A Walk along Cinta Costera
I love walking. I walk almost everywhere if it is a reasonable distance, not terribly far, and can find my way to the place I need to be relatively easy. To be perfectly honest, I do make exceptions sometimes and will take taxis if it is raining, insanely cold, or extremely hot and humid.
However, aside from the aforementioned reasons to take a taxi, I also enjoy walking because it allows me time to think about all kinds of different things or just take in the moment and realize how I lucky and fortunate I am to be able to travel to all of these unique places. Of course, one of the best parts of taking walks is if the route takes you past some beautiful scenery. For those of you who enjoy walking, Panama City has just the thing for you. Cinta Costera.
Cinta Costera is a 2.5km (1.5 mile) pedestrian bridge and roadway that surrounds Casco Viejo and provides and excellent and relatively unobstructed view of both old city of Panama City along with the new and modern skyscrapers that make up the current landscape of Panama City. It is an excellent place to walk, exercise, ride a bike, or relax on one of the many benches. Since it was my last day in the country, and I had seen pretty much everything I could see in the historic center, and the weather was relatively decent i.e. did not look like it would rain, I decided to walk the length of it to kill some time and do something a little less strenuous.
Getting to the walkway from my hotel was quite easy. It was not a long walk, and it took me to an area that I had not previously explored. When I got to the walkway, I was already sweating heavily with my back drenched since it was extremely humid. Part of me wanted to call it and head back into air conditioning, but I was determined to do this and forced myself to start the 1.5 mile walk from one end of the walkway to the other.
I'll admit it. It was a somewhat uncomfortable walk since it was extremely humid with very heavy air. In addition, while I did have water in my backpack, I had finished almost all of it, and I still was not even halfway to the other side.
The one water fountain I saw on the bridge did not work, so there was no way to refill my water bottle. However, there were many benches with shaded areas, so I took a few breaks and took in the view of Casco Viejo. Since it was it was mid-morning when I was walking, there were no other people on the walkway aside from two maintenance workers who were both napping on benches. I didn't blame them. Considering how hot it was, a nap in the shade seemed like a fine idea. Part of me was tempted to do something similar, but I kept walking since a little up ahead, I saw a nice viewing area that was part of the bridge and which had a lot of foliage and vegetation.
While my original plan was to walk the entire length, I decided to head back after making it a little over halfway. This was done for three reasons. First, even though it was somewhat cloudy, I was still getting red since I did not think to bring sunscreen. For whatever reason, it never occurred to me to bring something like that. Second, the bridge seemed to end in El Chorrillo, which is a not-so-good part of Panama City, and while it was still relatively close to Casco Viejo, I remember the taxi driver taking me through there the previous day and did not want to tempt fate. Finally, there were no bathrooms on this bridge, and all of the water that I had been drinking was finally catching up to me despite probably sweating most of it out. Hence, I ultimately decided to turn back and did not walk the entire thing but about 3/4 of it. Yet, I was still proud of myself. It was not only great exercise, but it also blessed me with wonderful views of the Panama City skyline that is filled with tens of dozens of skyscrapers of varying heights.
After heading back, I decided to walk around the historic center of Panama City one final time before returning back to the hotel and resting for a bit since the heat and humidity took the energy out of me. Plus, my red shirt was now a dark red because of the amount of sweat that had soaked through. It honestly looked like I had fallen into a puddle of water. After a couple hours of relaxing and napping in the hotel, I headed out for a last dinner in Panama. For my final dinner, I decided to head to place called Mahalo. I had passed by this place a couple times before, and it seemed like a decent and relatively cheap place, so I stopped in there and had a chicken wrap that was amazing. I definitely hope to return here one day in the future.
Overall, my trip to Panama was a success, especially since I finally got to take a trip through the famed Panama Canal. Even though I did not get to really explore Panama City in depth and stayed mainly in the historic center, it is my eventual goal to spend more time in the modern city the next time I return here since there is much more to see and do.
Have you ever been to Panama City? What did you think of it? Where are some other places I should visit the next time I am back? I would love to hear your feedback!