Panama City, Panama

We don’t usually mind the cold, but after we had our baby, winters became annoying and unwelcome. It is quite a hassle to dress a baby in layers of clothes, remember to warm up the car so it’s warm when we get in, worry about the child catching a cold or worse…the flu, etc. So, last year we couldn’t WAIT for winter to pass by. Around February we just couldn’t take it anymore and decided to go somewhere warm. It was our 2nd international trip with the baby. We talked to our traveling buddies again (same friends we went to Mexico with), and decided to go to Panama. None of us heard much about Panama, other than it hosts the Panama Canal, which…the ladies didn’t care much for, but the guys seemed very excited about. Also, it seemed like a safe country to travel to (as long as we stay away from the Colombian border).

We booked our trip through a deal found on http://www.latindestinations.com, there was a 3-night stay in Panama City, followed by a 3-night stay at a beach resort. We were excited because we got to explore the city, and relax at the beach…all in one trip!

Panama
Panama

In the city we stayed at hotel Riu Plaza, and we liked it a lot; it was very modern decorated, the staff was super friendly and helpful with all requests we had, and the restaurant had excellent food. Luckily it was situated in the center of the city, so it was easy to get directions to any other place (by foot or car).  Below is a picture of the hotel’s lobby.

hotel Riu, lobby
hotel Riu, lobby

While in the city, we explored the ‘old town’. It was beautiful with its old architecture and history.

Old Town - Panama City
Old Town – Panama City

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We also managed to rent a car and drive out to the city of Colón (and get pulled over for various reasons). There was a big difference between the capital city of Panama, and Colón; the poverty in Colón was quite obvious. And, of course…on the last day in the city, we absolutely HAD to see the canal. The guys were more excited about it than the ladies, but it was still interesting to see how a canal works, even if I am not into engineering that much.

Miraflores locks
Miraflores locks
Cargo ship coming through the canal
Cargo ship coming through the canal

Turns out the canal brings in over $1 billion a year! We got to see a cargo ship go through,  and even though I wasn’t interested initially, it was amazing to see the technology behind it, and how it works!

opening gates
opening gates
Panama Canal
Panama Canal

The 3 days on the beach was a great way to end the trip. We stayed at Sheraton Bijao Beach resort, which had an awesome pool area that my husband and daughter couldn’t get enough of! The rooms were modest, not too spacious, but enough for a family of three. The resort also had a day care, which included slides and plenty of toys for kids, and a VERY friendly nanny.

pool area
pool area
day care
day care

We really enjoyed visiting Panama City and the beach, but it seemed like in the week that we stayed we got to see all of the main tourist parts of it. So, if we ever go back, , instead of staying in the city we would love to do something more adventurous…like visiting the Darien Gap National park and explore its surroundings!

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