Holiday & Beaches
5 Reasons You Should Visit Panama
Panama is hard to beat. It’s a tropical paradise with pristine beaches, natural beauty, exotic wildlife, year-round warm weather, rich history, vibrant culture and a famous canal. With the fastest growing economy in Latin America, Panama has a modern infrastructure, safe drinking water and quality healthcare. Panama City is booming with an ever-changing skyline.
With so many reasons to book a flight to Panama, what are you waiting for?
1. Panama Canal
Possibly the greatest shortcut in the world, the 48 mile Panama Canal cuts right through the continental divide. And it’s a marvellous sight to behold. There are two visitors centres with museums and viewing platforms where you can watch the mammoth container ships squeeze through the canal. The recent expansion is even more reason to visit Panama as it will double the current capacity and triple the traffic in the canal. This new lane is scheduled to open in 2016.
2. Beaches and Islands
Panama is in a state of endless summer. Sandy beaches, clear waters and coral reefs are found in abundance in Panama. With hundreds of Panama islands to choose from, you will certainly find what you are looking for. There are countless places for scuba diving, snorkelling, surfing and kayaking. World class waves roll in year-round in Santa Catalina and the Bocas del Toro archipelago. The Guna Yala archipelago, commonly known as the San Blas Islands, includes some of the most pristine beaches in Central America and is home to the Guna Indians. The Pearl Islands are known for hosting seasons of “Survivor” and other spinoffs.
3. Indigenous Culture
The culture and customs of Panama’s indigenous populations remains almost completely intact. Panama is a special place where the modern and ancient coexist. One hour outside of Panama City, the Emberá-Wounan Indians paddle dugout canoes. They are renowned for their artistic abilities and produce the finest baskets. Inhabiting the San Blas Islands, the Guna Indians are probably the most well-known because of the beautiful traditional dress of the Guna women and their distinctive textile designs called Molas. Step off the gringo trail and pay a visit to any one of Panama’s seven indigenous groups. You won’t be disappointed.
4. The Food
You will dream about the food in Panama long after your holiday ends. Made with fresh local ingredients, Panamanian food does not get the attention it deserves. The seafood is outstanding, especially the corvina, a fish found only in warm saltwater. Enjoy it fried, whole or in ceviche. And who knew plantains were so delicious? Patacones, or fried plantains, dipped in ketchup is completely underrated. Forget everything you think you know about tortillas. In Panama they are made with corn flour and resemble a thick yellow pancake. Top with cheese and enjoy. The national dish of Panama is sancocho, a thick soup made with chicken, corn on the cob, yuca and seasonings. Absolutely heavenly. And it is known as the best remedy for a hangover. Also make sure to try arroz con pollo, a chicken and rice dish, and chicheme, a sweet-corn drink that will blow your mind.
5. Rich Biodiversity
Pack your binoculars, people. One of the most biodiverse places in the world, Panama is a refuge for a tremendous variety of species. And nowhere in the world are rainforests more accessible than in Panama. With more than 300 mammals and 900 types of birds, Panama is a wildlife haven. A quarter of the country is protected wilderness. Scarlet macaws, toucans, sloths and squirrel monkeys are some of the favourites. Trek through the rainforests looking for tiny gold frogs and spot birds you can’t find anywhere else in the world or submerge yourself in fish-filled waters. Whichever you choose, you’ll certainly find wildlife you can’t find at home.