If you are coming to Panama to spend some days before and/or after the wedding there is plenty to do in Panama City. If you feel more adventurous and want to explore outside the city there are many beaches, islands, mountains and local and tourist towns to explore.
On this page you will find information about flights, hotels, and things to do in Panama. The hotels we have listed, all have English speaking staff and can organize taxis and day trips or anything you want to do during your stay. Of course we will be looking to spend time with everyone, so the days before and after the wedding we plan to go to restaurants or do different activities. Everyone is welcome to join us. From the Monday onwards we hope to do something everyday; if you don't want to plan activities for your trip and just want to join us, then that would be great.
We recommend you use www.expedia.com to find flights as you can do multi city trips with different airlines without a change in price. This allows you stop along the way for as long as you want in cities like New York, Paris, Frankfurt, Florida, Amsterdam.
Important: The airport code in Panama is PTY. There is a city in the United States called Panama City, so just make sure you don't fly to an airport near there.
Some of the common routes are:
- Dublin to Newark, Newark to Panama (You can buy this as a multi city trip and the price is the same if you want to stay some time in newark on the way out and/or on the way back)
- Dublin to Florida with Aer Lingus, and then a second booking from Fort Lauderdale direct to Panama with Spirit airlines (www.spirit.com). You might have to pay extra for a check-in bag with Spirit. Copa Airlines and American Airlines also fly from Miami to Panama.
- Dublin to Madrid, and Madrid to Panama. You can do this with Iberia the whole way, or book Ryan Air to Madrid and Iberia to Panama. Iberia always have the cheapest price on their website
- Cork to Amsterdam and Amsterdam to Panama with KLM.
- Lufthansa at the time of writing is 885 USD return from Dublin, and the journey time is the shortest that is possible, and It stops for 2 hours 45 minutes in Paris. This is our recommendation from Ireland if you are not stopping along the way.
- From the United States there are direct flights from JFK, Newark, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, San Francisco, Atlanta.
We are happy to look up flight combinations for anyone that would like to know prices. Just send us an email.
The wedding will be in the JW Marriott hotel. The hotel has English speaking staff and is in a central location, has amazing views and great facilities. We would recommend staying there. Some other hotels that we are suggesting below are along a boardwalk which is nice for walking and others in Casco Antiguo which is a colonial town near the centre of the city. We think people might like to stay in one of the hotels suggested below for the days before and after the wedding. If people would like to move to the JW Marriott for the Friday and Saturday night they could do that. Or you might like to stay in the JW Marriott for all of the time. Both options are great and everything is very central. You can go anywhere in the city in less than 10 minutes in a taxi and the locations of all the hotels here are great.
Here is the link to book a room in the JW Marriot Hotel. You can book from Monday the 18th of February to Tuesday the 26th of February. Only one booking per person, and breakfast is included. Please note that the price is 139 USD plus 10% tax. At the time of writing this, for the same dates, the non discounted rate is 190 USD plus 10% tax.
**This is our recomendation for ave balboa**
Price per night is about 110 USD.
English speaking staff, connected to shopping mall with food court and restaurants. Next to the Radisson Hotel. Nice outside pool.
Central safe location, 5 minutes from Cinta Costera (ocean boardwalk)
Price per night is about 125 USD.
English speaking staff, next to Hard Rock Hotel, next to shopping mall with food court and restaurants.
Central safe location, 5 minute walk from Cinta Costera (ocean boardwalk).
Price per night is 175 USD
English Speaking Staff, Centre of Ave Balboa, Perfect central and safe location for walking by the ocean. Slightly better location than Hard Rock and Radisson, but not connected to the mall like hard rock. Outside pool. Casino on ground floor with live local bands some nights.
** Our Recommendation for Casco Antiguo""
Price per night is about 180 USD.
Centre of the colonial Casco Viejo. Great for exploring Casco. Walking distance to the church . Most touristy area of Panama, walk to local restaurants and shops. Hotel is really nice style.
Price per night is about 120 USD
Centre of the colonial Casco Viejo
No swimming pool. Walking distance to church (but taxi recommended due to the heat). Great location to explore Casco. Famous for roof nightlcub until 3am 7 days a week.
Price per night is about 250 USD
Great location, in the heart of Casco, lots of people around, night life, lovely colonial style hotel. English Speaking staff. 15 minute walk to the church (Taxi recommended due to the heat)
Price per night is about 225 USD
Beach is not actually that nice, even tho it looks nice in the photos. Lots of swimming pools, kids club. Very big. About 30 minutes from the city, 20 USD in taxi to the city. They have an all inclusive option.
**This is our recommendation""
Price per night is about 190 USD all inclusive. The hotel is nice, the beach is nice, big swimming pools. About 2 hours 30 minutes from Panama City. All inclusive food is Buffet, the quality is quite good. You would need to rent a car to get there, or maybe they have a shuttle from the city. Booking is through booking.com.
Price per night is 220 USD
Part of the Marriot group. This is where we got engaged. We think it is a really great and luxurious hotel. Different options for restaurants and shops. You can go walking or cycling. There are kids activities. We love this, but everything is a little on the pricier side of things. 3 hours from Panama, you would need a rental car to get there (maybe hotel has a shuttle from the city)
AIRBNB can be a great option. Panama is full of buildings with many apartments to rent on a short term basis. It is unlikely that you would rent a house, normally it is apartments. We recommend checking with us before booking to confirm that the area is good.
