Panama: more than a canal

By | Category: Travel destinations

Panama rarely makes the news, or even the travel pages. What is there but the famous canal? And why should you holiday there?
Did you know, for example, that there 200 islands in the Gulf of Panama that form the Las Perlas Archipelago and that they are so named because of the abundance of pearls that were found there? And that today it is chiefly known for water sports. Or that another 365 islands, a new one for every day of the year, (except the leap year in 2012) make up anther archipelago, Kuna Yala? It is named after the Indian people called the Kuna who have lived here for generations near the clear waters and amongst the vast numbers of different birds.
Tropical rainforests run through central America and are home to an array of wildlife. Panama has its share of these. Behind the Darien coast in the jungles of mangroves, you can cruise up rivers to see a combination of marine and wildlife. The surprise is that some of the boats that take you on tour are luxurious and, if you are used to river cruising on the Rhine or in northern Europe, this is a totally different experience. For people interested in eco-tourism, Panama is ideal. But then so it is if you fancy a sport of deep sea fishing for marlin or swordfish.
If you prefer just watching and photographing the marine life then try Bocas del Toro where the coral attracts a variety of fish and the waters are clear enough to see way down below you. Prefer your marine life a little larger? Try Coiba, where you can watch the whales. They come here to give birth and raise the young for the first weeks and months of their lives. Or go to Canas where turtles arrive on the island to lay their eggs.
And don’t miss Panama City itself with its Spanish colonial architecture and range of different cuisines. Or the many festivals that Panama has. Next January, it hosts its annual jazz festival and that drwaws both musiciand and visitors from around the world. But there are the more traditional ones as well both from the colonial and indigenous past.
The combination of this, nature and almost perennial sunshine and warmth makes this a big attraction for American tourists but for Britons, Panama is hardly known as a holiday destination and that must, in part, to their being no direct connections. Go via Madrid with a British Airways/Iberia combination, via Amsterdam with KLM or change in the United States with an American Airlines, Continental or Delta flight. Our winter is the drier time for the country so it makes an ideal winter getaway location for us. No visa is required
For more information about Panama, click here.

image courtesy of Visit Panama

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