Panama City is hot and humid, well that´s the first obvious thing we noticed while getting off the plane.
It took our hapless taxi driver about 75 minutes to find our hostal, they have an Idiot proof road numbering system here which some of the taxi drivers can easliy prove that no system is fool proof.. We tried getting a bus from the Airport but evryone was jammed packed so we couldn´t get on..
Our Hostal is on the very edge of the Centre, about 20minutes walk to the smarter areas of town, it is nice and quiet though and we do have air con all for 30 bucks.
Our first full morning in Pananma City and we decide to Visit the Santa Ana area of town. This is the old historic part ( a lot of it is run down but you can see a lot of renovation work in progress. There are several nice Churches and Cathedrals on Santa Ana
The Inglesia De La Merced and the Inglesia Catedral about the best.
Inglesia De La Merced and the Inglesia Catedral
Some of the restored buildings are really impressive.
Santa Ana Buildings.
As you can imagine there is no shortage of hat sellers in Panama City !
The downtown area of Panama City is about as modern as you can get with one or two really interesting designs.
Downtown Panama city architecture.
Our next trip into the City was to see the Panama Canal and hopefully see a few big boats passing through.
We shared a taxi with a couple of girls from our Hostel, Cho from South Korea and her friend from Russia Olga ! The crazy chaotic queue at the Miraflores lock was almost enough to make us turn back. We viewed a few large boats ( ships ) as they came up through the locks and one really odd looking space ship shaped affair which we later found out was part of the Sea Shepherd eco based charity that patrols and compiles evidence against ocean going bad boys and polluters.
Big boats go through the locks.
A small army of locomotive tugs help guide the bigger boats through the locks.
Star Wars meets boat designs..
After a morning at the locks and some time at the Panama Canal Museum we headed to the Albrook bus station to book our bus to David, as we were warned that the buses will fill up really quickly around Easter.. yes you have guessed it... the bus company will only let you book your seat 1 hour in advance.. Duh !
From the bus terminal we headed to Amador and the mile long causeway leading to the three islands of , Isla Noas, Isla Perico and Isla Flamenco. As we walked along the causeway we could see a pretty impressive storm brewing up over Panama City.
Storm over the city.
Isla Noas and Isla Perico.
Dotted all along the causeway are palm trees, a few had an weird yellow sap which had hardened on the trunks making them look like they had been made out of plastic.
Palm tree trunk.
On the way back to the hostel we stopped off at the 99 supermarket to stock up on a few beers.
Next day we took the local bus to Albrook and walked to the Parque Nacional Metropolitano ( about 25 min walk ) we paid our visitors fee of $2 each and set off to cover the three main hiking trails, the time allowed should have been about 3 hours, we did them all and the return to the visitors centre in about 1 hour 45 min, including photo stops and a short rest at the Mirador, I think they were allowing for really slow walkers. We were hoping to see a bit of wildlife, supposedly Sloths and other mammals are quite common in the park. The only Mammals we saw were a noisy French family.
We saw loads of leaf cutter ants and a few Terrapin and a nice looking Lizzard and a few birds which we failed to recognise.
There were loads of what looked like Oyster Mushrooms growing all over the place, not sure if they were but they did look very much like them. A little more courage and we could have had a nice free lunch.
The views over Panama from the Mirador were good though.
The parque was mostly trees and jungle which was fine, even though we saw next to nothing in the way of wildlife, being so close to Panama City this isn´t really to much of a surprise.
We even managed to catch the correct bus back to the district where our hostal is, so the whole days travel cost us just $1 for both of us !