Hostel in Panama City's Casci Viejo area. Probably one of the most friendly hostels I have been to. Great communal areas with hammocks to relax, lots of places to use the internet but good WI-FI also. Amazing views over the old town and the business district from the balconies, great for relaxing and having a beer while watching sunset. Also happens to be a great bar downstairs which is popular with travellers, good happy hour for those staying at Luna's Castle making it really cheap. Overall great place to mingle, find out about other people's adventures in Central America and plan your next places to visit.
Beautiful restaurant run by a European chef with an extensive wine list. Have not been able to beat it for ambiance, service, food or price.
Best tip for taxis is just wave one down on the street and pretend you know what you are doing. The rates are set according to a zona mapa and there are no metres. Pay $2 for a small trip or $3 for say El Cangrejo to Albrook Mall. Avoid the hustlers / taxis outside of hotels, they will want up to four times as much. Best decent hotel is the Milan currently at $57 cash, El Cangrejo
Located in El Cangrejo near the Veneto hotel.
Av 2A Norte
Google map: tinyurl.com/35xbneu
For anybody on a backpacking budget, then this place is ideal. Located in the old town, Casco Viejo, the rooms at the front of the hostel have surely, the best views of the city. I found myself just staring at the skyline for half of the day. The actual hostel itself is very accomodating, social and clean.
Casco Viejo has a bad reputation. However, there is a big police presence and everybody I met was charming and wanted to talk.
Also, if he's still there, the guy in the cathedral square sells the best value for money hot dogs-35cents with all the trimmings! Just beautiful!
Getting around Panama City can be tricky at certain times of the day. There are several bus routes that essentially go along the city but the queues for these can be enormous during the rush hour (as many as 100 people). In addition, the buses tend to go to places you don't really want to visit.
The only other alternative is to travel by taxi and while these are numerous during busy periods taxi drivers are picky over where they take you: I have frequently spent between 20 minutes to more than an hour trying to flag one from Ancon to the El Cangrejo area. They also overcharge, especially if your grasp of Spanish is weak, and will not issue receipts so I suggest (a) agree a fare before you get in, and (b) if you need receipts, buy a receipt book from Office Depot or the Rey supermarkets. Taxis hovering outside big hotels will charge at least two to three times the 'normal rate' but they will provide receipts (usually). In summary, just be patient!
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