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The most modern capital in Central America, Panama City is both vibrant metropolis and a short gateway to tropical beach paradises. Many worlds coexist here. Welcoming both east and west, Panama is a regional hub of trade, business, cultural events and immigration. A diverse multicultural city of more than a million, Panama City offers a lot more than an up-close view of the Canal. Old town’s ruins slink up alongside shiny high-rise condos. The expanding urban city is busy with traffic jams, wayward taxis and casinos stacked between five star hotels, restaurants and shopping malls. The center of international banking and trade, with a skyline of shimmering glass and steel towers is reminiscent of Miami. The Old City is an atmospheric labyrinth of churches, plazas and palaces. In contrast to the old, the peninsula of Casco Viejo has become a thriving colonial neighborhood where cobblestones streets link boutique hotels with street side bars, cafes, restaurants and popular fish market with fresh seafood daily. Fifteen miles from downtown Panama City, National Park is an excellent destination for hiking and birding. For a fascinating look at the canal, take a taxi or local bus to Miraflores Locks Visitor Center and look down on the traffic below.