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Did you know that Panama means “abundance of fish?” It’s known as The Republic of Panama and about four million people call the country home. Panama City, the capital, is a booming commercial hub with modern skyscrapers and 18th century architecture. Even though Colón is a duty-free zone, it’s like most cities and struggles with crime and poverty. However, El Valle de Antón is an area snuggled within an extinct volcano and blossoms with flowers.
One thing is for certain, travelers love to visit Panama because of its ecological diversity, tranquil islands with coral reefs, fine dining, day-trip excursions, and more. However, before you leave for your vacation, read about what you can do and see. The more you know the better you’ll be prepared to enjoy your Panama vacation.
What You Can Do and See in Panama
Panama Canal – You can’t travel to Panama without seeing the Panama Canal. It opened in 1914 and is 50 miles long and helps ships get from Panama to the Caribbean and vice versa by using a series of locks: Miraflores and Pedro Miguel on the Pacific side and Gatun Locks on the Caribbean side. You can visit Miraflores Locks from Panama City or take a boat trip.
White-Water Rafting and Kayaking – If you love water adventure, you’ll enjoy rushing along the Chiriquí and Chiriquí Viejo Rivers. Classes range from III to V, depending on which section you raft. A few sections are challenging and have been labeled “Fear” and Get Out if You Can.” For a tamer experience, consider floating down the Esti, a Class II river. It’s perfect for beginners and families.
Zipline Excursion – If you have a fear of heights, you may not want to zipline. But for those who are daring, you’ll love the rush of climbing to a treetop platform where you’ll be strapped into a harness. Once you descend, you’ll feel your adrenaline pumping as you fly through the treetops. Keep your eyes open as you’ll get an excellent glimpse of birds native to Panama.
Relax in Bocas del Toro – A popular destination, especially for younger travelers, Bocas del Toro has
forests, jungles, and mangroves. Its laid-back Caribbean attitude attracts many tourists. Most surf or take water taxies to a secluded cove and snorkel.
Hikers Delight in Rainforests Parks – Take a break and head to Parque Soberania, Parque Metropolitano, and Parque Chagres outside of Panama City. You’ll see anteaters, birds, monkeys, and sloths. Kick back, relax and commune with nature and the wildlife.
Travel to Portobelo – In 1502, Christopher Columbus named the town “Puerto Bell” or “Beautiful Port”; however, the name was shortened throughout the years. It’s here that the Spanish built fortifications (UNESCO World Heritage Site status) to keep their gold from pirates.
See a Coffee Plantation – In addition to Columbia, Costa Rica, and Peru, Panama is known for coffee. If you’re a java drinker, you’ll want to visit Café Ruiz or Finca Lerida in Boquete or another plantation. Tours cost anywhere from 10-25 PAB and include a coffee tasting.
Relax on the Beach in Pedasi – About five hours from Panama City on the Pacific side, Pedasi is known for being off the beaten path. Not only will you find great surfing and tuna fishing, but many expats. However, not many people travel to Pedasi and you’ll feel as if you have the beach to yourself.
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Panama Canal Railway – Take a three-hour round trip ride on an old-fashioned locomotive complete with an observation car. You’ll travel from Panama City to Colón and see stunning views of the canal, Gutan Lake, and lush rainforests.
Discover Casco Viejo – The oldest city in the Americas is outside Panama City and has red bricked streets featuring bars, cafés, clubs, and restaurants. Architecture and history enthusiasts will appreciate the Spanish style design.
Experience Panama! Plan Your Vacation Now
Picture yourself in Panama. Maybe you’re visiting in December, so you can avoid the rainy season. Can you feel the warmth of the tropical climate? Do you see yourself soaking up the sun on one of the pristine beaches? How about enjoying fine cuisine at one of the many restaurants? Maybe you’re communing with nature in a preserved forest. It feels good to be vacationing in paradise. Doesn’t it? We think so!
Contact your Travel Planners International agent today and discuss your travel to Panama. You won’t be disappointed as Panama continues to be a top vacation destination. Your sense of wonder will open up and you’ll be exposed to an explosion of culture.
by Amandah T. Blackwell, Savvy-Writer