HOLA PANAMA

48 hours in Panama

There’s really no time like the present hence why I’m seizing the moment. If someone would have told me that Panama would be the last trip for 2020, I wouldn’t have believed them. Shelter in place is a new reality for many of us and there’s no certainty of when it’ll be safe to travel again. Deciding to take the trip to Panama was kind of up in the air for many reasons. Like many, no one really knew just how serious this was all going to become. We saw it affecting thousands around the world but it didn’t seem real. I was hesitant about going on a trip but I knew if I didn’t go, I would regret it. 

My 2020 mood board consisted of more travels to Mexico, Central America and South America. Even though 2020 has different plans, I am thankful I was able to experience Panama and visit Central America for the first time. The view of the skyline as you fly in had my heart heart racing. A beautiful row of white skyscrapers in the sun, glistening as they say bienvenidos a Panama! 

Panama is rich in history, wildlife, culture, tropical beaches and anything else you could wish for in a getaway. Time seems to go by slow, which made our two day stay feel extended. We had no itinerary or a list of places to see, we arrived with the notion to relax and enjoy ourselves. We spent our time in Casco Viejo, the old quarter. Here is where you’ll find the old colonial  architecture painted in bold or pastel colors. Panama should be known as Rooftop Heaven. There was rooftop after rooftop, it seemed like every hotel and restaurant had a rooftop. Rooftop hopping was done easily because there were zero lines and crowds. Our Uber driver explained to us that most of the city is away celebrating Carnival. With the crowds away we were really able to enjoy everything Panama had to offer. 

WHERE TO EAT & DRINK 

  • La Zotea
  • Selina
  • 1688 Bar
  • Capital Bistro Panama
  • Diablicos

WHERE WE STAYED:

We originally had planned to stay at The W in downtown but decided we wanted to be near the beach. We wanted to really feel like we were on vacation. We booked our rooms at the Westin because the property sits right on the beach, The property has three pools and beach access. The hotel is stunning, just be warned that the beach photos online were not exactly the same in person. The water was more green than blue, however during sunset, the views were spectacular. It was also painless to go to and from the hotel to Casco Viejo. 

THINGS TO KNOW:

Language: The official language in Panama is Spanish.

Currency: The currency in Panama is the Balboa (PAB), but the US Dollar is used as well. 1 USD is equivalent to 1 PAB.

Credit Cards and ATMs: Panama is mainly a cash economy. You can only use your credit cards at select hotels, shops, and restaurants. While there are a fair number of ATMs in Panama City, it’s always a good idea to carry cash on you, especially in small bills.

Plugs: The plugs in Panama are type A and B. The standard voltage is 110 V, and the standard frequency is 60Hz. I recommend buying a universal adapter (make sure it has surge protection) and using a converter for hair dryers and hot tools.

Safety: Like any city, there are safe and unsafe areas. Be smart and avoid carrying all your money in one place and ask your hotel about which areas you should avoid. ALWAYS have a purse or a backpack that is difficult to open and carry it in front of you. 

Living through unprecedented times, I look back on this trip as such a blessing. I miss my friends and the adventures we had planned for this year. All we can do now is work hard at staying indoors and take precautionary measures to keep safe and to keep those around us safe. We do this in hopes that we are able to enjoy life outdoors once again, this time without taking anything for granted.

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