6 Hours in Panama City: Unveiling the Best Spots and Activities for a Quick Layover Adventure

How to Make the Most of Your Brief Stop in Panama City: A Comprehensive Guide for Sunday Travelers

Imagine landing in Panama City, the vibrant heart of Central America, with just six hours to spare before your next flight. This scenario might seem challenging, but it’s an opportunity to explore one of the world’s most dynamic cities, even if it’s just for a brief while. If you find yourself at Tocumen International Airport (PTY) with a connecting flight from Albrook “Marcos A. Gelabert” International Airport to David, here’s how to make every moment count.

Firstly, understanding Panama’s vaccination requirements is crucial. Panama considers adults “fully vaccinated” if they have both initial vaccinations and a booster. However, with one Janssen shot and a negative COVID-19 test, you’re good to go.

Your adventure begins early, with a 5:43 AM arrival. This early start can be a blessing in disguise, allowing you to witness the city as it wakes up. After clearing customs and immigration, head straight to Artisana 1984 in the El Cangrejo district, renowned for its delectable cheeses and hearty breakfasts. This spot, akin to quaint neighbourhood joints like Goose Hollow or Helvetia Tavern, promises a memorable start to your day.

Post-breakfast, catch a cab or Uber to the Miraflores Locks Visitor Center. Opening at 8:00 AM, it offers a chance to witness the engineering marvel of the Panama Canal. Check ship transit times online to catch the morning vessel movements if possible.

As your time is limited, consider dropping off your luggage at Albrook Airport before exploring further. From there, venture to Plaza de la Independencia in Casco Viejo, the historic district. Here, you can stroll through cobbled streets, admiring colonial architecture and soaking in the rich history of the old town.

With your layover coming to an end, head back to Albrook Airport around midday, giving you ample time for your 2 PM flight to David.

Where to Find the Best Snorkeling and Diving Adventures Post Layover: A Guide for Water Enthusiasts

Returning to Panama City from David, you’ll have five nights to explore further. For water enthusiasts, the Caribbean side offers the best snorkelling and diving experiences. Portobelo, close to Panama City, is a must-visit. Golden Frog Scuba stands out for its exceptional service and value, offering unforgettable underwater adventures.

For a unique experience, consider a catamaran cruise through the idyllic San Blas Islands. While the indigenous Guna community restricts diving, snorkelling in these crystal-clear waters is a dream for marine life enthusiasts.

If you’re intrigued by wildlife, the ‘Monkey Jungle’ or Monkey Island is accessible through operators in Gamboa. The Gamboa Rainforest Resort offers tours, including a visit to a sloth sanctuary. However, be aware that some travellers have noted difficulties in securing tour reservations with the resort.

For those who prefer terra firma, hiking opportunities abound. The Metropolitan Natural Park in Panama City and the trails in SoberanĂ­a National Park, like the popular Pipeline Road, offer chances to encounter wildlife, especially in the early hours.

With these insights and tips, your brief stay and subsequent return to Panama City will be filled with remarkable experiences, from urban explorations to natural wonders. For more detailed itineraries and travel advice, visit, your go-to guide for making the most of your travels.


How Can I Maximize My 6-Hour Layover in Panama City?

To make the most of a 6-hour layover in Panama City, start with a fulfilling breakfast at Artisana 1984 in El Cangrejo, then visit the Miraflores Locks at the Panama Canal. Conclude your brief tour with a stroll through the historic Casco Viejo before heading back to Albrook Airport for your onward flight.

Where is the Best Place for Breakfast During an Early Morning Arrival in Panama City?

For an early breakfast in Panama City, head to Artisana 1984 in the El Cangrejo district. Famous for its artisanal cheeses and hearty breakfasts, it’s the perfect spot to start your day in Panama.

What Are the COVID-19 Entry Requirements for Panama?

To enter Panama, adults are considered fully vaccinated if they have received both initial vaccinations and a booster. However, you can also enter with one Janssen shot and a negative COVID test. Always check the latest requirements before travelling.

When Do the Miraflores Locks Visitors Center Open, and What Can I See There?

The Miraflores Locks Visitor Center opens at 8:00 AM. It’s an ideal place to observe the fascinating operation of the Panama Canal, especially the transit of ships through the locks in the morning.

How Can I Experience the Best Snorkeling and Diving Near Panama City?

For the best snorkelling and diving near Panama City, head to the Caribbean side, specifically Portobelo. Golden Frog Scuba offers quality diving experiences. Alternatively, consider a catamaran cruise through the San Blas Islands for snorkelling.