Beautifully designed and educational, too! The Mar Luna Aquarium is a world class experience. Adopt a clown fish, marvel at the jellyfish room, relax with a sea turtle, and enjoy the maze-like tunnels with colorful fish happily swimming all around. #AcuarioMarLuna is one of Mar Luna’s most common Instagram tags.
A three-block radius of crafts and arts, it’s also the home of two well-known cafes: Tea Quiero and Cafecionado.
A Tabogan-Egyptian fusion bakery known as the home of the viral sensation, the “singing baker.” No videos are allowed anymore, though the baker does still sing. If the idea of Manjar Blanco Kunafa appeals to you, then you have to visit Azúcar.
Funded by UML, this museum covers the history of Mar Luna, as well as exhibits on scientific development headed by the university, and education on local plant and animal life. Its cheerful, modern design makes it feel almost like a playroom. A great destination for visiting families and anyone who likes science and nature.
If you like music, theatre, dance, or just big pretty performance centers, this is the place for you. There’s a yearly film festival held every September, as well as several spaces for perennial theatrical, symphonic, and dance programs. It also, in conjunction with UML, provides programming for local kids in the arts, with free classes in dance and music. Just stay out of Ofelia Bravo’s box in the East Wing. She’ll know if you touch her private bar.
Hands-down, the best cup of coffee in Mar Luna. There’s an open mic night every Thursday and painting classes on Sunday afternoons (but you must RSVP in advance).
Central Park was designed around its neighboring waterways. It boasts outdoor concerts, pop-up markets, food trucks and stands, running and bicycle paths, and beautiful views of the river.
Riding a horse aside the surf, the sun lowering over the ocean in the distance... This is the once-in-a-lifetime kind of joy that Del Mar Riding Tours wants YOU to experience during your visit to Mar Luna. Located in Harbor Town, it costs $$$ to go on one of these tours, but the horses are all relaxed (sometimes too relaxed; sometimes they stop and enjoy the view and won't move for anything), and at the end of the tour, you get a free treat to feed your new best friend.
Whenever a tourist asks the question, “What’s the best fish in town?” There's only one answer: “Donde Doña Delfina.” The small restaurant, Fonda Delfina, is located in Taboga Town, and it’s been around for decades while maintaining the incomparable quality and prices of their dishes. They specialize in all sorts of traditional Panamanian cuisine. While Doña Delfina has passed down the torch to her daughter, Diana Santos, she’s still seen every day trying to do all the work despite her age.
A large, partially outdoors art gallery/museum funded by the rich Bravo family. It hosts both historical and international works as well as has a wing for contemporary artists and displays. The outdoor aquatic sculpture garden is another one of those spots that dominates Instagram.
One of the tallest buildings in Mar Luna, designed by the famous architect Gerardo Cedeño, its exceptional view and marvellous design make it a tourist hotspot, though the rooms are so expensive, only oligarchs can afford to stay. The restaurant-bar on the top floor (The Silver Spoon) is more reasonable, at least for brunch.
This botanical garden, founded in 1979, is one of the earliest public works in Mar Luna history. Spanning dozens of acres, it hosts over 10,000 taxa of plants. Of particular interest is the Moon Garden (a lotus pool surrounded by Japanese cherry trees), the Garden of the Prince (a rose garden that can be rented for weddings for a hefty deposit), and the Home Trail (an area that is strictly plants and trees from the region—guayacan and carao trees, Holy Ghost orchids, passion flowers, and more).
After a day of sun and sweat and sand, your skin will long for rejuvenation. Fear not, because Level S is here to provide with services including reflexology, hydrotherapy, and massage, as well as manicures, facials, kelp wraps, body scrubs, waxing, saunas—even a sensory deprivation tank! Individually, the services might seem expensive, but most of their packages are actually a bargain...all things considered. Plus, you can relax with a glass of bubbly afterward, and return customers are eligible for discounts.
Relax with friends and too-loud-for-conversation playlist of reggaeton at this hole-in-the-wall hookah lounge located Downtown. Cocktails are cheap, the mint in the mint tea is grown behind the lounge (so locally sourced), and the coffee is strong (and likewise roasted, with cardamom of course, on the premises). Their menu offers over thirty shisha flavors, as well as seasonal specials, and even a few tobacco-free options.
A two-storey bookstore. The first floor has a wide variety of books, but the second floor is entirely used textbooks. There’s an in-store cafe and bakery, with seating outside in a small green area with an ocean view. Pandora’s Box is also known for its Dollar Bin Box and for its Dollar Bin Book Club every Thursday.
Famous for its wide range of floral teas (and floral based coffee blends), Tea Quiero blends the sensibility of a tea shop with the need for caffeine...and the flowers and greenery make it a beautiful place to sit and read, too—if you can land a table. There are only two in this hole-in-the-wall cafe.
The favorite bar-slash-arcade of pretty much everyone that likes their beer plentiful and cheap...and/or arcade games—but no beer in the arcade.
Though it’s now in competition with larger chains, the Muscle Bar is a Residential District staple. It’s modernized its look to keep up with the times, but still run by the same old crotchety man who can out-squat any youngster who gets too uppity. Boasting a wealth of strength and weight training equipment, cardio and yoga classes, and personal trainers—as well as a smoothie bar—it’s a popular place for the athletically inclined.
A fancy restaurant famous for its dramatic guayacan trees and plant life. The food is good too, probably.