The Casco Viejo is undergoing a major facelift. You can already find chic boutique hotels and great restaurants here, but you'll also find temporary bars and clubs popping up in some of the derelict buildings, which gives the city a bit more of an edge.
Saskia, Original Traveller
A short distance from diverse attractions and regions, from rainforests to indigenous communities and tropical archipelagos, the city is worthy of attention in its own right, and not just because of its world-famous waterway.
Why we think you’ll love it
- Panama city has something for everyone - it's big, brash and busy in parts, whilst in others it's much smaller, quieter, and far more laid back, too
From the gallery
Our guide to holidays in Panama City
The ruins of the original Panama City in Panama Viejo (destroyed by the Welsh pirate Henry Morgan in 1671) are testament to the first city built on the Pacific Coast of the Americas, and founded to facilitate the transfer of Spanish-plundered riches from the Incan Empire in South America to Spain.
The colonial influence is strongest in the 'Casco Viejo', known as the 'second Panama City', and containing 17th century churches and convents and handsome 18th and 19th century buildings. Modern-day Panama City is set around the bay, and has a prosperous business district, lively nightlife, a fantastic restaurant scene and the only rainforest within city limits in the world: the Metropolitan Natural Park. Panama was also recently put on the Hollywood map thanks to the filming of the Quantum of Solace Bond film in and around the city.