How to get there: From Colombia you have to fly, we flew direct from Barranquilla for £180 each with Copa Airlines. Copa booked us a return to Barranquilla but agreed on changing our flight afterwards. When we arrived in Panama they wanted to charge us to change the return flight and after a lot of fighting with the company, we are still owed our money.
Arriving to Panama: Panama city is expensive, so if you are going on a budget, this country will damage it. We stayed at a reasonably cheap hotel for USD40 with breakfast included. The hotel called Ojos del Rio is located near the centre, and the service left us unimpressed. They will not let you check in until 14:00 exactly, not five minutes early. The receptionist that took care of our check-in was rather rude and lazy, she pointed at where to leave our luggage for the morning, but she didn't stand up once from her chair. We felt maybe they looked down their noses at us because we was Backpackers and this was a reasonable hotel.
We arrived to Panama City on a Sunday morning, which means everything was closed and we only managed to find breakfast at a Subway nearby. The city, was very pretty though and it does have the luxurious feeling that many big cities have. The main avenue is a beautiful place to walk around, I believe it's called Avenida Balboa. The reflection of the buildings on the Panama Canal makes it an ideal place to take pictures.
Most things to see in Panama City are manmade sights, like the ruins of Panama Viejo, the Albrook mall and the numerous museums spread around the city and the best way to see them is to take public transport to get around. Panama Viejo ruins are open every day of the week except on Mondays, and because we went on Monday we were unable to see them. There is a single metro line that you need a card for and you can share it as long as you have credit in it. Every trip costs USD0.35 but if you get out of the metro line, try with buses, we did not take any buses but there is an extensive line around the city.
Next to the Albrook mall, there is a bus station where you can travel national and internationally. To travel to Costa Rica by bus direct, it costs USD40 per person, so instead of spending USD80 to go straight to San Jose we took a bus to David, a town close to the border for USD16 each where you can then cross the border. Border does close at night though as we found out.