Really more of a whirlwind than a visit, I was able to extend my 12-hour layover into a quick 3 days visit. In my eyes, Panama has been the most modern of all Central American cities, but many parts of the city today are almost unrecognizable since last visit 3-1/2 years ago. The new malls rival Miami as a shopping destination. Panama has completely Transformed Avenida Balboa into a beautiful seaside promenade (before and after). Begun a decade ago, they continue the transformation of Casco Viejo (old town) from a slum, avoided by all Panamanians, into the country’s only colonial district.
With more than 1,500 miles of Coastline, tiny Panama is all about the see food. My favorite fish in Caribbean; Pargo Rojo (Red Snapper), was my first dinner. Also, while I know that the Latin American cholera outbreaks in the 1990’s were blamed on ceviche, shrimp ceviche was still at the top of my culinary list during my brief stay. While each country prepares Ceviche differently, it’s core is seafood which is “chemically cooked” in lemon juice, onions (Panama adds hot pepper sauce). And finally my last day, I had the most popular fish in Panama (by far); corvina (Sea Bass).