Panama is a narrow ‘S’ shaped isthmus of land, a corridor between South and Central America. Situated south of Nicaragua and Costa Rica, and to the north of Colombia, its role as a regional crossroads has shaped its history and destiny. The famous Panama Canal has continued to fascinate people since its inception. It is a feat of engineering that raises ships 26 metres while travelling the 67km between the Pacific Ocean to the Caribbean Sea. No one visiting the country should fail to visit the canal, but Panama holidays can offer visitors so much more.
Panama City’s historic old town has been undergoing renovation and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are an increasing number of boutique hotels to choose from and new restaurants and cafés to visit. A day trip from the capital can take you deep into the Chagres National Park to spend an action-packed day in the rainforest with the Embera Parara Puru Community. This is a highly recommended addition to any Panama holiday.
Panama is also a superb beach destination. The idyllic Bocas del Toro islands on its Caribbean coastline, near the border with Costa Rica, have white sand beaches and aquamarine waters, fringed by lush rainforests. Spot dolphin, snorkel and look out for Hawksbill, Leatherback and
Green turtles. Further east, the San Blas Archipelago is jaw-droppingly beautiful and home to the indigenous Kuna Indians. As the country becomes a destination in its own right, increasingly visitors choose to tailor-make holidays to Panama that incorporate time relaxing on a picturesque beach.
In contrast to the modern engineering typified by the canal, there are also many opportunities to see wildlife on a holiday to Panama. The verdant mountains around Boquete, near the border with Costa Rica, are dotted with coffee and strawberry plantations. Here the cooler cloud forests are home to a wide variety of tropical birds, including the much sought after Quetzal, and the picturesque countryside is ideal for walking.