Panama City with kids

What to do in Panama City with kids? Panama City is most likely the starting and ending point of your trip through Panama. An extraordinary city with many contrasts. The old historic city center and at the same time the modern skyline with many skyscrapers and of course the famous Panama Canal. There are many beautiful sights and fun activities that are especially convenient when traveling with kids. You will easily entertain yourself here for 3 days. In this blog, we list the best children’s activities in Panama City.

Best travel time Panama City with kids

In Panama, it is actually always warm. Nevertheless, this country has two seasons and the best travel time for Panama City is from December to March when it is the dry season. That doesn’t mean you can’t visit Panama during our summer months (June, July and August), but you can expect more rain. Then again, what is an advantage is that during this period many flowers and plants are also in bloom in Panama.

If you also go to visit the Caribbean islands of Panama such as Bocas del Toro and the San Blas Islands, there is less rain here in the rainy season than in other parts of Panama. In the San Blas Islands, it is then a lot less warm than in the dry season. So, as you can see, each season has its advantages and disadvantages.

Children's activities Panama City

Transportation in Panama City

You will probably arrive in Panama City by plane or bus. Once there, explore the city on foot and you can possibly use the subway (you have 1 subway line in Panama City) or a cab. Arranging a cab is easy with Uber’s app. We also made use of a boat and a bicycle (I’ll tell you more about that later in this blog).

If you want to travel around Panama City with kids by cab, it’s helpful to purchase a local SIM card at the airport. That way you have Internet coverage throughout the city and you can also order a cab from anywhere. In the Uber app, you then also see right away what the ride costs and which driver is coming to pick you up. This also eliminates the need to negotiate the price, which is nice. In general, these cabs are safe, which is obviously very nice with kids. In addition, you also have to walk a lot less through the city.

If you want to see more of the country of Panama with the family, it may be nice to rent a car. This is a finer option than traveling around the country on public transportation. You can rent a car at the Panama City airport through the organization Sunny Cars. With this rental company, most insurance and often the deductible are included in the rental price. For more information on booking a rental car through Sunny Cars in Panama, take a look here.

Panama City with kids

Children’s activities Panama City

#1 Explore the old center

Stroll around Casco Viejo, the old center of Panama where the colonial character has been preserved. Many buildings are monuments and must remain in original condition. Information boards can be found in the center indicating a route that takes you past the most beautiful buildings.

You have beautiful cathedrals and ruins in the old town. You can also spot several fun street art and find numerous cozy restaurants. Also be sure to go up a rooftop bar. From here you have a view of Panama City’s modern skyline and can clearly see the great contrast with the old center. A great view can be had, for example, at the Mexican restaurant on the roof of Selina hostel.

You can walk from the old center to the cozy boulevard Cinta Costera. You can walk or bike along this promenade and the promenade here is very lively. You have all kinds of carts with street food here, and of course you can have a great ice cream here by the water with kids. It is also possible to spot raccoons in this area if you are lucky.

You can also stop by Cinta Costera at Mercado de Marisco, the local fish market. Always fun to walk around these kinds of markets with kids. You can rent all kinds of bikes and scooters with the family in Panama City in several places (including this boulevard).

Panama City with kids

#2 Cycle across the Amador Causeway

The Amador Causeway is a long road along the coast of Panama City. It connects the city to three islets off the coast. There is a good red bike path constructed so ideal for cycling. You can rent a bike from several providers. We rented a family bike with a roof and this can be done at bike rental “Bicicletas Moses.

You cycle along the boulevard with palm trees and the sea on both sides. On one side you have the view of the modern skyline and a harbor with boats and on the other side you see mostly huge cargo ships on their way to the Panama Canal.

Almost at the end of the long road is a nice playground for kids with benches for parents. If you are traveling with older kids, you can also go karting just past this playground.

