Looking for ideas to celebrate New Year’s Eve in Panama City? When we booked a trip to Panama, we had no idea how tough it would be to figure out our New Year’s Eve plans. We could find PLENTY of stories about New Year’s in Panama City. Except one MINOR problem — the articles were nearly all on Panama City, Florida, rather than the city in Central America. You know, minor details!
It turns out that New Year’s Eve is a pretty big deal in Panama. But after chatting with a few locals, we learned that it’s a holiday for families. However, once the New Year hits, all the rules go out the window! Panamanians love to party. We’re talking packed bars, clubs and fireworks late into the early hours (light sleepers, bring some ear plugs!).
Below you’ll find our top picks for celebrating the New Year in Panama City. We personally checked out each of these spots — since not everything online is accurate (shocker, I know!). Take note, that this list was compiled for ringing in 2019. We recommend either arranging New Year’s Eve plans through your hotel concierge (or contacting the establishment yourself directly over the phone during business hours). Let’s just say, email wasn’t the most effective way. And if you arrive a few days ahead, go directly to the business and scope out your table.
So finally, drumroll please, check out our top 10 recommendations on where to ring in the New Year in Panama City, Central America (and not Florida… you’ll find plenty of blog posts on that!).
Casco Viejo Neighborhood
Hands down, the best neighborhood to base yourself. It is the historic part of the city and was once a pretty seedy area. No longer the case today. UNESCO is heavily involved in restoring these older buildings, with many housing small boutique hotels and restaurants.
It is also the most walkable part of Panama City and we felt safe the entire time. Just stick to streets with plenty of light and people (pretty much a commonsense approach for any larger city).
Lazotea Restaurant & Rooftop Bar
- Lazotea Restaurant & Rooftop Bar is our top pick! And where we made our reservation to celebrate 2019. For us, it was the perfect choice with both indoor and outdoor options. Plus, you can’t beat the view for the fireworks.
- Cost: $60 USD per person, which could be used as credit towards food or drinks all night.
- The party also included live DJ music on the rooftop deck. But the restaurant portion of the space balanced it out so it wasn’t a wild club.
- To RSVP, dial: 507-6851-6431 or 507-303-0994.
- Email: email@example.com
- We love a rooftop, clearly! But you won’t want to miss the fireworks everywhere on New Years. Casacasco would be another great option.
- If you want rooftop seating, you’ll need to make advance reservations. They didn’t have any more rooftop options available 1 week out.
- We also thought the food was better at Lazotea Restaurant.
- Cost: $150 USD per person, which includes a bottle of champagne and grapes.
- Alternatively, the manager told us that they often have first-come, first-serve seating at the bar where you’d just have to pay for drinks and the cover (around $20 USD).
- RSVP: Call +507 212-0040 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
American Trade Hotel
- American Trade Hotel is FANCY! And by far, they were the most responsive out of any establishment (even over email).
- Note, the seating is on the ground floor of the restaurant (not a rooftop view for fireworks).
- Cost: $145 USD per person plus 7 percent tax.
- For New Year’s Eve, they did a prix fixe dinner with a premium open bar. Jazz singer Idania Dowman performs during dinner and leads the countdown for the New Year.
- RSVP: Call 507-831-2056 or email: email@example.com
- Is a loud, crowded club more your scene? Well, look no further than the rooftop at the Tantalo Hotel.
- It took us all of 2 seconds to realize this wasn’t the scene we wanted, but know everyone has their own wants and needs. We won’t judge (too much!)
- Cost: Ranges from $85 USD to $250 USD pp (for VIP tables).
- For 2018-2019, Tántalo celebrated with the theme ‘La Vie in Rose.’ and promised plenty of “love, music and dancing.”
- RSVP: Phone: 507-262-4030 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Punta Pacifica Neighborhood
- JW Marriott Panama, formerly The Bahia Grand Panama Hotel, enjoys an oceanfront location in Panama’s iconic 932-foot building – the tallest in Central America.
- They offer a New Year’s Eve celebration that they describe as having a “sophisticated touch” at their Barcelona Restaurant.
- Cost: $ 180 per person (includes taxes)
- RSVP:507-215-8825 or email email@example.com
Business & Financial Neighborhood
Hard Rock Hotel Panama Megapolis
- We were originally booked at the Hard Rock Hotel, but decided to switch since the area is not very walkable. It’s mostly skyscrapers but there is a nearby mall. We were much happier in the Casco Viejo neighborhood.
- For 2018, Hard Rock threw a “Mega Rumba 2018 Masquerade Ball” from 8 PM to 2 AM.
- Cost: Ranged from $120 USD to $175 USD per person depending on the package.
- Price includes buffet dinner with open bottle premium drinks all night.
- The evening also includes live music, a play area for childen and other live shows.
- RSVP: Tickets were on sale for 2018-2109 at Panatickets.
- Sortis Hotel has a large and lovely spa. They also do a big celebration on New Year’s Eve.
- The party was held on the ground level (in Latin America it’s referred to as the BC level) beginning at 9 PM. It goes until the wee hours of 4 AM!
- Cost: $60 USD per person
- Price includes live music, DJ and open bar.
- RSVP: Call 507-398-8888 ext 8856 or email Reservaciones@sortishotel.com
- W Hotel Panama has a cool vibe. In fact, we always love the atmosphere at W Hotels.
- For 2018-2019, they hosted a New Year’s Eve party that started at 8 PM and went until 4 AM.
- Cost: Prices were $59 USD per person for just open buffet, $69 USD for open bar; or $123 USD for dinner and open bar per person.
- RSVP: Call 507-302-7555; Also another site called Pahoy World had additional information a few weeks prior to New Year’s Eve
Sheraton Grand Panama
- Hotels typically cater to visitors who want to celebrate New Year’s Eve (and don’t have family in Panama). Well, this spot is all about the family!
- Sheraton Grand Panama is another large hotel throwing a bash.
- Cost: $140 USD per person for adults and $65 for children
- Party will be held at their Casa Veranda and is geared for families. Starting at 9 PM, the rumba begins along with a buffet and open bar.
- RSVP: Call 507-305-6565
Go on a Boat
Canal and Bay Tours Panama
- Canal and Bay Tours Panama offers a New Year’s Eve party on the water. We obviously didn’t do this, but it’s a unique idea.
- Cost: $75 USD for adults, $50 for teenagers (12-17 years) and $40 for children (up to 11 years)
- The tour promises one of the best views of Panama City and the fireworks.
- Price includes dinner buffet, DJ and an open bar.
- Departs from La Playita de Amador at 9 PM. Don’t miss your ride!
- RSVP: Call 507 209 2002 or 507 6677 1576 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
And now you have plenty of options to celebrate New Year’s Eve in Panama City. And of course, no trip to Panama is complete without a journey to see the canal and picking up an iconic Panama Hat (which are actually made in Ecuador!). I feel so betrayed… yet that totally didn’t stop me from buying one.
Happy and safe travels!