Panama City is one of the most attractive tourist sites of the world with an exquisite blend of old Spain, modern America and the bazaar atmosphere of the East. However, experiencing the delights of Panama City can be quite expensive. To ease your mind and minimize the toll on your wallet, we have the ultimate guide to things you can do in Panama City FOR FREE! The only expense you will incur for these attractions is probably the cost of transportation, 25¢ each way by Metro bus or free on foot. Amazingly enough, all these activities can fit perfectly within a day’s time but can also be stretched.
So, what is there to do in Panama City for free to enjoy your stay and still save some money for beers on the beach? Let’s have a look at the 15 best free things to do in Panama City beach we’ve brought together for you!
The majestic Cinta Costera is quite possibly the most gorgeous seaside walk in Panama City and it won’t cost you a dime to revel in its beauty. Sitting on a park bench overlooking the sunset over the ocean is nothing short of heavenly. You can enjoy a local game of soccer or volleyball while passing through this long strip between the main road and ocean. It is really easy to get lost in the majesty of this seaside walk and forget that you are in the middle of a busy metropolis. If you feel like spending a bit of money, you can even grab a scrumptious bite on the balconies overlooking the ocean in the ever- trendy, upscale Avenida Balboa.
Casco Viejo which is also known as Casco Antiguo or San Felipe is the heart of Panama city with its colonial era landmarks including the twin-towered Metropolitan Cathedral and the waterfront Palacio de las Garzas presidential home. It offers a wonderful chance to get lost in the magic of its streets and discover a beautiful part of Panama City. It is highly popular for its lively dining and night time scene. Casco sheds its languid island vibe as soon as dusk falls. The alleys come to life with open-air restaurants, live music and trendy bars and cafes. A rooftop bar is the best place to watch the neighborhood spring into action. The local shops sell traditional handicrafts that you can buy as souvenirs as well.
Parque Omar is a highly treasured site not only for the locals but also the expats and travellers. There are many free activities that anyone can partake in throughout this large, lush park which is often compared to the central park of the New York City. The mesmerising scenery of the park will surely win your heart with its serenity and grace. Parque Omar is a large green space in the middle of the city with a huge variety of activities going on. There is a fruit and vegetable market, an amphitheatre, library, workout equipment, swimming pool, children’s play spaces, areas for various sports, roller rink, and scheduled events. The park is a great space to escape from the hustle and bustle of the busy city for a little while.
The giant Panama sign written in vibrant colors is found along the Cinta Costera of Panama city. In recent years, this new landmark has gained massive popularity worldwide especially on Instagram. There are other signs in Latin America that are quite popular but this one is special due to its attractive backdrop which makes photos look cute and lively. If you visit here while the sun is out, your picture will be bright, colorful and something you can use to reminisce in the memories of your adventure. There is another Panama sign at the end of the Amador Causeway but this one most definitely makes for a better photo.
Amidst the many featured spectacles of Panama City, Panama Viejo is often forgotten. But this place is rich with history, architecture and graceful other-worldly aura. It was the first European settlement on the Pacific side of America. The area was founded back in 1519 and quickly became a popular point to export gold and silver from Peru back to Spain and throughout Europe. As a result, Panama Viejo grew to a population of 10,000 by the end of 1670.Unfortunately, it was burnt to the ground by pirate Henry Morgan on the following year. The city was resettled in 1673 to what is present day Casco Viejo. Due to its historical significance, Panama Viejo was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997. The marvelous ruins of Panama Viejo are free to explore and this is a travelling opportunity that you must cease.
The mercado de mariscos, or seafood market, is an exquisite place situated between Casco Viejo and the Cinta Costera. It’s an intriguing place to observe the local fishermen haul in whatever they have caught, exhibit it in front of the crowd and then sell it in the nearby stalls. The size as well as the quantity of some of these seafood is very impressive. The market represents cultural ingenuity and authentic marketplace experience. Fresh fillets of fish flashing in the glorious sunlight, a local butcher skillfully deboning fish for a chef and waiters waving around the menu of their restaurant- all these make a lively marketplace! The best time for exploring is around lunchtime when the fishermen are back ashore and preparing fish for selling at the market. The interesting sights and smells of the market will surely leave you satisfied.
