When you think of Panama, you think of the Panama Canal. Yes, this great feat of engineering is what brought attention to this small country and yes, it is a “must-see” for visitors to the country, but this beautiful paradise in Central America is filled with enchantment and adventure.
Panama has always been a “bridge” for trade across the world since the early 16th century when the Spaniards suggested a possible canal across the narrow but impassable jungle. In 1914, the first ship made the canal crossing and world trade was forever changed for the better. Experiencing this marvel of engineering and learning about its construction as well as the experience of actually navigating the locks and going from one sea to the other is a fascinating journey for any traveler.
Panama City is a vibrant city worth exploring from the charming cobblestone streets and quaint shops and cafes of Old Town with beautiful colonial architecture, dating from the 1600’s to the modern skyscrapers housing international businesses and apartments in the new section. A visit to the Biomuseo (Bio-diversity museum) is time well spent if you have a day or two in the city. The building was created by Frank Gehry (his only design in Latin America) and houses exhibits explaining the culture and history of Panama and its importance to the modern world. (The building itself is an interesting design of colorful, angular shapes which, when viewed from the sky, reveals a spectacular macaw!)
Outside of the city, the country itself is rich in natural resources. Much like its Central American neighbors, Panama is covered in rain forests teeming with wildlife. This is the habitat of more bird species than anywhere in the world! It is truly amazing to watch toucans soar across the jungle canopy! Also abundant are many species of monkeys, sloths, lizards, rodents and yes, crocodiles, snakes and tarantulas. It is also an amazing place to view butterflies since it is central in their migration paths.
If you are looking for something a little different and out of the ordinary, take a look at Panama. From tropical rain forests to beautiful beaches, modern hotels and yes, the wondrous Canal, Panama has something for everyone.