Hotel Santana

Calle C, Santa Ana, Panama City, 4424, Panama
Hotel Santana
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More about Panamá City


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Forum Posts

full-partial canal transits

by call_me_rhia

we are planning on a short stopover in panama city this summer - and would like to do the partial or full canal transit. So far we have found the transit dates, what's missing is a reputable tour operator that organizes it.

Can anyone please recommend a trusted one?
Thanks a million


Re: full-partial canal transits

by crazyman2

Hi Rhia

Well... lucky you!
We went through about 6 weeks ago: a full transit East to West on the Island Princess cruise ship. Wow.....

I don't know a company but I strongly suggest

Be there before dawn for the amazing photo opportunities: the ships are queuing and the fairy-lights are amazing...and as it becomes lighter you see that they are dozerns of ships all waiting their turn. You'll need a reasonable camera.

Then when it's your ship's turn you'll be escorted by tugs to the entrance of the first lock.It's a fantastic experience. DO THE WHOLE TRANSIT or you'll regret it!

Check this: I think that passenger ships have priority over freight ---so don't be conned into being passengers on a cargo could be a long wait!

If you want to see my photos then let me know and I'll put them on my site sooner rather than later.

Oh, one more thing... the Panamanian leaflet about the canal and the changes to it is worth reading as you make the 8 hour trip.

Have fun!


Re: full-partial canal transits

by Marianne2

There are numerous cruise ships that do this, and also some local small ships (sorry, I don't know a good operator there). If you are not on a tight time schedule and want a more novel approach you can consider this: there are private yachts that go through the entire canal and are required by law to have a certain number of "line handlers". We had to have six total line handlers when we went through. The yachts raft up to each other during daylight and go through as a group, each also with a local pilot. You might have to spend the night on the yacht in Gatun Lake, but that place is very interesting and a haven for fabulous birds. You'd have to research this in advance.

The place the yachts gather at either end of the canal are the Colon and the Balboa Yacht Clubs. Many of the boats will be looking for crew. You just need to find out more info about which days of the week the "convoys" go, and maybe contact the two yacht clubs for more information. This is one unforgettable experience! For the adventurer only ....

Re: full-partial canal transits

by wapanda10

Because they have a lot positive feedbacks including me, I highly recommend you ViajesAlmiza , they have Partial and Full Transit as per your request.

good lucks,

Re: full-partial canal transits

by call_me_rhia

thank you very much, wapanda... i have found their webpage and the prices look interesting. I will email them tonight.
Can't wait to be in panama :-)

Travel Tips for Panamá City

Panamanian Food

by bilgeez

Panamanians eat as much rice as many Asian cultures, which means, nearly every meal. They have it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Every type of restaurant that serves Panamanian dished serves rice with them.
Usually Panamanians make rice with shredded chicken or guangou, a type of bean.
The Panamanians also love sancocho, which is a chicken soup that is made with chicken stock broth and vegtables, usually; carrot, ñamé, celery, and cilantro, with a chicken leg thrown in. One gets a side dish of rice with it (of course). To eat it traditionally, one takes a spoonful of rice and carefully lets the broth flow onto the spoon, soaking the rice. One picks up the chicken drumstick and uses the hands.
Panama has many types of exotic fruits and vegtables. Veggies include, ñamé and yucca, which are used like potatoes. Usually ñamé is used in soups, especially sancocho, and made into dumplings. Yucca is usually fried like french fries or chips, and is also used as a batter coating for some types of empanadas. When I first came here, I thought fried yucca were cottage fried potatoes! There is also otoé, which is also a root vegtable used like potatoes, and the above mentioned guangou, which is a bean that looks somewhat like a large, green lentil, usually cooked with rice.
Among the fruits are; maracuya, a fruit that makes a whitish, tart juice. guanabana, which is green and tart, and what inspired the quayaberra shirt for men, that has four pockets so one can pick guanabana and put them in the pockets. It´s juice is orange-coloured, it looks like orange juice, but definitely doesn´t taste like it!
Panamanians also loved grilled meat, there are parrilladas everywhere. There are street vendors who sell beef brochets for a quarter. It is considered a snack here. They finish them off with some picanté sauce over an open flame before they give them to you, to give them a spicy, smoky flavour.
There are also street vendors that sell barbequed chicken, from 1/4 to a whole chicken, it is very good, and very inexpensive.
Of course Panamanians love fish dishes. The most popular are corvina (choker), tuna, shrimp, langosto (like prawns), and lobster. One can also find dorado, grouper, snapper, wahoo and rooster fish on menus in some places or up-scale restaurants in Panama City.

