Exploring Panama and the Panama Canal - A Review
The Republic of Panama is probably the most famous and best known for its importance in naval transportation - the construction of the Panama Canal which is the best shortcut from the Atlantic to the Pacific. The toll fees from the canal significantly contribute to the country’s economy and the ship manufacturers all around the world build the vessels so they that could pass through its locks. No one can visit Panama and not see this masterpiece of human engineering.
Panama City is the vibrant capital where the historic colonial buildings of Casco Viejo (a UNESCO World Heritage site) blend in striking contrast to modern skyscrapers, casinos, business buildings, traffic and everyday chaos of a huge metropolis. Miraflores Locks and Museum are the place to learn about and watch ships passing through the canal. While in Panama, one should find a way to drive across the Bridge of Americas in nearby Balboa or the Centennial Bridge as they are the links between the two continents.
Panama attracts visitors not only for its man-made structures but amazing nature, national parks and wildlife reserves as well. Panama is a small country and you don’t have to go far to get away from the civilisation. On the Coiba Island you can jump right into the silence of deep waters and speechless fish as the place is on the world’s top ten list for scuba diving, one of two best surfing spots in the Central America and a prime place for bird watching. In the past a home of serious criminals, the island has over 80% of its original, undisturbed rainforest.
Bocas Del Toros on the Caribbean coast is the famous surf-and-party town with great possibilities for other sports, pristine beaches, lush rainforest, crystal clear water and laid back culture. Boquete near the Costa Rican border offers great hiking in the mountains, popular Festival of Flowers, Geisha coffee (one of the finest and most expensive of the world) and great retirement living. Other amazing wildlife and nature areas are Darien National Park, Los Quetzales and Volcan Baru.
Before you leave, have a taste of the most favourite local drink – Seco Herrerano and don’t forget the local world-class coffee – Kotowa, Cafe Ruiz or Duran.