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Plaza Simón Bolívar

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Attractions Details

📌 Address

XF38+7HQ, Calle 4a Este, Panamá, Provincia de Panamá, Panama

Opening Hours

8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

Free

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expert
Cansu
Local tour guide
"Make sure to visit Plaza Bolivar in the late afternoon when the heat subsides; the square is much more lively then, with local musicians often playing, and you'll get a real feel for Panama City's vibrant culture. And don't miss out on the small chocolate shop tucked away in the corner of the plaza, where you can indulge in locally made artisanal treats that most tourists overlook."

What is Plaza Bolivar?

Plaza Bolivar is a quaint and significant square located in the heart of Casco Viejo, the historic district of Panama City. It's a place that emanates the charm of a bygone era, with cobbled streets and colonial buildings creating a backdrop that feels almost unchanged by time. This square is named after Simon Bolivar, the renowned liberator of much of South America from Spanish rule, and it's a gathering spot for both locals and visitors alike who come to soak in its tranquil ambiance and rich history.

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Surrounding the plaza, you'll find a plethora of impressive colonial-era buildings, and on any given day, the air is filled with the melodies of street musicians while friends and families sit on the benches enjoying the shade of the leafy trees. Unlike some of the major city squares around the world that bustle with frenetic energy, Plaza Bolivar retains a serene and contemplative mood, as if it's a sanctuary away from the urban rush—a treasure within the city that I always recommend for those looking to step back into Panama's storied past.

History of Plaza Bolivar

The history of Plaza Bolivar is deeply woven into the fabric of Panama's national identity. Originally known as Plaza de San Francisco due to the nearby San Francisco Church, its story dates back to the 17th century, when it was a municipal seat. Over the years, the plaza witnessed numerous important events, including the failed attempts by Simon Bolivar to establish a continental congress in 1826 to unify the independent territories of the Americas.

It was after these historical meetings, known as the Amphictyonic Congress, that the square was renamed in Bolivar's honor. Throughout the years, the plaza has seen everything from grand celebrations to the trials and tribulations that came with the country's push for independence. The history here can be felt not just in the plaques and statues that dot the square but in the very cobblestones that pave it, each whispering tales of the countless footsteps that have traversed them over centuries.

Why is Plaza Bolivar Important?

Plaza Bolivar stands out as an emblem of Panamanian resilience and pride, important not just for its historical significance but also as a living example of the country's cultural heritage. It's a landmark that commemorates the ambitious vision of Simon Bolivar for a united Latin America. Despite the fact that Bolivar's dream of unification was not realized, the plaza that bears his name continues to inspire and remind us of the ideals of liberty and solidarity.

For Panamanians, the plaza is a tangible connection to their history, a place where the past is preserved and honored. Culturally, it represents the confluence of European heritage with indigenous and African influences, as seen in the nearby architecture and cultural practices that take place within and around the square. It's also a symbol of Panama City's revival and revitalization, as Casco Viejo itself has undergone significant restoration to become a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with Plaza Bolivar very much at its heart.

Things to Do & See at Plaza Bolivar

When you visit Plaza Bolivar, there's a sense of calm that invites you to simply sit and appreciate the surroundings. However, this beautiful square offers more than just a place to relax. Take a moment to observe the architectures, like the San Francisco Church, which stands as one of the oldest in the city, with its pristine facade and towering presence. Adjacent to it, the National Theatre offers a glimpse into Panama's cultural life with its lineup of shows and impressive interior design.

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Wander around, and you might come across the Bolivar Palace, which now houses the Ministry of Foreign Relations. Although entry to the palace is not always possible, the exterior alone merits attention for its historical grandeur. Additionally, tucked within the nearby buildings, you'll find a selection of museums, including a museum dedicated to the history of the Panama Canal, which offers fascinating insights into one of the country's most monumental engineering feats.

And, of course, don't miss the gourmet experiences available in the area. Casco Viejo is known for its vibrant dining scene, and the plaza's proximity to some of the city's finest restaurants means that a culinary adventure is never far away. Enjoy a coffee at a local café, have a meal with a view of the square, or indulge in a glass of Panamanian rum at a nearby bar—each experience adding another layer to your understanding of Plaza Bolivar and Panama City's rich tapestry.

Frequently asked questions

What is Plaza Bolivar in Panama City?

Plaza Bolivar is a public square located in the historic district of Casco Viejo in Panama City, Panama. It is named after Simón Bolívar, a prominent leader in Latin America's independence from the Spanish Empire. The plaza is known for its significant historical value and is surrounded by notable colonial buildings.

What sites can be visited around Plaza Bolivar in Panama City?

Visitors to Plaza Bolivar can explore various points of interest, including the National Theatre of Panama, the Church of Saint Francis of Assisi, and other colonial-era buildings with impressive architecture. It's also a great place to enjoy local cafes and restaurants.

Are there any events or festivals held at Plaza Bolivar?

Plaza Bolivar is a hub of cultural activity in Panama City and hosts various events throughout the year, including festivals, open-air concerts, and celebrations of national importance. It's best to check the local event calendar when planning a visit.

Is there an entrance fee to visit Plaza Bolivar?

No, there is no entrance fee to visit Plaza Bolivar as it is a public square open to everyone. Visitors can enjoy the open space and the surrounding architecture free of charge.

What is the best time to visit Plaza Bolivar?

The best time to visit Plaza Bolivar would be early morning or late afternoon when the temperature is cooler, and the sunlight adds to the beauty of the architecture. However, visiting during a cultural event can also be a unique and vibrant experience.

Attractions Details

📌 Address

XF38+7HQ, Calle 4a Este, Panamá, Provincia de Panamá, Panama

Opening Hours

8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

Free

Find it on google maps