Everyone loves a pair of sassy sisters. You know the type. We’re talking about life-of-the-party hermanas with a devil-could-care attitude. They’re the ones you call up when you want to do tequila shots after a 10-hour work day…on a Tuesday. When it comes to finding two cities that embody just such a spirit, we think newly minted sister cities Panama City and San Diego fit the bill quite nicely. And when we searched the corners of our imaginations for two real-life sisters that exhibit the traits of these vibrant cities, well, the answer was pretty easy. Sofia Vergara of “Modern Family” fame and her sister Sandra are a lot like Panama City and San Diego. Each has equal beauty and a spicy personality, one with a bit more history behind her. Here is (almost) everything you need to know about San Diego and her sister city Panama City:
Fried Food and Carne Asada: Chow Down in Panama City and San Diego
The food in Panama City can be just spicy enough to have you sweating like a Real Housewife taking a literacy test. The ceviche, for instance, traditionally includes habanero pepper. But much like Sofia Vergara has a soft side to complement her booming personality, Panama City also offers dishes drenched in sweet coconut milk. From donut-like hojaldras in the morning to sancocho chicken stew after a late night of… reading (or, whatever), the food in Panama City is no joke.
If you’re on the U.S. side of this sister city match, prepare to scarf down the best Mexican food north of the border. We’re talking “wear a bib and leave your pride at the door cause it’s gonna get messy” good. However, don’t think San Diego is only about (delicious, mind-blowing) carne asada fries. Similar to how Sandra Vergara tries her hand at jobs varying from actress to talk-show host, her spirit city San Diego dabbles in every type of culinary experience. Head to North Park for a bounty of breweries with scrumptious menus, and leave room for a farm-to-table meal in University Heights.
Canals and Bridges: Famous Sites in Coastal Sister Cities
Much like Sofia Vergara perfectly blends her Colombian persona with a mainstream American sitcom, the Panama Canal merges the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. The next time you’re in Panama, trot yourself over to the Miraflores Visitor Center and take a duckface selfie in front of this historic landmark (Sofia would approve). Other noteworthy spots in Panama City include Avenida Balboa and Casco Viejo district.
If Panama City is the older, regal sister, San Diego is the younger, spunky sibling. Yeah, Sandra is still growing up, earning her stripes in the limelight, and so is San Diego. While SD’s landmarks aren’t exactly ancient, especially compared to Panama City, there’s still lots to see. The Coronado Bridge, which connects mainland San Diego to its neighboring peninsula, is worth a photo op. You should also drive over it at sunset for a view you won’t forget. While you’re in America’s Finest City, don’t forget to stop at Balboa Park and the Gaslamp District.
Buses, and Trolleys, and Cars – Oh, My!
Sofia Vergara plays a doting mother on “Modern Family,” and she has helped guide her sister’s career in real life. It makes sense, then, that Panama City also makes sure its visitors get where they need to go. You can use rechargeable orange cards to pay for your bus fare, so there is no need to stress about carrying the right coins when you step on board. Of course, you can also chase down a flat-rate taxi. Or if you want to feel your luscious extensions (erm… locks) blowing in the wind a la Sofia, just rent your own car and roll those windows down.
When it comes to her professional advancement and personal style, Sandra tends to ride the next wave as it comes. Visitors to San Diego also need to be pretty “go with the flow,” at least if they want to use the public transit system. While the city has a trolley, the routes are not expansive, and navigating the bus system could leave you cross-eyed (not a good look). You have beaches to cartwheel down and Taco Tuesdays to attend, so it’s best to rent a car or call a cab while you’re in town.
One Thing You Can’t Miss
Panama City has a slew of creatures beautiful enough to compete with Sofia, believe it or not. You can see many of them on a peaceful hike on Ancon Hill. As you make your way up a trail through lush rainforest, keep your eyes peeled for the likes of sloths(!) and exotic birds. At the top of the hill, you’re rewarded with unparalleled views of the city. Not to be outdone by the beauty of Panama City, sister city San Diego offers its own wealth of stunning views. Embody the free spirit of Sandra by making a visit to the pier in eccentric Ocean Beach. Not only can you fish off the side of the pier, but the sunsets are truly postcard perfect from this vantage point. And the people watching…well, you’ll have to see it to believe it.
From Panama City to San Diego, these sister cities are far from competing with each other. Why would they bother when they’re equally talented, cultured, and entertaining? Whether you’re traveling ECP to SAN or SAN to ECP, you can’t go wrong. Grab your best tight dress (gentlemen too, why not?) and book your ticket ahora!