Panama is a narrow isthmus that sits between Central and South America, between Costa Rica and Colombia. Famous for its canal – an incredible feat of civil engineering – this 67-kilometre long waterway raises ships some 26 metres between the two oceans and since the inception of the canal in 1914, has provided an alternative route to rounding Cape Horn, knocking 8,000 miles off the original journey.The canal stretches from the Miraflores Lock near Panama City on the Pacific side through rainforests and passing through several other locks before reaching Gatun Locks near Colon, on the Caribbean side.

Fringing the banks of the canal just over an hour from Panama City is the Soberania National Park. Considered one of Panama’s best birding spots; 525 species call the park home and there are many trails to explore. 

On the Caribbean coast, you’ll find traces of a turbulent history; tales of pirates and smuggling, shipwrecks, Spanish colonial forts and cannons. A visit to peaceful Portobello on the Caribbean coast allows for an insight into this exciting history. With a backdrop of lush jungle and surrounding white beaches; the once heavily fortified town, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, served as a stronghold by the Spanish in order to protect riches coming up from the Inca Empire to then be transported to Spain.

Sarah Frankish

Travel Specialist

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