Trip Start Sep 30, 2011
34Trip End Ongoing
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Where I stayed
The next morning we wanted to explore the Casco Viejo (Old Town) of Panama City, Adam, Jenn and Steph had the same plan and joined us. It is actually not the original old town since this was destroyed, so the Casco Viejo is where the Spanish rebuilt Panama City after being destroyed. Well, it is falling apart!! We walked from the hostel to get a feeling of the city, going straight down a few blocks from the hostel we got to the seafront and were able to walk along the sea all the way to Casco Viejo. It gives you a nice overview. To the left you have all brand new modern skyscrapers and to the right, typical colonial style buildings of the Casco Viejo. Casco Viejo is a UNESCO World Heritage, however a lot of work is still needed, the majority of the buildings are falling apart, it is sad to see really. We spent the morning exploring the old town and reading up on the most important monuments through the Lonely Planet guide. The weather was miserable, the sky was grey and threatening. We had decided to go to see the canal in the afternoon, between 3 – 5pm is supposed to be the best time. So we had lunch in Casco Viejo and took a taxi to the Pedro Miguel locks where you could see the canal for free. We hung around for about one hour and sat unhappily in the rain under my umbrella until we decided that we were not going to be able to see much of the locks at all. So since we were already in the area we got a taxi to the Miraflores locks where the visitors centre is and paid the 5$ entrance fee to the viewing platform
Back at the hostel in the evening, the guys from the Gypsy Moth had decided to go to the casino, apparently as long as you gamble, you have free drinks
The next morning, Jenn and Angela managed to be awake enough to come with us, I think it was the big shopping mall next to the bus station that was the main reason. We got to the station only to find out that the ticket office wouldn’t open until 3pm that day, due to it being a bank holiday. Well, we had no other option than to pop over to the shopping centre for a few hours. We had a good time and Ramón found Billabong swim pants for 20$ and I got Billabong beach shorts and a Billabong dress for 55$ in total. Happy with our purchases we went back to get the bus tickets. We had no problem getting the 8 tickets for the same evening, we had brought a list of everyone’s name and passport number. That night was spent on another very cold bus with seats that hardly reclined at all and had very little legroom, wonderful for an overnight bus ride. At least we were prepared and had plenty of clothes and our sleeping bags in our hand luggage.
We arrived in Almirante at 6.30am the next morning and made our way to the speedboat to take us to Bocas del Toro.