Panama Long Weekend

Countries
Best time to visit
January, February, March, April, May, September, October, November, December

Embrace the old and new on a long weekend in Panama City, where you can mix local discovery with Pacific island relaxation. Spend your days mixing cocktails, lounging on beaches, exploring the city and delighting in extraordinary moments.

It’s amazing what you can do with just four days in this captivating destination.

Day 1 - Panama City

Casco Viejo, Panama City

Old Panama City Walking Tour

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Built along the world-famous Panama Canal, Panama City is a hub for global commerce with a long and storied history. Tour the city on foot with an expert local guide.  Sample fresh sugar cane juice while rubbing elbows with locals in a tight downtown market. Walk along the narrow streets of Casco Viejo, past centuries-old buildings. Gaze upon a golden altar amid reverent silence in San Jose Church. See thick walls that were constructed to protect the old city from pirates. Climb the ruined tower among somber ruins: this is all that remains of Panama Viejo, the first European settlement on the Americas’ Pacific Coast.

Front Hotel, American Trade Hotel Panama City

American Trade Hotel Panama City

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Casco Viejo was settled in 1673, two years after Panama Viejo was ravaged by pirates. Now the city’s old quarter, Casco Viejo is a UNESCO World Heritage Site brimming with life. The neighborhood is the home of grand cathedrals, the country’s National Theatre, and the American Trade Hotel. Stay in the heart of Panama’s most distinctive neighborhood. Feel the mingling of culture at the confluence of North and South America, as well as new and old Panama.  Start your day with a cup of Panamanian Geisha, some of the world’s best coffee, at Tiempos coffee shop and, later on, sample fantastic fusion cuisine in The Dining Room, one of Casco Viejo’s best restaurants.

Day 2 - Panama City

Aerial view of the Bridge of the Americas at the Pacific entrance to the Panama Canal with Panama City in the background.

Panama Canal from the Sky

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See the singularly impressive Panama Canal from a private plane.  The sparkling metropolis of Panama City with its proud skyscrapers sits amid sprawling rainforest. It contrasts the old city, crumbling down below. Peer out the window at city landmarks like Panama Viejo, while your guide provides interpretive commentary. Then loop around for a look at one of history’s great engineering feats: the Panama Canal, a complex waterway comprising artificial lakes and locks.  The famous highlight is Miraflores Locks, where ships are raised or lowered sixteen meters, connecting the canal to the Pacific Ocean. But with a private flight you will also discover the lakes, locks and natural waterways that connect the canal.

Panama Canal Cruise, Panama

Transit Part of the Panama Canal

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Board a cruise ship and enter the Panama Canal at the north end of the Gaillard Cut, a staggering valley cut through the Continental Divide. Marvel at this stunning feat of human ingenuity, extending for over a dozen kilometers through landslide-prone terrain.  Experience Pedro Miguel Locks, where the ship will be lowered nine meters to an artificial lake. Later, descend another sixteen meters between the two-step Miraflores Locks. From there, look across the Pacific Ocean and wonder at the degree of effort and planning that went into constructing and maintaining the canal to this day.  You can visit the Panama Canal and see the locks. But it’s far more real when you’re on the water, cruising through the canal.

Day 5 - Departure

Days 3 & 4 - Island Escape

Aerial Shot, Islas Secas, Panama

Stay at Islas Secas

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Sea breeze and the smell of fresh-caught lobster on the grill. The buzz of a hummingbird outside your window. The shadows cast by minimalist, open architecture. These are the small things you notice at Islas Secas. A private archipelago comprising fourteen islands, twenty miles from the closest town, Islas Secas is an archetypal escape to paradise.  Explore the temperate waters. Practice yoga on the beach. Spend slow mornings in your private casita.  This eco-retreat takes sustainability seriously. With literally zero food waste and all power coming from solar panels on this island, Islas Secas gives you even more reasons to feel good about your stay.