If you want to get an airbnb, we recommend being inside the green triangle that we have drawn on the map in this section.
The price ranges from 75 USD to 130 USD per night. For 130 USD per night you get an apartment with two bedrooms in a building with an outside pool in prime location on avenida balboa. For 75 USD you get a less modern apartment in one of the suburbs about 5 or 10 minutes away from Avenida Balboa with great access to supermarkets and local restaurants. Make sure your airbnb has air conditioning.
Before booking any airbnbs please check with us to confirm it is okay, as some buildings do not allow airbnb, so we dont want you to book and have problems. There are many buildings that do allow airbnb so there is no problem, just worth checking with us first.
If you are going to stay outside the city, we recommend staying in a beach location. There are airbnbs in Beanaventura which is the resort on Playa Blanca that has the hotel Buebavenutura. There are apartments to rent here. They are about 170 USD per night and you get access to all the Beanaventura services like the pools and restaurants and beach and golf course. This is about 2.5 hours from Panama
Playa Bonita is next to the Westin hotel that is about 30 minutes outside the city, and there are apartments to rent there for 170 a night that include space for 5 people.
If you are going to rent a car, you can get an airbnb in various locations, because everything is very accessible from the city. If you want to get an apartment that is not by a beach and outside the city, and you have a car, you can get very reasonable prices.
If you would like to do airbnb, let us know what you would like and we can look for you.
Cinta Costera is the name of the pacific ocean walk that runs along Avenida Balboa near some of hotels that we have suggested above. While you are doing that be sure to get your photos with the famous Panama sign. If you are feeling very energetic you can do your exercises on one of the out door gym areas.
Spend the majority of the day on a boat cruise going through The Canal. The tours usually start about 7am in the morning and finish about 3pm. This would not be going through the full canal, you would enter the canal on the pacific side, and go through one or two sets of locks and then get a bus back. If you want to go from ocean to ocean, there are options too, but would easily take the full day and it would be late at night getting back to your hotel. If you want to splash out, you can rent a yacht and hire a captain and sail your millions of dollars through at your leisure with the other millionaires.
If yo don't want to go through the locks on a cruise tour you can go to one of the viewing centres and watch some of the biggest cargo boats in the world being lowered and raised by the water going through the locks. This would normally take half a day, to get there, spend some time viewing and return. You can get to the first set of locks in a taxi for about 25 USD, or maybe rent a car or go with a tour agency to the new locks which are at the other side of the country (1 hour away). The new locks are in the expanded canal which finished construction 18 months ago (taxi to get there might be 40 USD).
Amador is an area close to Panama City where there are nice ocean views and play areas for children and restaurants to eat. It has a long road which goes between 3 islands and each island has different shops and restaurants. The second island has a new play area for children with water shooting up from the ground (not always turned on). You can rent family bikes and use the cycle paths while taking in the views or drive there or take taxis. There are shuttles that go also, or even a group cycle bike where 20 people sit on a large bus type vehicle but powered by people cycling who are sitting at a bar drinking beer. As you drink more beer it tends to move slower and slower as the peddling slows. Its nice to go to Amador in evenings when the sun has gone down. You can go in bus or taxi or drive a rental car.
San Blas islands are a group of about 200 islands in the Caribbean Sea. It takes about 2.5 hours to get there, and there are boats that bring you to one or two or three islands during the day and then bring you back to get your transport home. Tours start in Panama City and bring you there and back all included including lunch. The islands are surrounded by crystal clear waters perfect for snorkling and relaxing in hammoks. Price normally about 90 per person.
Taboga Island is an esay to ge to Island close to Panama City. It is perfect for a short day trip to go out on a boat and see a small town with a beach on the island and have lunch or dinner there. We have not gone there yet but we have heard that it is a nice day out, and not expensive to do.
There is a hotel and resort here where you can spend a few days in the forest of Panama, but a day trip is enough to go see the Gamboa Zoo where there are over 300 animals. There are tours from Panama City.
Casco Antiguo which means old casco. It is a colonial style part of Panama where you can walk the cobbled streets and take photos of the architecture and old buildings and ruins. There are often markets with hand made crafts, and seats and tables on the streets to relax and have an ice cream, or go to one of the roof top terraces to enjoy a drink or sandwich.
Panama Viejo means old Panama. here you can do a tour of the museum where you will be told that originally this was the centre of Panama and how and why it got burned down and why. Also learn about the old Panamanian cultures. Some of the ruins are still there and you can explore and take some photos.
The BIO Museum can be seen from the sky when flying into Panama. It has a famous colorful roof with unusual architecture. Inside the museum you can spend hours exploring and reading about the natural history of Panama, whose isthmus was formed very recently in geological times, with major impact on the ecology of the Western Hemisphere (taken from wiki)
Puente de las Americas means "Bridge of the Americas". For many years there was only one bridge connecting the landmasses of North America with Central America. This is the main bridge that you cross when leaving Panama City. When crossing the bridge you can see the boats going under the bridge as they enter the canal. There are viewing points at either side of the bridge. We can advise how to get there.
Tinajas is a restaurant that comes with a Panamanian show. While you are eating your dinner there will be on stage performances showing the different Panamanian songs, clothing and culture. Reservations a few weeks in advance are a must. It is booked out every night.