— Alexandra R., United States
Here are Panama City hotels I’d recommend, in different price ranges:
For less than US$70/night, consider:
These two hotels are on the same street in El Cangrejo, which is a good location, central and lively. You could walk to bars, restaurants, cafes, etc.
In the US$150 to US$300 range, consider:
— Bristol Hotel (the best hotel in the city in my experience)
Here’s a beach hotel, comfortable and on a nice property about a half-hour outside downtown Panama City: Intercontinental Playa Bonita
And here’s another beach hotel, my personal favorite, a resort community developed by the people behind Panama City’s Bristol Hotel: Buenaventura This is the most upscale and charming beach property within easy driving distance of the city (about an hour-and-a-half away). The construction (of the hotel, the clubhouse, the condos attached to the hotel, etc.) is Spanish colonial, the landscaping is lovely, and the hotel restaurant is five-star.
Here’s the biggest rain forest resort property, about 45 minutes from downtown (good for hiking, bird watching, etc.): Gamboa Rainforest Resort
On the Caribbean side (Isla Grande), this is the best choice: Bananas Resort.
I’ve visited or stayed at all these places. They’re all worth experiencing at least once. However, I wouldn’t return to any of them for longer than a night or two, with the exception of Buenaventura, where I’d happily retreat for a week or longer (if I could persuade Lief to go along with the idea…Buenaventura isn’t cheap).
These places are all accessible, though, so here’s what I’d recommend: Spend a couple of nights in each one. Do some touring, etc., in each location. That’d give you a good overview of the country, a good first impression of what Panama has to offer.