We started the morning at the epic Mamallena Hostel: looks like we wake up and make breakfast before alot of the younger group! Pancake mix and a press is available, so it’s a simple breakfast with coffee to start. The Hostel cats are in charge while things are quiet. To get to the historic part of town, we took a short walk to Central America’s only subway here in Panama City. Borrowing a rechargable rail pass from the hostel, we charged up the right amounts with some local help on the platform, and off we went to the historic Ciaco Viejo portion of the city.
The waterfront layout is super interesting, and only in the past few decades this has turned into a reconstructed tourist spot. There is a walking tour map avail and you can follow along, getting directions through the district. Signposts indicated this is a 17th century church, then to the grand Cathedral Metropolitana in the Central Plaza, flanked by grand buildings with festive figures. San Francisco church was rebuilt in the 1800’s. Some of the more historic sites had some niches that contained partial decor under the plaster from 1680’s. Alot just need some reconstruction work to start!
Our next stop was to get to the causeway that juts out into the Pacific ocean. We started to walk, but quickly realized some parts of Panama City are not really ment for tourists on foot. Backtracking to the tourist district, we hailed a cab, and took a ride to our next destination increasinly happy with the decision to get a ride as we tour though some tough portions of the city!
Onto the Amador causeway, we found Bicicletas Moses, who rented us a pair of bikes for tour of the journey. It’s quite a long journey (2 kms) as this juts out into the Pacific ocean to shelter the ocean the entrance to the Panama Canal for ocean freighters. We say 6-8 freighters anchored waiting their turn, as they entered the canal one at a time to get though the first of the locks on the Pacific side. Looking the other direction, yachts were harbored in the blue waters, with the Panama city skyline in the background. There is also the colorful Biodiversio Museum along the causeway: and also seems to be a great spot to launch fireworks, as this was Jan-2nd.
Our third and final stop was to get to the hilltop that overlooks the city, as well as the Panama Canal. Getting another taxi to the suburb at the base of Ancon Hill, we started to explore the neighborhood until we found a trailhead. Starting in the wrong direction, we backtracked, and took the steep winding roadway though the jungle to the summit. Along the way, we saw spider monkeys in the treetops, as well as a few toucans darting past. Some of the smaller lizard creatures cooperated for a photo, and near the top, huge termite mounds were everywhere, as well as a super large 8-10 kilo Capybara rodents were present nibbling on the greeneries. The top of the hill remains a partial military zone, with state broadcast antennas, though there are still tourist lookouts to see the Panama City and the Panama Canal. Overall, a great destination!