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Walk this way – we recently visited Panama City in Central America and spent over a month getting to know the city doing many walks and Panama City hikes.
Due to Panama City’s intense daytime heat (it often hit 33 / 34c by 10am in the morning), we found it is best to do short walks and hikes in Panama early on in the day, starting around 8am to beat the heat.
So don a Panama Hat, slip-slap on the suntan lotion and try one (or all) of our top five picks for easy day hikes / walks in Panama City, all of which are free or just a few dollars, as at 2023:
5 Easy Walks Around Panama City:
Table of Contents
1. Casco Viejo / San Felipe
A UNESCO protected district, the old quarter is a fantastic thing to do in Panama City and the best way to start exploring Panama’s Casco Viejo old town.
Although it is an obvious choice, we’d recommend you spend a whole day here in Casco Viejo. Start with some breakfast (Panama’s Tantalo Restaurant is always good), then soak in the colonial charm and get lost in the shaded side streets of Casco Viejo.
The heart of the old city in Panama City, Casco Viejo is a vibrant wonderland that is great to walk around in the daytime (and then party at night in all the neighbourhood and rooftop bars).
Highlights include the twin-towered Metropolitan Cathedral, the waterfront views looking across to the glimmering skyscrapers that dominate Panama City’s skyline and the gift shops lined around the coastal walkway, near to the newly reopened National Theatre.
At the end of your walk around Casco Viejo /San Felipe, it’d be rude not to visit one of the many bars dotted around, to cool off and take advantage of a rooftop happy hour – there are lots in Casco Viejo!
2. Amador Causeway, Panama City
In our eyes, the jewel of Panama City, Amador Causeway is a man-made road that interlinks and joins two former islands to the mainland.
With beautifully manicured lawns, palm-tree lined avenues and views of both the glimmering city building and outlying islands like Taboga, this is a perfect place for a short hike in Panama City with city views; well worth the walk.
You can always break up your Panama City walk or escape the heat by visiting either the brightly coloured Biomuseo (Museum of Biodiversity) which is $18 admission as at 2023. Or visit the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute .
Also look out for the huge Panama sign towards the far end of the harbour (a very popular thing to in Panama City).
We generally walked along Panama City’s Amador Causeway from the far end for about 45 mins, reaching Biomuseo, then usually grabbing raspados (shaved ice) from one of the street vendors located behind it.
Rounding up this Panama easy hiking walk, we’d cool down in the lush BioMuseo gardens then returning via a hearty (and cheap) breakfast in Mi Ranchito restaurant.
3. Metropolitan Natural Park
Opened in 1988, the Metropolitan Natural Park is a little way out of the main Panama City area (but still part of the urban mix), so unlike the other walks mentioned here, you may need to resort to using a car or an Uber taxi to get here.
Upon arrival at Panama’s Metropolitan Park, you will need to register with the park staff in the main office building in the car-park, and pay a small fee.
As at 2023, the entrance fee for Panama’s Metropolitan Park Panama City is $5 for foreign visitors (and cheaper for Panamanian residents).
There are five main hiking trails at Panama’s Metropolitan Park, all around 5 km in total (so relatively easy to cover although some are uphill and a little strenuous).
Our favourite is the Mono Tití trail, ascending to the top of Cedar’s Hill and offering some incredible views of Panama’s downtown highrises and tall buildings.
There is also a lot of wildlife to see here at Metropolitan Nature Park. On our last two visits, we saw sloths and monkeys high up in the trees, plus lots of terrapins and the odd small snake.
We’ve also read that it is home to over 280 types of trees, 250 species of birds and 45 species of mammals, plus countless reptiles and amphibians.
At the end of your walk, you can buy ice cold drinks for around $1 back in the administration offices in the carpark (they have a little gift shop in the rear).
4. Ancon Hill, Panama City
Closed to traffic, we joined the joggers and cyclists early one morning to climb to the top of Ancon Hill and soak up the views of the Panama Canal and the Bridge of the Americas on one side, plus vistas of Casco Viejo and the new town from the other.
Ancon Hill is an easy hiking spot in Panama and can be easily spotted by looking for the huge Panama flag blowing in the wind – a former military installation, this is now one of the best and most accessible walks in Panama City.
Read more in our exploring Ancon Hill and Mi Pueblito in Panama City blog post.
5. Cinta Costera, Panama City
The pride of Panama City, Cinta Costera is a wonderful walkway that stretches along the coast in the heart of the city, running from Paitailla to El Chorrillo.
Given the Panama City heat, we would recommend you finish at the Mercado de Mariscos (fish market) and reward yourself with some refreshing ceviche (raw fish cured in lemon juice) and a cold beer.
If you are staying in downtown Panama City city and do not have access to a car, this bohemian boulevard (combined with the Casco Viejo walk) is probably your best bet to get around.
We’ve seen all walks of life along Cinta Costera in Panama City, from the ‘body beautiful’ (think Roller Girl from Boogie Nights) through to the numerous chica and raspados sellers. We’ve also seen a few music videos and dance competitions held along Cinta Costera whilst on our walks in downtown Panama City.
There is always something to see on Cinta Costera – the most famous large multicoloured Panama sign can also be found here, plus look out for the brightly coloured red devil buses (diablos rojos) along the main road.
Other Panama City blog posts you might like
- A guide to Taboga Island in Panama City
- Top things to do in Panama City
- Panama City budget travel guide
- Casco Viejo in Panama City – top things to do
- Ancon Hill and Mi Pueblito in Panama City
- Panama City’s Rainforest Walks and Activities
Did you enjoy our Best walks in Panama City blog post? Let us know in the comments or by sharing it on social media.