If you’re a long-term resident of Panama City or a short-term visitor, an experience you simply must try is the easy, 4.3-mile walk along the ocean known as the Coastal Belt. Not only will you be able to view the beautiful ocean and beach, parts of Panama Bay, and even the Canal, but the route along the sea will eventually take you to the world-famous Panama Fish Market, also known as the Coastal Belt Seafood Market, a cultural epicenter where you will be able to find and eat the freshest seafood around, right after you’ve worked up your appetite.
Not much into physical activity, particularly on vacation? No worries! You can cut out much of the distance of this hike along the beach if you like, and the elevation gain is minimal. Read on for more information about the sights and tastes you’ll experience along the way.
Coastal Beltway: The Seaside Promenade
Panama’s Coastal Belt, also known as the Cinta Costera, is divided into three distinct sections, making it easy for you to wander into many parts of Panama City and back to the beach again. The trail starts in the upscale central neighborhood of Paitilla and ends all the way in the center of Casco Viejo, or Old Town Panama.
If you’re worried about getting a foot sore, don’t stress. There are many stops along the way and plenty of places to rest. The route takes you through beautiful public gardens, plazas, beaches, shops, lookouts, and even popular dishes, or circular lookouts built on a section of the Coastal Belt Panama that is a boardwalk built right over the ocean. Seriously, you have to see these popular dishes to believe it.
Be ready to be delightfully distracted during your stroll along Panama Bay and the heart of the city.
Sights and Attractions by the Panama Coastal Beltway
The Coastal Belt Panama also has bike paths separate from the walking paths, so you can take a faster trip along the Bay as well if you wish. Either way, there is no shortage of excuses to stop and look around at many areas on the path.
If you start in Paitilla, you can wander through the beautiful Japanese garden, then proceed about a kilometer down the beltway and reward yourself with a famous local treat: a raspa’o panameño at Anayansi Plaza. This frozen dessert is crushed ice bathed in sweet condensed milk and fruit flavoring. Perfect for a humid day.
Two more kilometers down the Coastal Belt is the Mirador del Pacífico, a famous lookout where you can get excellent pictures. A popular digression from this lookout is to the Coastal Belt Seafood Market, where you can get the freshest fish and other seafood cooked to your liking, and even get yourself a $1 cup of ceviche if you only need a snack.
Many people end their journey at the Mirador del Pacifico, but if you want to continue, you won’t be disappointed. From here, you’ll discover the majestic boardwalk that takes you into the middle of the water, with excellent views on either side and the famous, vaguely futuristic dishes. The Beltway ends in the heart of Casco Viejo, where you can peruse the beautiful local food of the Sabores de El Chorrillo, a series of local, family-owned restaurants serving traditional Panamanian fare.
What Sports Activities can be done in this Panamanian coastal walk?
The whole of the Coastal Belt Panama path offers several opportunities to step off the road and get involved in the local culture by stepping into a soccer game or simply watching the locals duke it out on the pitch. You’ll see tennis and basketball courts, playgrounds for children, and plenty of green space to take a break and watch the water and the people go by.
Local Events and Fairs
In the Paitilla neighborhood and of course in Casco Viejo, you can expect to run into periodic fairs and events celebrating the local culture. Every November 4th, for example, is the Panama in the Park celebration, which commemorates Panamanian Independence Day. You can find celebrations of this occasion throughout the city, particularly in Casco Viejo and in many of the parks and green spaces along the Coastal Belt.
Stroll the Coastal Belt of Panama City with us
A great feature of the Coastal Belt Panama is that you can always choose your own adventure. With all the shops, restaurants, the famous Coastal Belt Seafood market, lookouts, parks, and community spaces, you could walk the Belt every day and have a different experience every single time. Whether you’re staying in Panama on business, relocating to Panama, or just looking for a good place to vacation, you must spend some time watching the Panama Bay waters and taking in the sights of the city from the Coastal Belt. Make sure to check out this vibrant, dynamic, and picturesque path through Panama City.