We spent the day sorting out shipping the van to Colombia. For a easy step-by-step guide of how to do all this, click here. The procedure was fairly painless and as along as you have a loads of copies of practically everything car related, you'll be fine. There's a lot of copiers in Panama City, so this is easy to do. As a general rule, copy 10 of every documentation, so that way you are more than covered.
We had an inspection in the morning, which took all of 10 minutes, then came back at 2pm to collect further documentation. NB. Both of these offices are across the way from each other. You have to wear formal clothes to access the police station (to pick up the documentation). As long as you are wearing trousers and shoes, this will suffice. As a further reminder, check all information on the forms you get back.
In the middle of the two appointments, we went to find the Baha'i House of Worship, which is located along the Transisthmian Highway. We couldn't find a way to get near the building, despite the fact we saw it loads on the hill. After paying several tolls and having a million arguments of who's fault and idea this was (admittedly I was the one who really wanted to see it), we gave up our mission and headed back to our 2pm appointment.
After sorting out the documentation, we walked around Casco Viejo (the historic district). It's easy it get parking here, so just head for a plaza. This district has plenty of character and charm, with some quaint restaurants and cafes. It's very Havana-esque. Go to Plaza de Francia, for great views of the skyscappers and sunset.
We also went to Mamallena hostel to pay for our transportation to get to the port (El Porvenir) to head to the San Blas Islands. For more information of this read our article.
In the evening we went back to Balboa Yacht Club to join the other overlanders. It's a safe area, you are able to use the toilet facilities and even parking outside you can pick up free wi-fi. We'd recommend it as a night patch if you have your own vehicle.