Admire the magnificent mix of architectural styles from the colonial and independent eras, discovering picturesque plazas and colourful streets before heading to the Miraflores Visitor Centre to learn all about the remarkable feat of engineering that is the Panama Canal.
The Spanish colonists chose the location of the Old Town on a peninsula sheltered by reefs to prevent it suffering the same fate as their first settlement, which was destroyed by pirates. Fortified walls, some of which still stand, added even more protection. Today, this historic enclave of two dozen streets retains much of that colonial old world charm. Crumbling baroque façades share the streetscape with pastel-coloured townhouses with wrought iron balconies. Behold the beautiful churches and convents – some just eerie ruins – of the Old Town, the most majestic of which is the Metropolitan Cathedral. See immaculately renovated official buildings such as the Presidency and Justice Ministry, and stand before historic palaces.
Continue to the Canal Zone to visit the Miraflores Visitor Centre and see the Panama Canal first-hand. There are three observation decks from which to view the ships pass through the canal just a few metres before your eyes. Their sheer size and the speed at which they move at will leave you awestruck. Four exhibition areas relate the history of the canal, telling the stories of those who built it, explaining how it is managed and outlining expansion plans.
English and Spanish (bilingual guide)