Panama City Mayor Juan Carlos Navarro is one of Latin America's rising political stars, and was the youngest person ever elected to the mayor's office, in 1999, when he was 37 years old. His passion for Panama City is infectious, as is his dedication to the environment, having founded the country's leading environmental organization, ANCON. "This is Panama City's decade," he says, referring to his multimillion dollar modernization plan. "And we've just begun." Navarro has thrown his hat into the election ring, and is hoping to be Panama's next president, to be chosen in May of 2009. Here are a few of Navarro's favorite things about Panama City:
Octopus ceviche at the Fish Market.
The Jazz Festival in late January "is a well-kept secret -- it's one of the best in the world, and it's free." The weeklong series has ticketed indoor events but hosts one free full-day show in Plaza Catedral in Casco Viejo. Bring your own chairs, picnic lunch, cold beers, and sunscreen for this unparalleled event (visit www.panamajazzfestival.com for updated information).
Jogging at 6am on the Amador Causeway. "Do your workout as the sun rises over the city -- it's one of the most beautiful views in the world."
The raspados at Las Bóvedas (Plaza Francia in Casco Viejo). Raspados are Sno-cones made from ice shavings, fruit syrup, and a dollop of condensed milk -- delicious and very addictive. The vendors, old timers with hand carts, are famous in Panama City and have been around for an eternity.
The restaurant Chimborazo, famous for its parihuela, a seafood stew that "gets you walking again" after a hard night out on the town.
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