Reasons to Visit
Panama has an extremely rich array of birdlife and is one of the best countries in the world for birding. There are over 970 species and over two thirds of these can be found in the rainforests that surround the Panama Canal, including the rare harpy eagle. The Chiriquí Highlands, El Valle and the Darien Jungle are also prolific regions to view some of the many wonderful birds.
The indigenous communities of Panama add a fascinating dimension for visitors and interacting with them in a sustainable and responsible manner is a wonderful experience. The most accessible and welcoming indigenous inhabitants can be found in the San Blas archipelago, along with the Embera communities in the Darien Jungle and the Ngobe-Bugle communities in the Chiriquí Highlands.
Panama has numerous tropical islands to explore in both the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean. Each has its own special attraction from the blue-yellow macaws and deserted beaches of The Pearl Islands to the colourful reef-life and dolphins of Bocas del Toro to the indigenous Kuna communities of The San Blas archipelago.
One of the highlights of travelling in Panama is that you will find it relatively untouched. Outside of Panama City you will often find yourself on a deserted stretch of rainforest or pristine beach with just your small lodge as the only place for miles. Be prepared for spectacular journeys on bumpy roads, light aircraft and speedboats and you will have an experience of a lifetime!
Watching a huge ship nudge its way through the Panama Canal is an unforgettable experience in Panama. 48 miles long, the canal connects the pacific ocean and the Atlantic, and is a real feat of engineering.
With both Caribbean and Pacific coasts available, there is some beautiful snorkelling to be had in Panama in relatively untouched spots. The San Blas islands in particular have incredibly colourful reefs, and the Kuna guides are experts at picking the best places to take you.
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The Soberania National Park is a bird-lover's dream.
The stunning San Blas archipelago is an idyllic group of over 400 palm-fringed islands ringed by white-sand beaches and surrounded by the clear, turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea.
The islands of Bocas del Toro dot the Caribbean Sea, close to the border with Costa Rica.
Travel along the scenic Gamboa Road to the Soberania National Park for a walk along the Pipeline Road, Plantation Road or El Charco Trail, all of which are fantastic for viewing the unique ecology of the canal watershed.
This tour goes up into the hills outside Panama City to the Chagres river where you transfer with your guide on to an open-top Embera motorised canoe. You zip along the clear river waters by boat through beautiful scenery to visit the small indigenous community of Embera Indians in the Chagres National Park.
The tour of Panama City takes in the Miraflores Locks on the Panama Canal, Panama Viejo and Casco Antiguo. The tour begins with a visit to the impressive Miraflores Locks on the Panama Canal.
Navigating the Panama Canal alongside towering cargo vessels is an unforgettable experience, but this impressive feat of engineering is far from the only reason to visit Panama. Its swashbuckling colonial history is one of Spanish exploitation and wealth built from plundered South American gold. Pristine rainforests, diverse indigenous cultures, cool highlands, exquisite Caribbean islands and some of the best bird watching in the world make this country a truly enthralling destination.
11 Days from £3,115pp
Explore Panama City and world famous canal in depth before heading to the coast for some relaxation time.
15 Days from £4,575pp
A classic tour of Panama combining cities, engineering feets, birdwatching in tropical rainforests and cool cloudforests, unique indigenous cultures and some beach time.
19 Days from £5,900pp
A comprehensive tour of Panama combining cities, engineering feets, cloudforest, unique indigenous cultures and quality beach time.
Approx. 13 hours (Via the USA or Europe)
The best time to travel.
A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of.
Travel is possible, but this is not the best time of year.
Travel is not recommended.
Snow or ski season.
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Further reading:When to GoHighlightsItinerary IdeasPlaces to GoThings to DoAccommodationAbout PanamaCountry Guides
Other countries in Central America, Mexico & Cuba:BelizeCosta RicaCubaGuatemalaHondurasMexicoNicaragua
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