Car rental

by Assenczo

There are some tips on car rental on this site that state that the charge per day is 25USD. I could not find this deal. "National" and the competitors offer smallest cars for around 50USD including all possible insurance coverage. For the brave and reckless, I might add that insurance is a must in Panama where drivers are playing macho or chicken depending on the view point. As a result there are many cars with smashed sides.
Car is indispensable for flexibility and freedom. In Panama the added feature is the option of visiting the Pacific and the Atlantic coasts in one morning! Hence I am not able to tell you where I made the most of my tan.

Dim Sum

by bilgeez about Palacio Lung Fung's

Palacio Lung Fung is on the Ave. Simon Bolivar sort of between El Cangrejo and El Dorado districts on the north side of Panama City.
The restaurant is an institution in Panama City, their specialty is dim sum. Many Panamanians go there for the dim sum breakfast on the weekends. Go to the third floor and be seated; when the carts come by just tell them what you want, if you know what it is you want, or point and tell them how much you want. They check off a card how many dim sum steamers you order and when you are finished, you have a server total it up and you pay them. Everything is ala carte, except for the hot tea, every table is given a generous pot of hot tea when they are seated. They do accept credit cards.

It’s not the best dim sum I’ve ever had, but it is edible and it’s cheap! (About $2 a steamer – each steamer has four pieces.) There were six of us at breakfast and we put away a dozen steamers, with drinks, I didn’t pay $30 for the lot, so it is pretty economical. Be advised, they add a 10% gratuity to the bill! In Panama, that is de riguer for tipping, actually, a little high, so don’t add to that unless you had really outstanding service, which we didn’t, so I just took my change. The best dim sum was the shrimp. Every shrimp dish I’ve had in Panama has been great. Maybe because it is so fresh, it is just so much better than shrimp I’ve had anywhere else, no matter how I’ve had it served. And it’s cheaper, too!!!
I would rate this place higher, but the service, although it was not bad, was not impressive; we asked for a desert cart, but it was never sent over, and the food was not terrific, pretty ordinary, but the price was very agreeable. If you want to pig on dim sum in Panama, this is the place to go! Dim sum, dim sum, dim sum!

Puente de las Americas

by Assenczo

This marvel of engineering spans over the Panama canal allowing ground traffic to cross from North America into South America and vice versa. The causeway provides a nice angle, especially from the gazebo jutting a bit into the waters of the Pacific. Some ships might pass by as an added bonus and distraction from people and bird watching. Crossing it is a must!

Nice to do: People Watching in Avenida Central

by gdilieto

The pedestrian part of Avenida Central, between Plaza Cinco de Mayo e Parque Santa Ana, (as a tourist if you just mention Avenida Central to every taxi driver he will get you there) provides and excellent and safe chance for some local people watching.

Avenida Cental is a shopping street with low-scale shops, department stores and restaurant and the foreign visitors will unlikely find anything of interest to buy. It's nice though for the street scenes and a taste of local life. Of the two ends, Parque Santa Ana is the prettier, with a lively little square and a busy, noicy intersection with taxis and diablos rojos coming and going. The photos I am attaching show some example of what you will find in a routine late afternoon in the Street: Kuna Women walking by, street "beauty salons", lottery ticket stalls, shoeshiners, food hawkers and locals in the routine of their daily life.

Avenida Central is generally considered a safe place to walk, though you should always keep your guard on for pickpocketing. Indeed I did not feel unsafe when visiting.


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