Panama is world-famous for its 48-mile canal that connects the Pacific Ocean with the Atlantic Ocean. Each year, over a million people visit the canal and are able to witness this engineering marvel at work. Panama is very proud to have this magnificent creation operating 365 days a year, enabling the world's cargo to be shipped efficiently and safely to new destinations.
Everyone wants the inside scoop on Casco Viejo, Panama's most charismatic neighborhood. Today, Casco Viejo (aka. Casco Antiguo, San Felipe or El Casco) is a vibrant community consisting of a sharp contrast of old and new, local and foreign. The buildings are in various stages or redevelopment and renovation, with a strictly enforced standard of Historical Authenticity. There is tremendous culture and a feeling which is unique only to this neighborhood in Panama.
In the mountains of the district of Coclé lies the small town El Valle de Antón, known as the second largest inhabited volcano crater. Once a crater lake it became home to Indians from the surrounding mountains. The microclima here, next to the cloud forest created amazing varieties of flora and fauna.
Also El Valle is one of the best places in Panama for watching tropical birds. You will find them in the valley and in the cloud forest of the Gaital Monument.
The San Blas islands are a group of islands in the archipelago de San Blas, located in the Northwest of Panama facing the Caribbean Sea. There are 378 islands within the archipelago and they are scattered around in an area of about 100 square miles. If you leave the Golfo de San Blas by boat you will enter the Caribbean Sea. The majority of the 378 islands have no inhabitants, but on the larger ones you will find the gentle native people known as the Kuna’s. These people can be found on the larger inhabited Islands; Aguja Island, Guanidup Island, Chichimei, Yandup Island and El Porvenir. You may ask yourself What is san blas? San Blas is an autonomous territory in Panama formerly called Kuna Yala.
The San Blas Islands are the number #1 vacation destination in Panama and probably in Central America. The native people living on the Islands of San Blas call themselves Kuna’s or Guna’s. The district/region in Panama where you can meet the native inhabitants is officially named after them; Guna Yala or Kuna Yala.
From the Cinta Costera you can see an impressive view of the entire city of Panama. You can also observe the boats that line up to enter the Panama Canal from the Pacific Ocean, while enjoying the green areas, recreational parks and public spaces ideal for walking or exercising. In this picturesque route you will find the seafood market, which offers an excellent restaurant within the enclosure, and more than a dozen small outdoor restaurants selling fried fish with patacones and ceviches in all its varieties.
This 6-hour excursion is the perfect way to have an extraordinary day by going to the closest island to the city. Relax and discover the art of sailing on board the biggest open boat of the city. Sunbathe, lay down and enjoy the big deck with huge nets and speakers. The catamaran has shaded areas for those who need a break from the sun.
Contadora Island is the only island of the Pearls that can be reached by flying from Panama City. The island is located near the coast of Panama, at around 50 miles away. Isla Contadora is well known for its famous resorts and hotels. The place is magical in every sight but still offers the luxury of home.
The island of Contadora became world famous when in 1979 the Shah of Iran retreated there in exile. This put the spotlight on the islands as an exclusive and expensive island for the rich and the famous. Since then Contadora’s popularity began to grow and the first Hollywood stars started to invest in there private getaways. The reality show Survivor put the Pearl Islands and Contadora in many countries on the map as tropical paradise. Tourism became to flourish and the islands are not only for the rich and the famous anymore.
The Monkey Island Day Tour is boat exploration of Lake Gatun and a great opportunity to see 4 different species of monkey, all within 40 minutes of Panama’s capital city. You will also see many other animal species such as Crocks, Toucans, Sloths and many exotic birds. The tour also gives you the chance to bath in spring fed natural pools and kayak in the lake.
Declared World Heritage by UNESCO, it was founded in 1519. Panama was the first city built on the Pacific Ocean coast during the Spanish colonial period in America. Its geographical position turned it into a golden transit point and the fabulous treasures of the American continent were sent to Spain and, therefore, it was also a coveted booty for pirates. In 1671, the city was sacked and destroyed by the famous pirate Henry Morgan. Today is a place visited by all those who wish to relive with imagination that distant era of mythical heroes and villains.
The Metropolitan National Park is a 232 hectares forest located in Panama City. Some of the tree species that you can admire here are the wild cashew, luehea semannii, gumbo-limbo, guanacaste and yellow mombin, amongst others.