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Panama

6

Reasons to Visit Panama

  • Birding

    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.

    Birding
  • Indigenous cultures

    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.

    Indigenous cultures
  • Islands

    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.

    Islands
  • Off the beaten track

    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!

    Off the beaten track
  • Panama Canal

    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.

    Panama Canal
  • Snorkelling

    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.

    Snorkelling

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Things to Do in Panama: Portobello & San Lorenzo Forts

After crossing the canal over one of the lock gates you continue to Fort San Lorenzo, which was constructed by the Spaniards in 16th Century to defend against the constant threat of pirates seeking to interrupt the transporting of Inca gold. The fort is very isolated and accessed via a bumpy road but the drive is worth it with stunning views out across the Caribbean sea and the mouth of the Chagres River.

Portobello Fort, Panama

Portobello & San Lorenzo Forts

Panama City, Panama
  • Cruises, Sailing & Water
  • Culture & History
  • Rail Journeys

Guests are collected for this tour in the morning in order to cross the Isthmus on the Trans-Isthmian Highway. En-route you visit the Gatun locks on the Atlantic side of the Panama Canal. Much less visited than their counterparts on the Pacific side, these locks do not have the exhibits of the Miraflores locks but you will be able to get very close to the transiting cargo ships from the viewing platform.

After crossing the canal over one of the lock gates you continue to Fort San Lorenzo, which was constructed by the Spaniards in 16th Century to defend against the constant threat of pirates seeking to interrupt the transporting of Inca gold. The fort is very isolated and accessed via a bumpy road but the drive is worth it with stunning views out across the Caribbean sea and the mouth of the Chagres River.

From here you back-track to Gatun locks and continue on to Portobello, another location of Spanish fortresses. Products such as spices, gold and silver coming from the southern Spanish colonies passed through Portobello on the way back to Spain. Portobello was subject to numerous pirate attacks, the most famous being from Henry Morgan who went on to ransack Panama City after capturing the fortified town. The present day ruins are forts built after the pirate attacks.

In the afternoon you return to the train station in Colon to take the only Trans-Oceanic train journey in the world. The journey lasts about 1 hour and takes you across Lake Gatun and through the Soberania National Park to points where the road cannot take you.

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