The “Latin Manhattan”, as some call it due to the impressive skyscrapers that arise from the coast of the Pacific Ocean, is a cosmopolitan, multicultural and multiracial city. To the west, the country borders with Costa Rica and to the east with Colombia, while the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean form its natural limits to the north and south, respectively.
Panama has thousands of kilometres of coastline and a mountainous area.
Most of the country is covered with relatively untouched jungle. The country enjoys a purely tropical climate, with constant temperatures all year round and two seasons: one dry and one rainy.
...OF COLONIAL TIMES
Old Panama, Portobelo and Fort San Lorenzo, battered by the cannon fire from cruel pirates like Sir Francis Drake and Sir Henry Morgan; today, they are hit by nothing more than the sounds and flashes of the cameras of tourists and visitors.
The balconies of the Old Town that glimpse the heavens and the narrow brick streets are mute witnesses to the Franco-Spanishheritage.
Hotels, office blocks, condominiums and residences spring up daily in today’s Panama more profusely than in any other Latin American capital city. The national architecture is creative and imaginative, even nostalgic on occasions.
...OF SHOPPING MALLS IN THE AMERICAS
Since Balboa first reached the Pacific, Panama has been a commercial emporium. Being the shortest route between the Atlantic and the Pacific makes it one of the world’s obligatory trade routes. The many “malls” and the Colón Free Trade Zone are reason enough for the scale of business activity.
...OF THE ISLANDS
Las Perlas Archipelago, Contadora, San Blas, Taboga, Coiba, Isla Grande, Isla Taborcillo, Bocas del Toro:all islands with a unique offer of sunshine, beaches and resorts.
...OF THE MOUNTAINS
The idea of a country of coastlines and beaches that we get from some tourist pamphlets dissipates when we contemplate the fine pastures, the rich plantations and abundant vegetation, sown with regional pride at the foothills of the mountains of Chiriquí, near the border with Costa Rica. And yet, only two hours from the capital, we have the Antón valley, surrounded by mountains and with natural air conditioning.
...OF PRE-COLUMBIAN TIMES
The expression itself invokes the presence of archaeological remains and there are certain regions in the provinces of Veraguas and Darién where people have found Huacas (sacred objects), gold ornaments and indigenous ceramic articles of incalculable historic value. One of the nation’s laws is that any finding from Pre-Columbian times becomes part of the national heritage.
This great feat of engineering carried out by the United States in the early 20th Century is the country’s main source of wealth and has played a central role in modern Panamanian history. Ultimately, it is also a great tourist attraction, which can be enjoyed by visiting the locks of Miraflores or of Gatún. There is a visitor’s centre at the latter ones where you can find out everything about this essential conduit for international maritime travel and trade.
The port that Colón landed at during his fourth trip to the Indies is located in a place where for centuries Spanish vessels made land to load the gold and silver from Peru. Today, it is a small and tranquil town where visitors, apart from visiting the Spanish forts and venerating the Black Christ, can snorkel or dive in the excellent beaches nearby.
In the touristic archipelago of Bocas del Toro, the Bastimentos Island is the one where the traditional way of life on the islands is preserved. Populated by descendants of West Indian immigrants, who speak a peculiar English dialect known as the guari guari, the island is also home to the popular beaches such asWizard and Red Frog Beach, as well as some great places for snorkelling.
The highest point in Panama (3,474 metres) is the top of this volcano, from where, on clear days, you can see the Caribbean on one side and the Pacific on the other. It is a mountainous area where you can enjoy excellent outings: apart from climbing the volcano, it is worth hiking on the Los Quetzales trail.
In the area of the canal you will find one of the most accessible and spectacular national parks in the country. Hundreds of animal species live in the dense vegetation of the tropical rainforest, some of which will cross the path of visitors travelling on the two main trails: the Camino del Oleoducto and Caminio de Cruces.
This island is home to an impregnable prison, and is one of the hidden gems of the country: lush vegetation and coral reefs on the coasts, where divers and snorkelers will be amazed.
In the Azuera peninsula, the province of Los Santos is the most traditional of provinces in Panama. In the tranquil Villa de Los Santos, where the call for independence was first heard in 1821, and in the small villages nearby, you can enjoy the Panamanian crafts and folklore like nowhere else in the country. The province also has a great beach area around the peaceful Pedasí.
The eastern part of the country is dominated by the dense jungles of Darién, the magical province in which most of the populations remain isolated amidst the vegetation and can only be reached by river. It is the land of the Pan-American Embera peoples, making it impossible to cross between Central America and South America by land.