More birds and trees than in North America

By | Category: Travel destinations

That’s the claim of Panama, a country that is some 327 times smaller in area than North Amercia.

Panama is much more than a country with a canal

In this small country there are nearly a thousand different birds with one of them, the harpy eagle being the national bird of the country. And the number of different tree species? 3045 tree species that are native to Panama.

In the Coiba National Park in the Gulf of Chiriqui, there are 39 islands home to some of the rarest birds in the world such as the Crested Eagle and the Scarlet Macaw. The waters that lap the islands are said to contain some 800 species of fish including over thirty different types of shark and twenty types of mammals like dolphins and whales.

With such a range it is no wonder that the country is presenting itself to the world as a unique place of biodiversity. It also wants to portray the country as a melting pot of cultures.

With 30% of the country being a protected World Natural Heritage Site, the visitor can take an historical trip through time from pre-Colombian sites to the modern

Prior to Europeans arriving in the area, indigenous peoples both from the north and the south crossed paths in what is now Panama as the isthmus was the sole way, other than by sea, of journeying. At its narrowest point it is not even 80 kilometres from the Pacific Ocean to the Caribbean Sea. The melding of cultures probably goes back to then so when Europeans came, another dimension was added to the culture pot.

Obviously the building of the canal in the first years of the twentieth century encouraged others to journey to Panama in search of work so the mix of cultures grew even wider.

That is reflected in the heritage sites available for tourists to visit. Panama City is the oldest continually occupied place on the Pacific Ocean coast of the Americas. One small area and which existed for only about 150 years is Panamá Viejo (founded in 1519) which is the oldest European settlement on the coast. Luckily parts survived the centuries and reveals with meld of architectural styles that the different cultures brought to the country.

If wildlife and culture appeals then Panama could be the country to visit because which of your neighbours has been there? Given you can see both in a comparatively small area, Panama should be on your list of holiday destinations.

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