The country of Panama is a paradise of coastal waters, jungles full of abundant wildlife, and vibrant cities filled with friendly residents. Its unique distinction as a section of land called an isthmus led to the construction of the famous Panama Canal, which was completed in 1914; however, Panama has so much more to offer travelers.
On the Atlantic coast of Panama, visitors can experience the flair of the Caribbean and the unparalleled beauty of the San Blas Islands, located just off the country's northern coast. Of the approximately 378 islands that make up the stunning island chain, less than 50 are inhabited. Travellers can book sailing trips and fish with the native Kuna people in the pristine turquoise waters of the Caribbean.
The capital of Panama City, located at the Pacific entrance to the Canal, is home to world-class shopping and exciting clubs, and the city boasts architectural styles from every period of the city’s rich history, from colonial Spanish-inspired to high-rise skyscrapers. Panama City is also home to an iconic Carnival celebration every spring, attracting revelers from across the globe. A uniquely Panamanian feature of Carnival is the addition of the cuelcos, trucks that simultaneously blast music and water onto those celebrating in the city streets. Many Carnival attendees bring their own water guns to join in the fun.
Even nature enthusiasts have much to explore in Panama's lively capital – the tropical forests that surround the canal are part of the vast Parque Natural Metropolitano, and Panama City lies on the edge of the rainforest. Some animals and plants that tenacious hikers may come across when taking a jungle trek through Panama are found nowhere else on Earth: including Kalko’s Round-Ear Bat, the Panamanian Golden Frog, and several species of orchid.
The highest point in Panama is Volcán Barú, a dormant but active volcano. Located just east of the Costa Rican border, travellers who make the journey to the top of Barú on a clear day will be astonished to see that both the Atlantic and Pacific can be seen from the mountain’s peak.
The splendors of Panama can be seen by plane, by boat, and on foot. When you discover this jewel for yourself, you’ll find that the country is not completely crammed with tourists yet offers once-in-a-lifetime experiences, amazing cuisine from the heart of the sea, and some of the most beautiful beaches in the world.