Even the name ‘Panama’, meaning ‘abundance of fish and butterflies’, reflects the magnificent natural beauty of this country. The most southern state in Central America, Panama bridges the gap between North and South America and thus is heavily influenced by both continents. Located by both the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean, visitors will be taken aback by the incredible sea views. Famous for the Panama Canal, this stunning site has attracted people from all over the world for centuries. Additionally, the border with Colombia is marked by a dense and awe inspiring jungle. Yet, Panama is not only famous for its natural and structural heritage; the modern and impressive Panama City ensures that the country has an impressive mix of tradition and modernity, which is sure to please all who visit.
The official national language is Spanish, although many Panamanians also speak English. However, it is worth learning a few basic Spanish phrases just in case.
The national currency is the Balboa. Divided into 100 centésimos, one US dollar is equal to one balboa, one pound is approximately 1.9 balboa and one euro is worth 1.3 balboa.
Fans of the sunshine will not be disappointed by Panama. Tropical climates persist throughout the year, only halting for the occasional downpour. Despite the blissfully warm climate, holidaymakers should still pack a jumper as nights can often be quite cool.
All visitors will appreciate the chance to explore Panama’s exotic rainforests. Tourist friendly, these habitats include several attractions in order to allow visitors to learn more about the natural environment, the plants within the forest and the animals which live there. A favourite location for exploring such surroundings is Darien National Park. Home to hundreds of species of beautiful birds, all will be impressed with this lush location. The Summit Botanical Gardens and Zoo presents patrons with the opportunity to see a Harpy Eagle, the largest predator bird in the world.
There are many incredible sights to see in Panama City. The ruins of this ancient city are fascinating and provide a traditional backdrop for a developing, modern metropolis.
Panama’s beaches are beautiful, boasting white sand and turquoise ocean views. Visitors hoping to return home with a tan will enjoy the blissful temperatures and heavenly surroundings.
Crater Valley in El Valle de Anton is located approximately two hours from Panama City. This beautiful village can be found within the second largest volcano crater on the face of the earth. Many attractions can be discovered here, such as a small zoo and a market selling locally produced crafts, although the incredible landscape and views should keep visitors entertained for a considerable amount of time.
The San Blas Islands are the perfect day trip away from Panama. These idyllic islands are inhabited by the Kuna Indians; visitors will appreciate the unique opportunity to experience a completely different manner of living. The crystal blue waters offer perfect conditions for snorkelling and the beaches are heavenly. The Coiba Island National Marine Park consists of nine islands which are home to many delightful and stunning natural reserves. One of the many perfect locations on Panama for snorkelling, diving and fishing, these islands also boast the second most substantial coral reef in the Eastern Pacific. Everyone will enjoy catching a glimpse of the animals which inhabit this area; some may be lucky enough to see a whale.
Portobelo is a magnificent historical site, home to the ‘Customs House’ where the gold which was discovered in South America was hidden until it could be sent to Spain. This special opportunity to catch a glimpse of the country’s past will be enjoyed by all who visit.
No trip is complete without a spot of shopping. Although fantastic items can be purchased around the country, the ideal location for a serious splurge is Panama City. Here the main shopping centres are called the Multiplaza Pacific, Albrook Mall, Los Pueblos and Multicentro. Items worth searching for are Panama hats, woven baskets and ‘Molas’, which are unique and beautiful hand sewn tapestries. The jewellery available here is also stunning and worth investing in.
Panama City has a fantastic and internationally renowned nightlife. Whatever sort of establishment the visitor is searching for they are certain to locate it here. Nightclubs, discos, casinos and bars can be explored in this vibrant city. Favourite spots include Unplugged, The Wine Bar, Liquid, and the Wasabi Sushi Lounge.
Panama is a delightful country to explore by car. Boasting one of the most highly developed road networks in Latin America, the condition of the roads is impressive. Driving around the countryside is blissful, however, negotiating Panama City is problematic; it may be preferable to find another means of transportation for this section of the trip.
Food and Drink
Panama has a delicious natural larder. The unique position of the country has determined the influence upon cuisine by two continents and thus the dishes on offer are exciting and diverse. Ingredients such as tropical fruits and herbs are plentiful; visitors can enjoy both exotic temperatures and exotic meals. For breakfast favourite options include tortillas and hojaldras, a delicious local variety of doughnut. One of the country’s most popular meals, sancocho is a filling chicken soup with added spices. Fish lovers will not be disappointed with corvina, or sea bass, as well as items such as lobster and shrimp.
Those with a sweet tooth are sure to enjoy their stay in Panama; the abundance of tropical fruits helps to create multiple, delectable treats. Milk shakes containing such fruits are delicious and exotic. Cake fans will enjoy Pastel Tres Leches, which is made using three different types of milk. Popular with children, raspados are snow cones which are infused with a selection of tropical fruit flavourings. Sold around the city, these are perfect for those attempting to cool down.
Tourist InformationFor more information regarding Panama visit: www.panamainfo.com
All car hire locations in Panama
- Alonso Valderrama Airport
- Bocas Del Toro
- Bocas Del Toro International Airport
- Cap Manuel Niño International Airport
- Enrique Adolfo Jimenez Airport
- Enrique Malek International Airport
- Howard Afb Airport
- Marcos A. Gelabert International Airport
- Panama Pacifico Airport
- Rainbow City
- Ruben Cantu Airport
- Santiago De Veraguas
- Tocumen International Airport