If you remember correctly, back in 2018 Panama made their first appearance in the World Cup in Russia. They scored their first goal in the tournament too, and apart from being one of the best places for retirement, the country also has many things to see apart from the Panama Canal.
Thanks to Jose of The Culture Portrait, we’re gonna talk about some budget-friendly things to do in the capital of Panama: Panama City.
So, what could you get in Panama City for $10?
7 Best Things to Do in Panama City
Located on the coast of the Pacific Ocean, with year-round warm weather and lush green rainforests, is Panama City, capital of the country of Panama. This interesting, S-shaped country in Central America borders two different oceans, offers both Caribbean and Pacific Ocean beaches, delicious coffee, and is located in one of the most biodiverse places on the planet.
Several of the best things to do in Panama City are both considerably cheap and fun, and are a great addition to any Panama City itinerary. From cheap, modern, public transportation rides, amazing city skyline views, a stroll through centuries-old beautiful Spanish colonial architecture, some of the freshest seafood in the world, to refreshing unique Panamanian frozen treats, you can enjoy great things Panama City has to offer for less than $10.
Even though prices have risen in Panama over the years, some things have stayed cheap. These things also happen to be quintessential local things to enjoy, so you’ll also be experiencing Panamanian culture in conjunction. So, whenever you visit this city make sure not to miss all of the following attractions, which you can do either for free or for a considerably low amount. In addition, Panama’s currency is the US dollar.
Did you know?
Panama is the only place in the world where you can enjoy the sunrise in the Pacific Ocean, and sunset on the Atlantic Ocean.
1. Walk through the Cinta Costera – FREE
The Cinta Costera (Or Coastal Beltway or Coastline) is a waterfront man-made boulevard that was built on the sea, mainly for facilitating car transit in the waterfront area of the city. It’s a great place to walk and witness amazing views of the modern Panama City buildings, enjoy the sea breeze and bike.
You’ll want to make sure to end your self-guided tour of the Cinta Costera by finishing with a stroll through the Cinta Costera 3, which is the latest structure built on the Panama City waterfront. It literally consists of a roadway bridge and a pedestrian bridge combined.
The Cinta Costera 3 is 2.5 km long and encircles the beautiful Casco Viejo historic landmark and UNESCO World Heritage Site. It offers amazing views of the Casco Viejo skyline, and it’s a unique spot for an unforgettable selfie. When you go to the Cinta Costera, it is best that you go in the morning or the evening and avoid going at noon, as the strong sunlight and heat at noon can be quite a bit for some.
2. Have a Raspao at Cinta Costera – $1.00
The “raspao” is a unique, typical Panamanian frozen treat, which is consumed all over the country. It consists of ground ice, fruit flavorings, and condensed milk on top. It’s commonly sold by vendors on the street in public places, such as the Cinta Costera.
It’s cheap, represents Panamanian culture, and can be very refreshing on the frequent hot Panama days. To get a raspao head over to Cinta Costera from 4-6 pm, as this it the time when the street vendors will usually be there to sell the raspaos.
3. Stroll through Casco Viejo – FREE
Casco Viejo, also called Casco Antiguo, is Panama’s Old Town and the most touristic spot in Panama City. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site which contains beautiful Spanish colonial architecture and museums worth visiting.
No foreigner can visit Panama and not go to Casco, as it is one of the quintessential things to do while being in Panama City. It was built by the Spanish crown once the former location of the city (called Panama Viejo) was sacked by the English pirate Henry Morgan in the 16th century.
Checking out Casco Viejo and walking through its streets is completely free.
4. Bike On The Amador Causeway – $3.50
The Amador Causeway is another beautiful place to visit in Panama, one that is unique. It’s literally a road built in the middle of the sea, which was built with the rocks that were extracted from the construction of the Panama Canal.
One of the preferred activities both by locals and by tourists is to bike through the whole causeway, which is very nice as you can feel the sea breeze on your forehead and have pretty ocean views on both sides.
5. Have a Mouth-Watering Ceviche at Mercado del marisco – $2.50
The Mercado del Marisco is THE place to get some of the freshest seafood you’ll ever eat. In there, you’ll find some of the most delicious ceviches ever, which also happen to be cheap.
In case you don’t know what ceviche is, it’s a dish made from fresh, raw seafood cured in citric juices. It’s a must-try dish that you can find only in some countries of Latin America (Perú’s ceviche is a famous one), and which comes in several options.
I recommend the quintessential ceviche de corvina, and also the ceviche de conchuela. Don’t worry about the “raw” part, as it’s perfectly safe (and delicious) to consume.
6. Hike the Cerro Ancón – FREE
The Cerro Ancón is the biggest hill in Panama City, located in the Ancón neighborhood. You can see it from most locations in the city due to the big Panamanian flag that is on top of it.
Hiking to the top of this hill is a great and free activity to do in the city, as it offers amazing views of the city and the opportunity to spot toucans, deer, and ñeques (Central American agouti) while hiking.
7. Have a Popsicle at La Michoacana – $2.75
La Michoacana is a popular ice cream and popsicle shop in the city, which the locals rave about. Their signature popsicles consist of slices of fruit that are visible on the popsicle, in a way that is quite visually pleasing.
You’ll find their shops scattered through the city. Being a place that is frequented by Panamanians, you can authentically feel like a local by eating these popsicles.
Contributor: Jose of The Culture Portrait
Jose is a travel blogger based in Panama City. He holds a B.A. from the University of Louisville and his biggest passion in life is loving Jesus above everything else.