DAY 6 AM:
Sunday was my last day, though it was just a half-day because I had an afternoon flight. I attempted to sleep late, but church bells woke me up.
I tried to go to Cafe Shalom for coffee and found it closed, so I went to Cafe Duran at El Rey supermarket instead. Cafe Duran reminded me of Starbucks, since they had the first iced drinks I saw in Panama and the desserts looked industrial. I ordered ice coffee and an alfajor because it was my first time seeing my favorite Latin American cookie in Panama (it’s actually a dulce de leche filled cookie sandwich). The alfajor was mediocre, but the coffee was outstanding. I bought a couple bags to take home!
Random final thoughts/advice for potential travelers to Panama:
I had a great trip, but I can’t say Panama City is on my list of favorite places. As mentioned in previous posts, there is construction EVERYWHERE. It would be interesting to visit in 5-10 years because the cityscape will look entirely different and it will probably be closer to being “done” (or at least too crowded to build more). There is also a Frank Gehry designed BioMuseum that is currently under construction and should be interesting to visit in the future. At present time, I wouldn’t recommend more than two days at most in the city (do a tour one day and spend the second day exploring on your own).
This was my first time traveling alone and I really enjoyed it. I felt very safe in El Congrejo and would definitely recommend staying there over Casco Viejo, which has more interesting architecture, but a weird vibe.
People were very friendly and helpful. The only thing that slightly annoyed me was that multiple taxi drivers tried to ripe me off, though this also happened when I hung out with my travel buddy, so it’s not just a single female phenomenon.
My trip to El Valle de Anton was the highlight of my time in Panama. I also found the Gamboa Rainforest Resort gorgeous, but it was pricey and I was disappointed at the low number of monkey sightings. I have heard there are many other beautiful places to visit in Panama, but I was only there for five full days and I wanted to limit travel around the country and just relax. And relax I did!