Some people call it "Latin Dubai" because of the 50-plus storey buildings that have sprouted up like mushrooms in recent years. Welcome to Panama, City or Ciudad, your choice... Your discovery of the country will undoubtedly begin with this modern and tropical, lively and cosmopolitan capital. Anarchic traffic, giant advertising billboards, flashy buses, alarms and deafening jackhammers... A disconcerting and tiring capital but which will know you captiver !
The Ciudad, as the Panamanians call it, is surprising. A lively atmosphere and nonchalance are blended happily together. On the viaduct that spans the bay to connect the ruins of the colonial city of vieille to the malls and skyscrapers of Punta Paitilla, gleaming 4x4s with tinted windows race with the ramshackle taxis. In the air, butterflies and hummingbirds dance between the elegant glass towers as in the thick rainforest of the Metropolitan Natural Park or Mount Ancon. As for the pelicans, they prefer to fly over the Cinta Costera, which runs along the bay, to reach the colonial centre on its peninsula.
The Casco Antiguo (or Casco Viejo), is one of the most beautiful historical districts in Central America. This jewel of eclectic architecture was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1997. From its ramparts, the view is remarkable, from the towers of the modern city, to the elegant Bridge of the Americas and the Causeway Islands. In the sea mist, you can see the silhouettes of the liners waiting to enter the nearby canal.
The atmosphere of Santa Ana, the adjoining district is just as enchanting. In the central, pedestrian Avenida Central (la Peatonal), we find a sampling of all the origins, colours and music of the country. This long string of shops, where music is omnipresent, goes down to the 5 de Mayo square where some " diables rouges " still pass by. Get on board one of these old buses "graffitied" with bright colours before they disappear from the urban landscape, it's the best way to learn the names of the main roads of the capital that will soon be familiers : Vía España, Calle 50, Calle 12, Transístmica, Panamá Viejo...