Panama City with kids

#3 Playing in the park Omar

If you want to incorporate even more play time in Panama City with kids, we can recommend Park Omar. This green park has lots of different playgrounds where kids can play endlessly. You will see both tourists and locals with their families here. They also sell very tasty smoothies and ice creams here. The easiest way to get here is to take a cab, which are certainly not expensive in Panama.

Another city park you can visit in Panama City with kids is the Metropolitan Natural Park. You can hike different trails through the tropical rainforest in this huge city park. It is also possible to spot nose bears and various deer here while hiking through the park.

It is an ideal place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city with kids. You also have a viewpoint in this park, where you have a nice view of the city. You pay a few euros entrance fee for this park.

Panama City with kids

#4 Visit the famous Panama Canal

When you think of Panama, you immediately think of the Panama Canal. We think this is one of those sights that we absolutely did not want to skip during our city trip to Panama City. Still, we wanted to see what was so special about that canal. The largest cargo ships in the world pass through the locks of this canal daily.

To get a good view of this process visit the “Miraflores visitor center. Here you can watch a documentary on the history of the Panama Canal in a cinema as well as go up onto the observation deck to watch the ships pass. It was nice to have seen for a while, but the Panama Canal is mostly just really cool when you think about how big and how important this canal is.

Through this canal, for example, it is not a fat 22,000 kilometers of sailing from Europe to San Francisco, but a mere 10,000 kilometers. Nice to see the trains on rails guiding the huge ships, but the rest is of course familiar territory for us Dutch. We noticed, for example, that there were many people who had never seen a lock before.

You visit the Visitor center by bus or cab. Plan your visit in the morning around 9:00 or in the afternoon after 2:00. These are the times when ships pass through the canal. Admission costs about 15 euros for adults and 5 euros for kids 6 and older.

Panama City with kids

#5 Day at an island beach

Want to get away from the city and relax on the beach? You can do that in Panama City with kids! There are several islands off the coast of Panama City that you can visit through a day trip. Multi-day tours are also offered to the beautiful San Blas Islands with its bounty beaches. We had planned to do this, but unfortunately were not picked up for this tour.

Then there had to be a plan B. We sailed by ferry to the island of “Isla Taboga,” which is close to Panama City. And while this was certainly not the San Blas Islands, it was certainly enjoyable. The sea is a lovely clear poodle pool and the beach is full of beautiful shells. There is a nice island vibe here with a small street of restaurants and souvenir shops. From this island you have a view of Panama City.

When traveling with kids, it is also interesting to see the huge cargo ships up close as they pass the ferry boat. The ferry ride takes about 30 minutes and costs about 22 euros for an adult and 14 euros for a kid.

Children's activities Panama City

Family-friendly restaurant Panama City

You can eat In Panama City with kids just fine. Panama City is a great metropolis and has plenty of great family-friendly restaurants. We list some of these family-friendly restaurants in Panama City below!

Selina Casco Viejo: from this family-friendly restaurant in Panama City you have a nice view of the skyline where you can clearly see the contrast with the old city. You can eat tasty Mexican food such as wraps, quesadillas and other Mexican dishes. There are also small dishes to order which can be fine with kids.

Calicanto Trattoria: delicious Italian cuisine with very fast service. Located in the old center.

Casa Cathedral restaurante: housed in an old cathedral. Mediterranean cuisine. The nice thing about this restaurant is that there are vintage cars on display for the kids to look at.

Children's activities Panama City

Family-friendly hotel Panama City

You can stay in Panama City with kids just fine. There are plenty of family-friendly hotels in Panama City that you can book. We list below some well-reviewed options in different price ranges. Click on the blue link for more information about the respective hotel.

Budget hotel: Eurohotel

Mid-range hotel: Global Hotel Panama

Luxury hotel: Marriott Panama Hotel – Albrook

Don’t find a suitable option among the above three accommodations? Then check out the entire list of family-friendly accommodations in Panama City.

About the author: this adventurous family took a 5-month trip around the world in 2022 and have visited more than 20 countries together. You can follow their adventures on their Instagram page fouropeenreis.


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