Panama is world famous for its canal which connects the Pacific and the Atlantic Ocean. But there is much more to this country… A combination of stunning wildlife, and industrial city life, make it a fantastic place to visit. Here are our 5 top destinations in this unique location:
1. Panama Canal
The canal, joining the Atlantic and the Pacific Ocean, is what Panama is best known for. It was built in 1914 and took 17 years to create this 48-mile passage. With Panama tours taking visitors up and down the canal, there are plenty of opportunities to see it in full. The natural landscape has been utterly reshaped by this man-made wonder. However, it is still green and luscious, teeming with wildlife, indigenous cultures and dense jungles.
2. Casco Viejo
At night, Casco Viejo is the perfect edgy and cosmopolitan city. With music on the streets and a new bar around every corner. Head up to Plaza Francia to watch the sunset and amazing views over the city. In the day there are designer and boutique shops to explore, and authentic markets at Plaza de La Indepencia. When you tire of the modern skyscrapers across the bay, old town Panama City is filled with tiled roofs and Spanish colonial architecture.
3. Bocas del Toro
For most travellers, Bocas del Toro is the epitome of the perfect Caribbean coast. The nine tropical islands here still retain a strong West Indian influence, and with the stunning beaches, emerald sea, and swaying palms, there are loads to do and see here. The main attractions are the scuba diving and surfing breaks, but there are many wilder islands to explore as well if you want to enjoy a more private and secluded break.
4. Parque Nacional Coiba
This national marine park is perfect for nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts. As Panama’s largest island, Isla de Coiba is 503 km square and is filled with different species of animals and marine life. More than two dozen species of dolphin and whales have been found here, including sperm, humpback and killer. On shore there is an abundance of crocodiles, turtles and reptiles, with birds filling the palms and jungle.
The stunning mountain town of Boquete is found at the foot of the Baru Volcano. It is known for its abundance of outdoor activities set in a paradise landscape. Hiking, white water rafting and rock climbing are all available here, along with canopy touring and meeting the friendly locals and try the vegetables and citrus fruits that grow in abundance here. The region is also home to the best coffee growers in the world. The locally grown beans can be tasted on coffee tours and in the cafes. The most expensive coffee is sold here, Cafe Geisha at $40 a cup!
There are so many other places to visit in the stunning land. Though it is worth noting that pregnant women are advised not to visit at the moment, due to the risk of the Zika Virus. As with any tropical climate, ensure you have had all your vaccinations and immunisations before travelling, and enjoy the wild and beautiful land!