At the edge of the Panama Canal is the Amador Causeway, a wonderful site for walking and biking without any cost. The Amador Causeway was constructed with the scrap materials from excavating the canal. The design and creation of Amador causeway is truly impressive and connects a series of four islands to the mainland. A magnificent view of the Bridge of the Americas and ships entering and exiting the canal can be seen near the beginning of the causeway. You can choose to walk or rent bikes to travel up and down the causeway. The causeway has many small cafés and Panamanian boutiques. You can visit one of the restaurants or just sit on a bench and enjoy the splendid view.
A unique feature of the Panamanian culture is the craftsmanship of the local artisans. You can witness the creativity of local artisan goods by wandering around the stalls of the native artisan market. Now, I’m sure you’re thinking “How can a market be one of the free things to do in Panama City?” Well, it can be because even without purchasing a good, markets are great places to look at the various handicrafts, interact with the local people and learn about the culture. You will find stalls set up around the Plaza de la Independencia and by the Instituto Nacional de Cultura in Casco Viejo. There is also an artisan market near Panama Viejo, the ancient ruins of the original Panama City and near Cinco de Mayo metro station. Do not miss out from checking out the molas, an indigenous type of colourful embroidery which will surely mesmerize you.
Parque Andres Bello has been described by many as a sweet escape amidst the hectic rush of the city center. This lovely, lush piece of heaven in El Cangrejo is completely free for you to wander around and revel in its beauty. This park has everything that could make your day or leisure enjoyable- a fitness area for those who want to carry out some physical exercises, a designated area for small children to play and have fun, and even an area for pet dogs to go leash-free and play fetch without worry.
A highly beloved meditation center named El Arte de Vivir (“The Art of Living” in English) is situated at the heart of the trendy and attractive San Francisco area of Panam City. This serene safe haven offers a monthly free meditation evening to pay respect to the energy of the glorious full moon. The entire process and experience is beautiful and extraordinary for anyone taking part in the event. From expert yogis to those who have never tried to meditate ever before – everyone can attend free of cost and be part of this pleasantly fascinating experience.
Another event organized in honor of the full moon that is absolutely free of cost is the monthly Full Moon Drum Circle that takes place in various parts of Panama. The location of the drum circle changes every month but what remains constant is the bliss and cheerfulness of the event. This celebration brings together people of all ages, uniting them as a community with their shared love for music under the magnificent full moon shining bright in the sky.
If you are fortunate enough to be in Panama during the Prisma annual dance show, do not miss it! This festival is undoubtedly an extraordinary expression of art in the form of dance sure to capture your heart. Free shows are organized around the city in various, popular locations such as the Albrook Bus Terminal or the Cinta Costera. During this festival, highly skilled and incredibly talented dancers put on a totally free show that wins the heart of every spectator.
An extremely thrilling and very enjoyable activity in any city is to hike up to a high place with a great view of the city skyline. The Cerro Ancon situated between Amador Causeway and Albrook Terminal in the southwest part of Panama is the perfect hiking spot if you want to take pleasure in the city’s beautiful skyline. It’s absolutely free to walk up to the top of Cerro Ancon though you can choose to take a taxi if you have money to spare. This highest point in the city provides an excellent 360-degree view of Panama City, especially in the morning when the weather is a bit cooler and wildlife is more active. Cerro Ancon’s view will leave you refreshed and thoroughly delighted.
The JW Marriott Panama (formerly known as the Trump International Hotel & Tower Panama) is the tallest building of Panama. On the 66th floor of this magnificent structure is a bar and pool area with incredible views over the bay. While visiting you will not have your usual concern of trying to fit in with the locals and walk in like a guest. The view is breathtaking and the refreshing breeze will leave a pleasant feeling in your body. However, if you plan on staying there for a while, it will not be free because you will have to purchase a drink. Otherwise, surely no one will notice if you don’t purchase anything and simply enjoy the scenic beauty for a short while.
Finally, the one free thing that never loses its charm is an old-fashioned beach day. It will not cost you anything to lay out your towel on the beach and relax in the therapeutic sound of the crashing waves while the bright sun washes over you. Coronado Beach is not too far from Panama City and it is almost never busy because it’s often neglected for more trendy locations like Taboga Island. Enjoy the pleasant feeling of a seemingly private Oceanside paradise with your feet in the sand and without a dent on your wallet.
Someone once said, good things don’t usually come free or cheap. Well, having a tour planned in Panama City beach is one of the unusual experiences you’ll have. Not only you’ll enjoy your time here, but also you won’t have to break the bank for a time of your lifetime.