Posted by: robinson2000 | January 10, 2011

Panama City & The Canal

6th-8th January – It took most of the day to reach Panama City. We left the Bocas by speedboat about 11am, then caught a bus to David City which took 4 hrs and then immediately boarded a bus to Panama City which took another 7 hrs. We arrived at 2am in a tired and dazed state after a pretty long  journey without much food apart from some greasy pizza slices at the bus station and a KFC (not the healthiest of days). We took a taxi to a popular hostel called Lana´s castle which had everything from a bar, kitchen, table tennis table, WiFi and an all you can eat pancake breakfast. As we checked in we were given a small map of the local area which was the old part of the city and were warned about certain area´s that were no go after dark. She used a yellow highlighter to mark the area´s and by the end of her spiel the whole map seemed to be covered in dangerous yellow highlighter pen! Anyway we were exhausted and didn´t really care at that moment where we may get mugged so headed for the dormitories.

The next day we ventured into the Old City which was quite run down but contained lots of beautiful buildings which had just be deserted and left in ruin. We watched a small football tournament between some local youth teams but failed to spot any world-class talent. We saw the local history museum which contained the first ever Panamanian flag from over 100 years ago. Apart from this there wasn´t much else to do so the rest of the day was spent relaxing back at the hostel.

On our final day in Panama City we caught a local bus out to a town called Gamboa which ran alongside the Panama Canal. Before seeing the huge lock system we spent a couple of hours in a Botanical Zoo terrorising the monkeys and seeing our first Ocelote. We then caught a bus down the road to the main lock system called Miraflores. This observation deck overlooked the main part of the canal so for the next hour we watched huge container ships pass through the locks. As Spice pointed out many times they were sea going boats inland!

Key Canal Facts

– Started by the French 1880 but couldn´t finish it and lost over 22,000 workers.

– Completed by America and opened in 1914.

– Give control back to the Panama Authorities in December 1999.

– Over 300 ships pass through daily.

In the evening we headed into the Old City with an Aussie girl we had spent the day with. Actually the city wasn´t that dangerous as there were heavily armed tourist police at every street corner so if there was a problem you just had to run to the next street corner. Also I think potential bandits were deterred by the police on motorbikes that carried huge shotguns!

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  1. Top pics mate!

  2. So interesting Ben. So many different things your doing. Cool picture of you steering the big boat with one hand, lol 😀

  3. […] part of Panama had a swanky business district and a bus ride away was the lakes and locks of the Panama Canal and a small zoo containing a plethora of animals including my favourite big cat, the ocelot. The […]

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