Travel guide: Panama City
Party hard and play even harder in this Central America hotspot.
by : Jennifer Weatherhead Harrington- Jan 16th, 2014
Panama City is a little bit Vegas and a little bit Miami. With its soaring modern architectural wonders
of sky scrapers, its endless options for nightlife on every level, and history that could take a week to wade through, it is no wonder Panama City is ranking higher and higher on the hot travel lists.
Here’s how to play hard and recoup the next day, to get the most out of this lively city.
When staying at the
Hard Rock Hotel Panama Megapolis, it would be difficult to not have a good time. Book at private booth and bottle service at the aptly named
Bling, the hotel’s and the city’s prime nightclub (don’t be surprised to see celebs like Usher and Justin Bieber in the private booths, too). Sip on Veuve, dance like you’ve never danced before to Rihanna and swing your hips to Latin music before calling it an early night around 3am.
The only cure for tired, dance hard feet has to be a trip to the spa. Soak your toes and body in an all-organic algae bath at the
Rock Spa in the hotel. The algae will help pull out all those unwanted toxins, and provide much-needed rejuvenation.
The bar at Bling.
Hit up Panama City’s old town (Casco Viejo) for some Latin music at
Tantalo’s rooftop bar. You’ll not only get impressive views of the modern half of the city, but you’ll also get to party with locals and taste some of the best cocktails in the city. Frosty mojitos are amazing here, so order up (a couple of glasses of champagne also don’t hurt).
Ease your grogginess (and let’s face it, your hangover) by getting in touch with Panama’s other great attribute — Mother Nature. A 3-hour long journey (that you can sleep off last night during) gets you to the rim of Anton Valley — a volcano that is no longer active, but home to a small village, and loads of outdoor activities. Zip line and feel those toxins breeze right out of you, horse ride through the ragged hills for an absolute chill approach, or up the adventure factor by hopping on an ATV and motoring your way up to some of the highest peaks and points for breathtaking views.
More ways to explore Panama City on the next page …
The view from Bits.
One of Panama’s best rooftop bars,
Bits, is packed nearly every night with locals, tourists and celebs rocking out to the songs put on in the massive DJ booth. Not to be missed: The mojitos (notice a trend here?) are strong and super minty.
After a night of listening to a DJ mix the biggest hits, indulge in your own inner music god by ordering off of the
Hard Rock‘s guitar menu (they will outfit your room with your guitar choice and all the gear that comes with it), or request a DJ kit (so you can learn to spin just like Alexa Chung). To perk up your energy a juice with fresh fruits and veggies from the hotel’s
Juice Bar will keep you focused.
At night bar-hopping along one of Panama’s best-known streets,
Calle Uruguay, will get you in touch with all the locals. Bars are constantly changing, but any of them will offer up loads of dance music, Latin music and chic cocktails.
Roll your tired body out if bed early, because you’ll be burning off those cocktail calories from the night before with a jungle hike through Panama City’s closet national park,
Soberania, just 25km outside the city centre. Hike (with your Panama hat on, of course) through the trails (pick from 1-hour long hikes to 3-hour long hike all the way up to 8-hour long hikes) and pick out some of Panama’s famous creatures – colourful Panamanian birds, white-faced monkeys and you might even spot a sloth or two in the 55,000-acre park.
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