for my purchases instead to getting cash. Exchange rate is $1 USD = $1 PAB

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