Panama – Between Canal and Caribbean
It is world-famous: the Panama Canal, which connects the Caribbean Sea to the Pacific Ocean. Less known is the fact that the Central Caribbean country is also an appealing travel destination. It offers Caribbean atmosphere, adventure in barely touched nature and the fire of Latin-American life.
Geography - Magical Caribbean beaches and Holiday atmosphere
The Central American state Panama is the most narrow land connection between the American continents. In parallel with the coast, the American Cordillera cross the country. The Caribbean coast in the north is dominated by pleasantly warm temperatures all year, which invite visitors to bathe. It is very hot and dry in parts of the south-west.
Nature - Panama's rainforests and underwater world
Panama's natural diversity ranges from the thick, native rainforest to the plains which contain many rivers to the semidesert-like regions. At the Caribbean coast, visitors can dive into the country's spectacular underwater world with colourful fish, corals and sponges.
Natural sights - Unique, diverse vegetation
On Azuero Peninsula, which belongs to the province Herrera, you find the Sarigua National Park. Extreme temperature differences created an extraordinary flora and fauna here. While the desert-like regions are home to cactuses, cork trees and reptiles, you find mangrove forests, pelicans and common kingfishers at the park's coastal regions. You can marvel at the rainforest's natural richness in the Soberania National Park, for example. Worth seeing are also the waterfalls in the valley of the volcano El Valle de Antón, which also accommodates the city of the same name.
Culture - The Panama Canal, one of the worlds most significant waterways
In previous centuries the Maya and Inca settled on Panama's territory. Later on, the area became a Spanish colony. From 1904 to 1914 the Panama Canal, which is 65 kilometres long, was built as a seaway between the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. It is the country's most important source of income. About 8,000 people work for its maintenance. You can still feel the colourful influences of Native-American, Spanish, African and Caribbean traditions in the state today.
Cultural sights - Panama City as the country's centre
The metropolis Panama City with its wonderful old town is definitely worth a visit. It contains many buildings which show the country's colonial past such as the Portobelo ruins. A must on anyone's journey is a view of the canal – be it on a tour along the waterway or from a ship on the canal.
Experience - Not without the Panama hat
Reggae and salsa are two of the vivacious dances of the Latin-American culture which are also present in Panama. The rhythms are played at celebrations or in dance halls and thrill holidaymakers. Party-goers generally get their money's worth in the country. Besides music and dance, there is a wide range of casinos, bars, restaurants and theatres. Those who want to taste local specialities should try the chicken vegetable stew "sancocho", the maize pastry called "tamales" or "Yuca al Moj", cooked pieces of manioc with olive oil. Popular souvenirs are the mola, a traditional costume, or the Panama hat.
Activities - At Panama's beaches
A popular tourist destination is the island group Bocas del Toro in the north-west of Panama. It contains wonderful white sandy beaches and a National Marine Park, which is populated by exotic turtles and birds, for example. Both at the Caribbean and the Pacific coast you find more beautiful beaches for sunbathing, swimming and doing water sports.
You can pay with US dollar in Panama. Some provinces are dangerous for tourists due to their crime rate. This also applies to several parts of Panama City. Visitors usually arrive by plane at the airport in Panama City (PTY) or by ship at the coast or on the canal. Within the country buses or rental cars are good means of transport. You should protect yourself against yellow fever and malaria. Beside the official language Spanish, English is commonly used.
Panama means experiencing the Caribbean's placid side. Its coasts are ideally suited for those who want to relax at the seaside or be active. The heartland attracts visitors with its wild landscape and nature.