With two days to spend in Panama City, you’ll have time to take in the old streets of Casco Viejo and the modern skyscrapers of the new city, sail through the iconic Panama Canal, and dig a bit deeper into the local food and arts scene. Read on to learn more about how to make the most of 48 hours in Panama City.
Day 1: City Sights
Morning: Get your bearings in the morning with a sightseeing tour of Panama City. Hit the pavement on a walking tour of the charming and historic Casco Viejo or opt for a city driving tour to see the highlights, old and new. Travelers who’d rather explore at their own pace can climb aboard the double-decker hop-on hop-off sightseeing bus for a fully customizable tour of the capital.
Afternoon: Now that you have an idea of what Panama City has to offer, take this afternoon to dig a bit deeper into your personal interests. History buffs can spend this time touring some of the city’s top museums, including the Interoceanic Canal Museum, Museum of History, and Museum of Biodiversity, on a museum tour, while foodies might want to take a food tour of Casco Viejo or pay a visit to a local chocolate factory.
Night: This evening is all about enjoying Panama City’s stellar nightlife, and you have several options. Go barhopping on foot through Casco Viejo—most tours include a welcome drink at each stop—or pedal your way through the city on a moving bar with a group of friends or family.
Day 2: Panama Canal
Morning: No trip to Panama would be complete without a visit to the Panama Canal. While there are many ways to explore this marvel of engineering, the best is to get right in the middle of it on a transit tour through the locks. Traveling between the Atlantic and Pacific through the Panama Canal takes an entire day, but it’s possible to travel through two sets of locks in as little as half a day, leaving the afternoon free to explore the surrounding area.
Afternoon: If you opt for a partial transit through the canal, you can spend the afternoon exploring the area in greater depth. A popular option is an eco-cruise on Gatun Lake, where it’s possible to spot capuchin, howler, and tamarin monkeys on the shores of aptly named Monkey Island.
Night: After a full day of sightseeing, spend your last evening in Panama City enjoying music, dancing, and local cuisine during a folkloric show and dinner. Many shows include live music with influences from Spanish, Caribbean, and indigenous cultures, intricate handwoven costumes, traditional folk dances, and a dinner of traditional Panamanian favorites.