Four Hours in Panama City


My best friend Amy, my once traveling partner many years ago (come travel with me again, Big A!), likes to say When life gives you eggs, make eggnog. Some say Amy is a true genius…a wealth of knowledge if you will. Who are those people you ask? Don’t worry about it–that’s not important. What is important is that think she’s brilliant and try my best to live by this motto, especially when it comes to travel. Traveling can be rejuvenating. Travel can be luxurious. Travel can be life-changing. But travel can also be a huge pain in the ass. It can be stressful and downright exhausting. And there are times that no matter how well-planned and well-traveled you are, one sole event that is completely out of your control can completely disrupt and unravel even the best of itineraries.  This is where Amy’s little nugget of wisdom comes into play. That and the fact that I really like eggnog.

After a relaxing and exciting (we bought a condo! In the Dominican Republic!) week in Punta Cana, we woke up at an ungodly hour to catch our early morning flight home. Our flight was initially delayed forty minutes…no big deal, right? Well our forty minute delay quickly turned into ninety, which quickly turned into two hours, which ultimately turned into four hours. You’ve heard this kind of story all before…undoubtedly you’ve experienced this kind of situation (and much worse) during your own travels.  Well this unexpected delay ultimately caused us to miss our connection in Panama City and to say that we were annoyed would be a huge understatement. We were issued a new flight out of Panama City and now had an extensive layover in Panama’s capital city. Well start cracking those eggs and pour in that rum because we’re about to whip up a delicious batch of eggnog.


Amy and I in Singapore in 2002.


So much to love about the Dominican Republic. Our now home-away-from-home!


After storing our luggage, we immediately hopped in a cab and explained to our driver that we had about four hours in Panama City and wanted to know where we should go to get the most bang for our buck. He immediately suggested Casco Viejo, the historic city of Panama City, and without question this man knew what he was talking about.







As soon as we stepped out of our cab, I was in love. Designated as a World Heritage site by Unesco in 1997, the old town of Casco Viejo is oozing of charm, history and impressive architecture. The walkable historic district is filled with cobble-stoned and tree-lined streets, gourmet restaurants, lively cafes, and boutique hotels. We loved stumbling upon its quaint fountain-filled plazas and grand cathedrals as well as vibrant and colorful markets. The compact and Colonial-era Old Town is the perfect setting to enjoy an afternoon of leisure.





One of the highlights was strolling along Casco’s seawall on the Esteban Huertas Promenade. Here locals, tourists, and street vendors merge and mingle. The view from the promenade is fascinating: such a stark contrast between the modern skyscrapers across the bay in downtown Panama City and Casco’s historic district…the dissimilarity between the two reminds me a lot of the old and new cities of Cartagena.





Funny how initially we were so annoyed to be “stuck” in Panama City, and then it turns out we didn’t want to leave! Yes, travel can certainly leave you with cracked eggs at times: drippy, slimy, not-so-appetizing runny eggs. But this brief and surprising excursion to Panama City? Well this glorious jaunt was nothing short of a brimming cup full of luscious, rich, velvety eggnog.  And like so many other times in my adult life, one cup of eggnog is simply not enough. I’m still thirsty…but I don’t want just more eggnog, I want the whole freaking bar! I cannot wait to return to Panama (hopefully) soon to explore more of this vivid and lively country.  Cheers to life’s pleasant surprises and unexpected joys…may all of our trips be filled with deliciously satisfying eggnog that leave us satiated and intoxicated.


Planning Your Visit to Panama’s Old City:



To read more about some of our favorite Central America travels: Belize, Honduras, Nicaragua







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