In case other people are having this same problem:
I tried to pull money out of 4 ATM's and I wasn't able to. It didn't deny me outright, but the machine went into this strange loop of me entering my information over and over until I gave up and hit cancel. I figured something was up with the local banks because I called my bank and there was no problem on their end. So I was on my way to a Scotiabank, to see if I could draw money out there when I came across a Western Union location with an international ATM that worked perfectly for me. (And it didn't charge me a fee!!) So if you have problems with the ATM's, find an American/Canadian bank or a Western Union!
Estación Central de Ferrocarriles
Estación Central de Ferrocarriles used to be the city’s Anthrolopogical Museum, but it has since been abandoned. Actually, during the early 2000s, a new Anthropological Museum was built near Clayton with the help of the Taiwanese government. Taiwan poured in millions of dollars and for a beautiful new building that now houses the country’s anthropological treasures, and the then-President’s government was promptly sacked for its inability to explain where the surplus funds went during the construction process. This historical building, meanwhile, was shuttered and is currently out of use, although it is, nevertheless, a great example of the neo-Classical architecture that was spurred by the boom following on the construction of the Canal.
Taxi fares we paid during our visit in Dec 2007.
-from Bella Vista area to Via Espana/Argentina (El Cangreho area ) : $2 USD
-from Hotel Riande Continental to Albrook Mall : $2 by taxi on the street day time, $ 5 in the evening; Hotel charged $ 10 for the same trip.
-from Bella Vista to Old Panama : $ 4
-from Old Panama to Multi Plaza mall: $ 2
-from Multi Plaza mall to Bella Vista: $2.50
-from Bella Vista to Restaurant Bucanero in Amador: $4 daytime; $8 at night from there back to the city.
-from Bella Vista to Tocumen airport: $16 to 27, what a range .
-from Bella Vista to Multi Centro Mall in Paitilla: $1.50 ; we've been quote $5, of course we didn't take it.
Usually within 50 cents, I didn't even bother bargaining. Average price within the city is still $2.
Must confirm price before getting into the taxi, most drivers will quote you tourists rate especially the ones with newer cars.
We just got back from PNY . The rates above still stand.
From central Pny to Albrook Mall, for example, is 2 $ max for 2 persons. There are still honest taxi driver out there :) and one of them quoted us $ 1.75 for the trip. Local folks do not and will not pay over 2 USD for that distance.
Others are still very much out to scalp tourists. Example : a taxi guy quoted us 5 USD from Albrook mall to central Pny. LMAO of course we walked and went with another taxi.
Fantastic BBQ Latino Style
There is no shortage of parridillas or carbónarias here in Panama City, but I think the best and the best value even, is Columbian-owned Leños y Carbón.
There are several of them throughout Panama City, there is one at Albrook Mall, in the food court, ditto at Multicentro Mall, also a brand new one at the end of the Amador Causeway, which has a breathtaking view of the Panama skyline.
They offer a wide variety of grilled meat of all types, chicken, beef, and pork. They also offer an assortment of fruit juices that are fresh and a great alternative to sodas, which they also serve. The mall locations do not serve alcohol, but I think the Amador location does.
Their meals are simply the best of Latino barbeque I´ve had, and a good value, too! If we are really hungry or have a guest or two with us, we get the "Argentinian Grill" (Parridilla Argentina). It has grilled chicken breast, beef, two kinds of pork and sausage. Comes with fries, salad, rice, and sancocho (chicken) soup, if they haven´t run out! For $14 this is a bargain! We always take some home even if we split it four ways! It is a food orgy! If we want to eat "light", we get the mixed shish kebab (brochetes mixtas), it has a good-sized cubes of grilled chicken, beef and pork spaced between bell pepper chunks, and comes with salad, rice, a columbian tortilla, and sancocho soup - as long as they have it, for $4.95. It´s like a mini version of the Argentinian grill. Sometimes we get one of these and a salad bar for $4.65 and have a feast. The salad bar has a wide variety of items, and you can heap as much as you can on a large dinner plate to eat. There are other parridillas at the food courts, and they offer good food and decent prices, but none is as good as Leños! They are da primera!
To see ships passing through the Canal, your best bet is to arrive at 9am, when the Canal starts to operate. The Miraflores Locks will only let visitors in at 9am, even if you arrive early, you won't be allowed in the premises.
Here you can see a ship entering the Canal. A lot of people are surprised that the Canal is not wider. As you can see, there are two passageways for the ships. The direction in which the ships pass can vary: the passageways could act as a 2-way street, or both could allow ships to go on the same direction.
In this photo, you cannot see the level of the water where the ship is entering. Once the locks open, the water level will equalize, and the ship will pass.