Tales about Aviation, Coaching, Farming, Software Development

City is dead during Carnival in Panama

If you are thinking about visiting Panama City, Panama, during the week of Carnival, you should come well prepared and book everything well in advance. Most of the restaurants are closed, no car rental agency has any cars available and all other services won't work - except in the large hotels. Even the bars are closed.

Yes, you do read right. One would expect that restaurants and bars would be packed this time of the year. Not so in Panama. Panama is a country with customs of its own.

On major public holidays the wealthy people flee the capital and drive over the Bridge of the Americas, which crosses the Panama Canal, to the countryside (el interior as they say here; everything beyond that two-lane bridge is el interior). There they spend a few days in lovely country homes or beach homes with friends putting on their own party, while the rest of the people, those who can't afford a car and a leisure home, gather for the carnival festivities in a designated area of the city spraying water at each other and dance to reggae influenced vibes.