Results 1-3of 3 Reviews
by Jose Kevo
May 14, 2007
From journal Blue Bayou; the Visionary's Wager
February 6, 2007
From journal Gamboa—'Rain' Forest
February 24, 2002
In hour and a half long stroll along Panama City’s waterfront, I walked from the 21st Century to the 17th. Avenida Balboa, which follows the seawall in a sweeping arc around Panama Bay, gives one a marvelous overview of both the old and new cities.
I started in the Marbella District, a residential neighborhood of sleek high-rises mingling with the pastel-painted, tile-roofed villas typical of the Spanish Caribbean. When you reach the waterfront, the entire downtown skyline will spread out before you. At the far end of the bay, you’ll see a peninsula with low, red-roofed buildings punctuated by church steeples. This is Casco Viejo, the Old City (or ‘Old Colony’); your ultimate destination. It’s about a three-mile walk.
The futuristic, blue-white tower with vast expanses of glass is the Miramar Hotel Intercontinental; worthy of visiting. Its pool deck is big enough to be a city park and its oceanfront restaurant served me the best dinner of my trip. Directly offshore is the Miramar Marina, where the really wealthy park their yachts.
Further along, there’s a pleasant little Spanish-style park, Parque Anayanis, with plenty of benches, shade trees and people to watch and photograph. Linger here awhile; it will be your last patch of shade until you reach the Seafood Market.
This market, el Mercado de Mariscos, marks the end of your oceanfront excursion. It scarcely resembled a ‘market’ the mid-day I was there ... more of a place for fishermen to store their equipment and work on their boats. You could always find a sea bird or two to serve as props in your photos.
Beyond the seafood market and before the Old City is Santa Ana. A chaotic place of narrow streets and the corrugated-tin structures so common to poor Latin American barrios. It also contains what passes for Panama City’s Chinatown and many multi-balconied row apartments, some quaint and attractive, some not.
This is an easy place to get lost in. If you do, walk toward the first open water you see. This will put you on the seawall, where you can get your bearings. (My wanderings took me directly to the Presidential Palace, easy to find on any map.) If you happen on an old streetcar track, follow it. Going north with take you back downtown. Going south will take you into the heart of the old city and eventually to the museums and municipal theater on the waterfront.
This is a long, hot walk but otherwise easy; a few moderately challenging hills and paved sidewalks all the way. It’s by far the best way to acquaint yourself with the multiple personalities of Panama City.
From journal Panama: Much More than a Canal