Country #75: Panama

After leaving Dan at the airport in Honduras, I set off for my solo venture to Panama. I didn’t have any huge plans for the week. I wanted to make sure I saw the Panama Canal while also improving my Spanish skills. I enrolled in an in-person, local Spanish school in Panama City. Unfortunately, I ended up being a bit under the weather with a cough and other cold/flu symptoms this past week. Here are my Panama highlights that don’t include resting in bed. 

Activities 

  • Staying in my Selina in the Casco Antiguo (Old Town)
  • Taking Spanish lessons at EPA (Español En Panamá) with two classmates named David and Jan from Germany (both in-person and remotely after falling ill)
  • Seeing the Panama Canal at 
  • Doing a free walking tour around the Old Town
  • Visiting the Museo de la Mola

Food 

  • Madre Pizza
  • Mahalo Cocino y Jardin
  • Mahalo Snack Shack 

Was the Panama Canal Worth It?

The Panama Canal was at the top of my list of things to do in Panama City. In fifth grade, I did a project on Panama, and while I can’t say I remembered a lot of the history, it was enough to pique my interest. I went to visit the Miraflores Locks location. This is one of three places that visitors can go to see the canal system, and it was the easiest to access from Panama City.

If you decide to go here, it’s not necessary to go to the other two locks. You’ll see the same thing at all three. There’s a museum that you can walk through and read as you head up to the viewing platform at Miraflores. I decided to go right when it opened because I read that it could get crowded. Over time, it absolutely did fill up. Most people race to get an optimal spot along the railing. 

The issue is that there is absolutely no action unless there is a ship moving through the locks. Even when a ship is in there, I found the whole process rather dull because the change is gradual. It’s like watching grass grow. So, I wouldn’t go in with any super high expectations. It’s an engineering marvel. It’s cool to see. It’s great to say you’ve been. But all things said and done, it’s not magical or life-changing (in my opinion). 

Also, one big note on time…don’t go between 10 AM and 2 PM. Ships don’t enter the canal at this time. So, if you want to see a ship pass through (a must in my opinion), then you’ll be disappointed. 

You can learn more about visiting the Panama Canal here

Final Thoughts

I’m looking forward to returning to Panama in the future with Dan and hitting up some spots outside Panama City. I have my sights set on Bocas del Toro. While Country #75 wasn’t quite what I envisioned, I’m looking forward to Country #76: Colombia

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