Take a Walk 342 Years into Panama's History
The Old Town of Panama City, declared a Historical Monument by UNESCO, is not just about history; it is also a place to sample different foods and drinks in open-air cafés and a site where the restaurants and bars fill the air with music and entertain with varied shows.
Strolling along the centuries-old cobblestone streets of Central Avenue, you may encounter a gigantic “red devil”, a popular cultural figure guarding the entrance to Diablicos and advertising their traditional Panamanian food. Along with a delicious meal, you can enjoy live Panamanian folkloric shows that are different every evening. Heading towards Plaza Bolivar, five restaurants have set up their tables under umbrellas right on the square and in a very bohemian setting. Musicians play their melodies for diners at the plaza and sweeten the air with their tunes.
Other Places of Interest
Souvenirs like the famous Panama hat can be picked up at Victor’s, open until 10 at night. On your way to Plaza de Francia, there are several other souvenir shops, including La Ronda and El Faro, with a good selection of typical Panamanian handicrafts. Continue on towards the romantic Esteban Huertas walkway at French Square bordering the sea, with a spectacular view of Cerro Ancón, the Bridge of the Americas, the Biomuseum, the Amador Causeway, the Bay of Panama, and the modern city. Back at the square, visit Las Bóvedas restaurant for a variety of exquisite French cuisine, or to sip a drink at their bar, all with the added touch of jazz music.
On Avenue A, you can find restaurants for all tastes. Italian cooking is delicious at Caffe Per Due, where pizza is their specialty. If your passion is wine, right on the intersection of Avenue A with 4th Street is the wine bar Divino, an establishment dedicated to the preferred drink of the wine god Bacchus. Their collection of bottles comes from the major wine-producing countries of the world and they also recommend food pairings when tasting the different varieties of this exquisite beverage.
Also located on this avenue is a boutique called Reprosa that sells replicas of Indian jewelry. At the broad Herrera Plaza, on weekend evenings you can listen to contemporary music and sample a range of international appetizers at Puerta de Tierra, accompanied by a glass of wine for the finishing touch on your tour of Old Town. In Panama City’s Old Town, the ancient and modern coexist in harmony, making for a pleasant and memorable visit.
Step into the past and learn about the previous locations and inhabitants of Panama City in the Panama Viejo Visitor Center. You will find exhibitions of excavated pottery and gold pieces, as well as the remains of the burial ceremonies of the indigenous peoples who occupied these lands before the conquistadors came. Maps of the routes taken by the conquistadors, including the discoverer of the South Sea, Vasco Núñez de Balboa, depict the historical journeys that made Panama what it is today. There is also a scale model of what is now known as Old Panama, so you can imagine what Panama City might have looked like before it was attacked by pirate Henry Morgan.
You will be able to observe the miracle of nature that brought the Isthmus of Panama out from the ocean depths and united North with South America, prompting a massive species migration, at the Museum of Biodiversity or Biomuseum. Designed by the famous architect Frank Gehry, one of the seven museum halls, called “The Great Interchange”, explains precisely how mammals crossed the land bridge of modern Panama three million years ago.
The Biomuseo unites, in a unique way, science, art and design to tell the story of how Panama changed the natural world as we know it.
Highlighting our natural and cultural history and emphasizing the role of humans in the XXI century, the visit to the Biomuseo will enrich your trip to Panama and is a must for everyone who visits our country.
What is biodiversity? Why should we care? What is happening to it today? The first gallery is an introduction to Panama’s amazing natural heritage. The gallery gives the visitors a sense of the magnitude of Earth’s biodiversity, which is still being discovered.
We are surrounded by an endless number of living beings and communities. A three-level projection space with 10 screens envelops the visitor in a display of sight and sound featuring Panama’s natural wonders.
Panama emerged from the sea 3 million years ago. Earth’s inner forces that formed the Isthmus of Panama take the form of three 14-meter-high rock formations, allowing for a tangible encounter with the geological world.
When the Isthmus closed an extraordinary exchange of species occurred between North and South America. A stampede of animal sculptures of all eras, shapes, and sizes tell the story of this unique and ongoing natural event.
In a space partially open to the outdoors, 16 columns provide information about the relations between human activity and the natural scenarios of Panama throughout time.
A living exhibit that broadens the content presented in the museum’s galleries, it complements them with a larger exhibit with plants from North and South America, an ethnobotanical station and an interdependent forest with flowers that attract pollinators like butterflies and hummingbirds. The use of the park is free.
Added to the Permanent Exhibition, the visitor can enjoy temporary exhibits. From fossils found during the expansion of the Panama Canal to Frank Gehry’s work in our country and around the world, these are examples of the exhibits that have been shown.
Services The Biomuseo Offers
Visit our coffee shop, El Café, managed by Kotowa, it has one of the best views to the entrance of the Panama Canal. There is also a gift shop, La Tienda, where you can find souvenirs of your visit. Our audio guides offer 5 languages: English, Spanish, French, Portuguese and Mandarin.