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Panama City

January 27, 2012

We bused it from Santa Catalina to Panama City a couple of days before our flight to Ecuador on Jan. 18, and the intense heat and humidity, buildings and traffic were a big change for us. Panama s a sprawling city that does pretty well because of all the trade done through the canal.

We stayed in an area called the Casco Viejo, which is full of old, colonial style buildings that are completely falling apart. The area is undergoing renovation, with a lot of building restoration and nice hotels and restaurants moving in. There are still a lot of tenements in the neighborhood, though, so the very poor and the very rich (locals as well as tourists) are living cheek by jowl.  It reminded us of the Lower East Side in NYC, but with older buildings and more atmosphere.

Our ice cream radar sought out artisanal gelato near our hostel. We went to Granclement both days we were in Panama City. They have an impressive collection of antique ice cream scoops (and the ice cream was delicious!).

To escape the heat, we hopped a cab to the Parque Natural Metropolitano, a 230-hectare stretch of protected forest in the city.

The trees gave some wonderful shade, we got some exercise hiking 6 km, and we saw some really cool animals.

Squirrel monkeys


We’ve realized our favorite things to do when travelling – besides surfing – are visiting local restaurants, food markets, eating locally made artisanal ice cream, and going to botanical gardens or protected parklands.

We caught our plane to Quito on Jan. 18. And what have we been doing here since then? So many things that it will have to fill up a whole other post. Back with another post soon!

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