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  • 5 reasons to visit Panama

    Panama city

    Panama city

    The thin sliver of land that connects the North and South American continents is slowly emerging as one of the most exciting and fresh tourist destinations of the decade, not surprising seeing as Panama has all the best points of Central America, crammed in one place: vibrant city life, lush jungle with interesting wildlife, natural wonders, beaches and bits of native culture that weren’t destroyed by colonization.

    The “Crossroads of America” hasn’t acquired its fame merely by chance – there are good reasons why any traveler should seriously consider visiting Panama even when the offer in Central America is quite varied. So what does this small country have to offer that makes it better than its competitors? Here are 5 reasons to visit Panama.

    Panama Canal, Panama City

    If you are in Panama City, visiting the Panama Canal is an absolute must. The 82 kilometer ship canal links the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans, and almost 15,000 cross it every year, so there’s never a day without the possibility of seeing some gigantic boats floating by.

    The canal is one of the seven modern wonders of the world, and at the Miraflores lock you can take a look at the visitor center which has more information about it. Even if you don’t want to pay the entry fee, just seeing the canal and spending some time marveling at the ships is a great experience in itself.

    Quetzal Trail, Boquete

    Quetzal, photo by Frank Vassen

    The small village of Boquete, also called the Valley of the Flowers, is surrounded by some of the most stunning scenery in Panama, and it is replete with natural wonders.

    The best known and most scenic hiking trail in Panama, the Quetzal Trail, starts in Boquete and ends at Cerro Punto (if you don’t mind going uphill; otherwise, you should make Cerro Punta your point of departure). The trail is named after the Resplendent Quetzal, which you can glimpse in the area if you are lucky.

    Casco Viejo, Panama City

    The second most beloved attraction in Panama City is the Casco Viejo, the old district of the city, completely rebuilt after the ‘first’ city was razed to the ground by pirates. The area is a Unesco World Heritage Site and it has many architectural sights, from churches and cathedrals (La Catedral Metropolitana is the main church in the city) to several palaces.

    Zip Lining

    photo by Rich Young

    With much of Panama covered by rainforests, there are countless opportunities for canopy zip lining. If trekking through the jungle sounds like too much effort, you can try zip lining over and through the tree tops and get a good view of the forest without coming up close and personal with any critters. In any case, a zip lining expedition will definitely spice up your day.

    Coffee

    Unless you utterly hate coffee, Panama will seem like a dream to to, especially in the morning. The coffee of Panama is acknowledged for being one of the best in the world, and many coffee estates throughout the country offer tours and tastings. Even local coffee shops are equipped to cater to the wishes of even the greatest coffee snob.

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