When traveling to Aruba through Panama City (and solo abroad for the first time), a lovely French Canadian couple Patrick + Nadine (who speak English and Spanish, respectively) of La Belle Cite had same-day availability on AirBNB, and they made my experience a breeze.
Patrick and Nadine arranged a taxi for me from the airport, which I hadn’t thought of but probably should have, but hey it was my first time, OK?
The driver brought me to their apartment, the Terrawind, in a bustling but safe area just across from the ATLAPA Convention Center. They greeted me warmly and showed me all around the building (gym, pool, security, etc.) before welcoming me into their cleanly decorated BNB apartment complete with balcony and both skyline and ocean views. Full pics here.
There were three available rooms in their place that were all open when I stayed, so they gave me the choice between a skyline or ocean view. They all had private locks, fresh towels and little BNB rules in frames by the beds. Very cute.
There were city guidebooks all around the unit but they were so excited to make recommendations and share their love for Panama City I definitely didn’t need to reference them. There were only a few hours in my schedule, and they recommended I check out Casco Viejo, “the old town.” They gave me estimates of how much getting around should cost so the cabbies wouldn’t take advantage, and were enthusiastic (but not overbearing) about sharing Panama City with me.
The regular and chicken buses pick up right in front of their apartment and take about 20 minutes plus another 10 on foot to get to the Casco Viejo area. There are a handful of restaurants within walking distance, and popular bar/restaurant area Uruguay St. is only a 5-minute cab ride away.
Patrick + Nadine greeted me cheerily with a breakfast of freshly sliced local fruits, toast, peanut butter, hard-boiled eggs, Panamanian coffee (necessary after my night’s adventures) and more at 8am and we practiced our languages with each other chatting about my eventful night in Casco Viejo and their journey to Panama City.
I’m mostly always in favor of an AirBNB experience, but Patrick + Nadine were so warm and welcoming this one really stood out. They truly made my trip feel like a visit home.
What’s the best AirBNB experience you’ve had? Will you try it if you haven’t?
($25 off your first time with my referral code!)