A Trip To Panama City Essay Research

A Trip To Panama City Essay, Research Paper

A Trip To Panama City

Day 1:

We arrived at Omar Torrijos airport via American Airlines early in the

afternoon. We purchased our required tourist cards (3 balboas, as US dollars are

called in Panama) at the airport, then caught a taxi for the 18 mile ride to our

downtown hotel. The ride in the battered, un-airconditioned car was rather

expensive (30 balboas), but the driver spoke English and was very friendly. We

arrived at the hotel and checked in. While my dad was checking in I bought a

guidebook in the hotel lobby and read up on the history of Panama City. The

original city was founded in 1519 by Pedro Arias Davila, known as Pedrarias the

Cruel, because of his eradication of all but three of the local Indian tribes

during his tenure in Panama. Davila used the city as a place to store Incan

gold before it was shipped to Spain. The original city was sacked and burned

in 1671 by a group of buccaneers led by Henry Morgan. The city was rebuilt

within a year, this time on a peninsula 18 miles away and surrounded by a

strong wall. This old Spanish city is now the in the middle downtown Panama


Panama City is an international melting pot and its eating choices range

from American fast food to excellent internationall cuisine. Eager to begin our

sightseeing, we grabbed lunch at a nearby McDonald’s after checking in then

caught a bus. The buses in Panama are a tourist attraction in themselves. They

are brightly painted, hung with fringe, and have constantly blaring Salsa and

Caracas music playing. They are cheap (50 cents a ride). but are very crowded.

After asking several drivers ?Donde va este autobus?? we finally found one going

to the Plaza Independencia. This plaza is the main square of the colonial town

and is bordered on one side by a cathedral with twin mother of pearl towers that

took 108 years to complete. On two other sides it is bordered by the

Archbishop’s Palace, now a university and the Central Post Office. While in the

old part of Panama City we also visited the Iglesia de San Jose and saw the

Golden Aaltar. This altar was in the original Panama City and was saved from

Henry Morgan’s pirates by a monk who painted it black to disguise it. When we

finished touring we returned to our hotel and then ate dinner at El Pez de Ora,

one of the city’ famous seafood restaurants.

Day 2:

We woke early and headed out for a morning of shopping at the Mercado

Publico. I bought some jewelry and some small wooden figurines as souvenirs,

but when I asked ?Donde esta los sombreros de Panama??, the vendor told me

Panama hats were made in Ecuador. The hat most commonly worn in Panama is the ?

pita?, a narrow brimmed straw hat with black and white stripes. The most

important phrases to remember when shopping in Panama are ? Cuanto cuesta esta??

and ? Acceptas tarjetas de credita?? After shopping we had Chinese food in one

of the local restaurants.

After eating we went to visit Panama’s most famous attraction, the

Panama Canal. The Canal was completed in 1914, and is considered one of the

greatest engineering feats in the world. We took a shuttle from our hotel to

the canal and then went on a 90 minute train ride all the way across the isthmus

along the canal. The railroad we were traveling on was built in 1855 to

transport ?49ers who were on their way to the California gold rush and was the

first ?trans-continental? rail link. At one of the train stations we got off

and walked to the Miraflores Locks, sat on bleachers, and watched the ships go

through the canal. After our tour of the Panama Canal we returned to our hotel

to get ready for a night of dinner and theater. We ate dinner at an Italian

restaurant then went to the Teatro National for a performance of the Folkloric

Ballet. The Folkloric Ballet features native folk dances and costumes and was

very entertaining.

Day 3:

We rented a car and left Panama City headed southwest along the Pan

American Highway. First we visited the Parque Natural Metropolitana, a zoo on

the outskirts of Panama with monkeys, deer, sloths, and iguanas. We then drove

toward El Valle, about 75 miles away. El Valle is located in the center of a

dormant volcano. There we saw hot springs, botanical gardens (with square trees

which scientists have been unable to explain!), and golden frogs found nowhere

else on earth. We continued down the highway passing through the towns of

Penonome, the geographic center of Panama, and Nata, on of the oldest towns in

Latin America. The Interior of Panama is mostly farmland and grazing land for

cattle. We even saw some cowboys! At night we arrived at Baquette, a village

on the side of the dormant Baru Volcano, where we spent the night.

Day 4:

We began our day by visiting Volcan Baru National Park and taking a

short hike to see the beautiful plants and birds. The volcano is the highest

point in Panama at 3475 meters. After our hike we ate lunch and then drove to

Chiriqui Grande where we dropped off our car. We then caught a ferry to Bocas

del Toro where we visited Bastimentos National Park. The park has pristine white

sand beaches where sea turtles nest. The coral reefs off the coast are home to

more than 200 species of tropical fish. While there we also got to visit caves

containing the largest population of fruit eating bats in the world! Later we

went snorkeling of the coast of Almirante Island where we spent the night.


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