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Balboa is separated from Panama City by the Cerro Ancon (Ancon Hill), one of Panama City's skyline landmarks. Between the entrance of the Panama Canal and the City, it's the home of the Panama Canal Authority (ACP). Balboa is part of the what was called "Canal Zone" when the Americans still ran the Canal. Now the official term is 'areas revertidas' or reverted areas.
Besides many ACP administrative buildings and its landmark head office, there is a large residential area and a port. Like other residential areas built by the Americans the setup is very spacious and green as opposed to the typical Panamanian urban planning.
The ACP main administration building is worth a visit, especially when combined with a walk up Ancon Hill to enjoy the wildlife and beautiful views of the City and Panama Canal entrance.
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Balboa has a tropical climate with the temperature varying between 27 °C and 33 °C. Typical to tropical climates, Balboa has two seasons, a dry one and a wet one. The dry season, considered summertime, lasts from January to March and the wet season is from April through December, with the wettest months being October and November where average rainfall is above 23cm. Typically the other wet months see an average rainfall of between 8 and 15cm with April and December falling on the low end. During the wet season there is not necessarily non stop rain for days on end, but it usually rains at least once a day.
5 Minutes north of Balboa you'll find Albrook with its airport that handles all domestic flights and the huge Albrook Mall which is also home of the 'Gran Terminal' where all buses to/from Panama city arrive and depart.
Niko's Cafe (affordable food) is located at Old Balboa Bowling near to Banco Nacional and Correos Telegrafos.
There are many restaurants inside the Food Courts of Albrook Mall.
You'll also find some hostels, B&B's and hotels in Balboa.
Internet cafes can be found in cities and most major towns. Wifi is on the rise though with many hotels, restaurants and bars offering this services, especially in the major tourist areas like Panama City, Bocas del Toro and Boquete. Some mountainous or off the beaten track areas might not have any internet services at all.
See also International Telephone Calls
Panama's country code is 507. All cellular numbers start with the number 6 and have 8 digits. Land line phone numbers have 7 digits. 911 is the general emergency phone number.
Calls to the USA and Europe are between 4 and 10 cents a minute. The best way to make international calls from Panama is to buy prepaid telephone cards that are sold at every corner. The most popular is the TeleChip card. If you bring your cellphone, you can choose to buy a local simcard, instead of paying high charges for internet use through your home provider.
Correos y Telegrafos is the national postal company of Panama. It provides a wide range of services though you usually have to use the post offices for both sending and receiving mail and packages, including buying stamps. Post offices can be found in many cities and towns and are open from 6:30am to 5:45pm Monday to Friday and 7:00am to 5:00pm on Saturday. Domestic mail takes several days but to the USA and Europe for example it can take anywhere from 5 to over 10 days depending on the country. For sending larger packages, you might also consider using companies like FedEx, TNT, UPS or DHL, as they offer fast, reliable and competitively priced services as well.
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