If you follow me on Instagram, you have seen posts from my busy holiday vacation. I started out driving from Texas to Georgia – making a one night layover in Mississippi – to spend Christmas with my family. Then from Georgia, I flew to Panama with my husband. A vacation that we had been looking forward to, for months. Somewhat of a honey moon for us, since our littles stayed back in Georgia with my family.
We planned a ten day itinerary, although the first and last day were spent traveling. Why Panama?! We chose this destination because it is still home for me, I have family and friends there too. Also, because my husband had visited once before and fallen in love with it. But this trip was a little different since we visited a few new places and ventured further away from the city. Our plans included a visit Aguadulce and Bocas del Toro, but ended up adding Colón and Coronado to the list.
The first three days we stayed in the city. On day one, we took a trip to the Colón Free Trade Zone. Since I had never been, I took this opportunity to check out the shops; knowing that cruise ships traveling through Panama often stop here and tourists find great deals. Although, I wasn’t in search of any particulars the shops did offered some good deals.
On our first night out, my aunt took us for a drive along the Cinta Costera – a new project along the city’s coastline aimed to encourage families to spend more time outdoors. I was happy to have visited and surprised to see how beautifully decorated it was, with all the holiday lights.
The next day, we visited Panamá Viejo, the remains of the old Panama City. I had not visited the site in years, and was pleasantly surprised to see how each ruin was so well maintained. The main tower was now completed with a staircase that lead to one of the most beautiful views of the city.
On our third day we spent the afternoon walking around Casco Viejo. We started at Tántalo where we had lunch and a few drinks. The service and ambience was great, as well as the food. Their rooftop area was a bonus, the view of the city from there was breathtaking.
I had heard so much about the nightlife in Casco Viejo that when my cousin and her husband offered to take us out, I could not decline. So we went back at night to check it out. This area of the city has changed a lot and the nightlife was as upbeat as I had been told. Because we were trying to take advantage of the night, we headed to Crown Casino El Panama. If you’re looking to experience Panama’s nightlife like a local, I would recommend visiting this casino. They had a live band and the party continued after their performance.
On New Years Eve, we decided to spend time in Aguadulce, a small quiet town west of the city in the interior of the country. One of my best friends lives there and my dad has a vacation home that he visits just about every weekend. Going to this small town means being able to spend time with them, so it had to be part of our itinerary. Although our NYE celebration was low key, the company and food were amazing.
Our New Year’s celebration continued on the next day, as we took a trip up the mountains to a river in Olá, Coclé. A tranquil drive up the mountains is what I needed to escape the city’s hustle and bustle. I truly appreciated being able to take some raw shots of the mountain range, a scene that I don’t get too often living in Texas. Plus, these shots will make a beautiful desktop background.
I wished we could have spent more time in Aguadulce, but we had plans to head back to the city in order to get ready for our trip to Bocas del Toro. This was the most awaited part of our trip, simply because we read so many reviews and carefully planned our stay that we could hardly wait.
We spent three days there and I have a lot to share. So stay tuned for my next post Panama: Part II.