Photo Courtesy of Shutterstock/VilainecrevettePanama city panamaPanama city panamaLa cinta costera es un tramo de tierras ganadas al mar en la Ciudad de Panamá.  La primera fase Ciudad de PanamáCiudad de PanamáCiudad de PanamáCiudad de Panamá

Families will love:

  • An abundance of outdoor adventures, including zip-lining, white water rafting and snorkeling
  • Beautiful beaches within an hour of the city
  • Visiting and learning about the Panama Canal

People are surprised when they first visit Panama City. Central America's most cosmopolitan city is a huge metropolis, with modern skyscrapers erupting like mountains amidst the surrounding corrugated metal shacks that are still home to much of the population. Although Panama has long been a safe, budget-friendly alternative to its neighbor, Costa Rica, it's still a ... more
People are surprised when they first visit Panama City. Central America's most cosmopolitan city is a huge metropolis, with modern skyscrapers erupting like mountains amidst the surrounding corrugated metal shacks that are still home to much of the population. Although Panama has long been a safe, budget-friendly alternative to its neighbor, Costa Rica, it's still a relatively undiscovered vacation destination. That is rapidly changing.

The number of annual foreign visitors to Panama tripled between 1999 and 2011; this is a trend likely to continue with the opening of several brand new high-profile resorts. The last few years have seen construction of the sleek and striking 72-story Trump Ocean Club, as well as the country's first Westin, not to mention Latin America's first Hard Rock Hotel and its first Waldorf Astoria. Things are definitely heating up in Panama City.

Although Panama City is known for its nightlife, families are starting to warm up to it as a vacation destination as well. Visiting the Panama Canal and its world-class interactive museum at the Miraflores Locks is a remarkable history lesson for kids and adults. It's fun to wave at the passengers aboard cruise ships, squeezing their way through this narrow passageway. One hundred years later, it still remains an awe-inspiring engineering marvel. Panamanians are gearing up for a year of celebrations in 2014 -- the centennial of the canal's construction. Along with the festivities, a brand new route for larger ships in the canal will be unveiled.

Panama's natural wonders are celebrated at the BioMuseo, a colorful Frank Gehry-designed spectacle devoted to the country's abundant biodiversity, scheduled to open at the end of 2013. Year-round temperatures in the 80's, combined with beautiful beaches and wilderness preserves just an hour away, make Panama City a great choice for families looking for a tropical destination with eco-adventures, such as zip-lining and whitewater rafting. It's the southernmost country in Central America, but Panama is clearly on the rise as a tourist destination.

Written by Andrea Guthmann less

Panama City, Panama Planning & Tips
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