The skyscraper forest and its colonial cradle
The two most striking faces of the city of Panama are found on opposite sides of a bay that both unites and separates a forest of skyscrapers and the capital’s colonial cradle.
The latter, known as the “Casco Viejo” and declared World Cultural Heritage in 1997, becomes the epicenter of IFF Panama on every edition. Here, theaters, restaurants, hotels, bars, terraces, plazas and the streets themselves come together and permeate the film atmosphere.
However, the film festivities extend throughout the city, where the most modern buildings are home also to stunning shopping malls, casinos and countless daytime and nighttime spots that conquer tourists with the warmth and joy of the Panamanians.
The Panama Canal
No visit to Panama is complete if it does not include the Panama Canal.
The country’s privileged geographical location was key to the construction of the interoceanic channel, a masterpiece of Engineering that has operated continuously since its inauguration in 1914. In our day, the level crossing of huge vessels still causes great admiration amongst tourists.
At the Miraflores Locks site, the Canal offers a Museum showing the history of its construction and operation, a video room, a miniature model of the Canal and historical pieces of machinery that were used for building it. A restaurant on the roof terrace makes it a complete tour.
The Biodiversity Museum
A stunning, modern and colorful building stands at the entrance of the Panama Canal on the Pacific side to tell the world about how the Isthmus of Panama rose and united two continents at the same time it divided a vast body of water and changed life on the planet forever.
The remarkable structure which opened its doors in October 2014 and was designed by the famed North American architect Frank Ghery contains eight galleries conceived by the Canadian designer Bruce Mau. These show among other things, the birth of this natural bridge, the exchange of species between North and South America, the evolution of the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, and the rich biodiversity of the Panamanian territory.
The Museum’s privileged location at the Amador Causeway offers visitors some of Panama’s most beautiful views: the Casco Viejo (the Old City), the modern city, Ancon Hill and the Las Americas Bridge.
The best of the Caribbean and the best of the Pacific in Panama
On its narrowest part, only 80 kilometers (49 miles) separate the Pacific from the Atlantic in Panama; this is fantastic for those who love the ocean, the beaches and the islands, for divers and surfers alike.
On its Caribbean side, Panama offers more than 1,200 Km (745 miles) of coast, and more than 600 islands with a natural paradise beauty, such as those that form the well-known San Blas and Bocas del Toro archipelagos. Meanwhile, the warm Panamanian Pacific Ocean covers 1,700 Km (1,056 miles) of coast that welcome bashful swimmers and bold surfers alike.
Our “South Sea” also surrounds more than 1,000 islands of unbeatable charm, such as those comprising the Pearls archipelago with its popular Contadora Island, as well as the beautiful and important Coiba Island, also known as the “Galapagos of Panama”.
Panama’s deep green
Between the two oceans and from border to border, Panama is covered by the most generous and pervasive vegetation with a diversity of green hues. It is not all about the ocean. There are rainforests and highlands, such as those in Chiriqui with its Baru volcano, there is Santa Fe in the Veraguas mountainous region and there are El Valle and Campana, closer to the capital city, which also offer beautiful mountain views among many other spots. A cool climate seals the contrast.