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DAY 2:

11:30  Allow yourself some morning recovery time, then give your hangover a big grin goodbye with a huge plateful of rice and the meat of the day at the old-school diner, Cafe Coca Cola on Avenida Central Casco Viejo. The air-conditioned spot is a good place to people watch, and it’s a hub for chess games and tuning into Latin American football matches on TV.

13:30  Take a stroll along the Panama Canal, which links the Atlantic Ocean, via the Caribbean Sea, to the Pacific. It’s a key route for international ships. A good vantage point is the Miraflores Visitor Centre, at the Miraflores locks (pancanal.com), which has a viewing terrace and an exhibition on the canal’s history. Entry is £5.

14:30  And while on the subject of the canal, the Canal Administration Building is worth a visit. It might sound as dull as dishwater, but is far from it. The ceilings of the striking hilltop colonial building sport some impressive murals, painted by New Yorker William B. Van Ingen, and depict the labour effort that went into building the canal, from excavation to constructing locks and dams.

16:00  Now head up to the Amador Causeway. The four small islands were connected to act as a breakwater to protect the canal entrance using the rocks excavated when the waterway was built. It’s a popular walking, cycling and jogging spot, where you get an amazing view of the city.

19:30  Get some nosh at Al Tambor de la Alegria, on Brisas de Amador, where dishes are named after Panama’s different regions and cost from £4.50. Arrive before 9pm on Monday-Saturday and you may be lucky enough to catch an hour-long folklore dance presentation covering the history of Panama, from the arrival of the Spanish to the construction of the canal. 

23:00  Bid adieu to Panama City as the locals would – by partying. Habana Panama – imagine the colourful vibe of 1950s Cuba – is a good place to do so.

Flights from London Heathrow to Panama City start at £552 return with Iberia  iberia.com/gb Also see  visitpanama.com


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Weekender: Panama City in 48 hours
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