Visiting Museums in Panama City

Information on visiting the art, history and science museums in Panama City, with details of opening hours...

Museums in Panama City tend to be small with few exhibits and little explanation (rarely in English).

Admission fees to museums in Panama are reasonable and there are discounted rates for students and senior citizens. It is not usually possible to purchase tickets in advance. However, long queues are uncommon.

Museums in Panama City

The Panama Canal Museum (Museo del Canal Interoceánico) explains the history of the Panama Canal through images, video, documents and the stories of those who helped build it. All information is in Spanish only, but an audio guide is available in English.

  • The Panama Canal Museum
    At: Calle 6ª Oeste, Panama City
    Tel: 211 1649
    Open: Tuesday to Sunday 09:30-17:00

The Miraflores Vistors Center Museum (Centro de Visitantes de Miraflores, CVM) is a four-level museum located on the Miraflores Lock, about 20 minutes outside Panama City. The museum consists primarily of permanent exhibitions on the history, future, operation and marine ecology of the canal, as well as its national and global significance. Highlights include an opportunity to participate in a simulated canal transfer in a to-scale cargo ship bridge, and canal observation decks that allow visitors to watch the locks in action from a few meters away. Snack bars, a shop, and a restaurant are on site, and advance reservations for the latter are recommended.

  • The Miraflores Visitors Center
    : Canalside East, Panama City
    : 276 8325 / 276 8849
    : Monday to Sunday 09:00-17:00 (Restaurant 12:00-23:30)

The Reina Torres de Araúz Museum of Anthropology (El Museo Antropológico Reina Torres de Araúz) is a museum of pre-Colombian art, with a collection of fine ceramics and gold huacas. Highlights of the museum's collection of over 15,000 pieces include carvings of stone figures from the Barilles culture, and the gold collection of ceramics, jewelry, armor and figures of animals.

  • Reina Torres de Araúz Museum of Anthropology
    : Plaza 5 de Mayo, Panama City
    Open: Monday to Friday 09:00-16:00

West Indian Museum of Panama (Museo Afro Antillano de Panamá): Exhibits include photography, art and artifacts from the West Indian group that contributed to the building of the Panama Canal.

Natural Science Museum (El Museo de Ciencias Naturales): Features geological and paleontological finds as well as mammals, reptiles and other species of fauna and flora. Some of the stuffed and mounted animals on display are a jaguar, howler monkeys and a giant iguana. There is also an exhibit of the fossilized bones of a 50,000 year-old sloth.

  • Natural Science Museum
    : Avenida Cuba between Calle 29 and Calle 30, Panama City
    Tel: 225 0645
    Open: Tuesday to Saturday 09:00-16:00

The Panamanian History Museum (El Museo de la Historia de Panamá) has general information on the history of Panama from the colonial period to modern times. Although small, the museum features some objects highlighting essential moments of Panama's history. These include a flag stitched by the wife of Panama's first president Manuel Amador, and a handwritten draft of a telegram that was sent by revolutionaries to the superintendent of the Panama Railroad. The draft of the telegram is dated 3 November 1903, which was the day that Panama became independent.

  • Panamanian History Museum
    : Palacio Municipal, in front of Parque Catedral in Casco Viejo
    Tel: 228 6231

The Museum of Colonial Religious Art (Museo de Arte Religioso Colonial) has religious art pieces dating from the 16th century including paintings, sculptures, chalices and church bells.

  • Museum of Colonial Religious Art
    : Calle 3, next door to the Iglesia Santo Domingo and the Flat Arch, Casco Viejo
    Tel: 228 2897
    Open: Tuesday to Saturday 08:30-16:30

Contemporary Art Museum (El Museo de Arte Contemporáneo - MAC): Exhibits art by celebrated Panamanian and renowned international artists, as well as works by artists from Latin America. It also runs workshops in serigraphy and framing and is an event venue for concerts, conferences and exhibitions.

National Bank House Museum (Casa Museo Banco Nacional): Numismatic museum displaying a collection of coins as well as stamps dating back to the 16th century. The museum is situated within an elegant house built in 1925, with marble staircases and wrought iron fixtures.

  • National Bank House Museum
    : Calle 34 and Avenida Cuba, Panama City
    Tel: 225 0640

The Panama Biodiversity Museum (Biomuseo): Although not yet open fully or on a regular basis, the museum will be among the largest and best-resourced of its kind once construction is complete. Guided tours, which are available on weekends, may be canceled without notice owing to construction works. Booking is essential.

  • Biomuseo Panama (in Spanish)
    At: Calzada de Amador, Panama City
    Open: Tours at 13:00 on Saturdays and Sundays
    Reservations (in Spanish)