Let us be your guide to everything you need to know about Panama.
If you like your holidays full of adventure and exploration, why not head to Panama and discover something new this year? Instead of spending your summer in the same holiday destination doing the same things under the guise of “tradition”, get out and see somewhere new and exciting.
Created three million years ago, the Isthmus of Panama rose from the sea as a result of two continents joining together. Today Panama forms a natural land bridge connecting the Americas. Costa Rica forms its North American border whereas Colombia forms the South.
In 1831 Panama, along with Nueva Granada, Ecuador and Venuzuela, formed the Republic of Colombia before they seceded from Colombia in 1903, with the help of the United States. It was this bond with the USA that allowed the construction of the country’s most famous landmark, the Panama Canal.
The Isthmus of Panama didn’t just connect the Americas it also divided the waters. The Caribbean Sea flanks the North of the country, whilst the Pacific Ocean sits to the South. This positioning has meant that the country boasts an extremely diverse geographical layout. With low and highlands making up the country and a plethora of natural life calling it home.
Panama au naturale
As we’ve said, Panama is the glue that sticks the Americas together and, thanks to its tropical climate, there’s also more species of trees and birds in here than in the whole of North America.
Thanks to its unique geography, Panama packs a whole lot of adventure into one small sliver of land. From idyllic Caribbean beaches, to remote rainforests bursting with life, to sprawling metropolises, volcanoes, coral reefs and everything in-between. You can even spend your time island-hopping thanks to the plethora of picturesque Caribbean islands dotted around the mainland.
With a population of over 1.5 million there’s definitely plenty going on in the capital city. Located on the Pacific side of the Isthmus, Panama City is right on the coast and offers a range of activities to keep you busy. From ancient landmarks like Casca Viejo, a walled city developed to protect its inhabitants against pirate attacks, to more modern marvels like the stunning waterfront which features a jetty and a plethora of stunning vessels moored up.
Things to do
A flight from London Gatwick is around 14-20 hours and is only available as an indirect service. But by the time you’ve finished reading about all the amazing things you can get up to in Panama, you’ll be basically touching tarmac again!
As you would have guessed from such a diverse nation, there’s plenty to keep you occupied. The highlands boast some spectacular scenery. Mountain ranges like the Tabasara Mountains (Cordillera Central) and Cordillera de San Blas in the east offer hikes and jungle landscapes that are not to be missed. Plus, as we said earlier, Panama is proud to play host to more species of trees and birds than all North America. So it’s no surprise that bird watching and nature walks are extremely popular.
But you don’t have to stay dry to have a good time in Panama. Following the mountains down, you can take the scenic route of the wildlife walks, or the pulsating descent offered by white-water rafting. Whichever way you make your way back down to the coast, it’s definitely worth keeping your wetsuit close. Panama doesn’t just offer spectacular scenery above the waves, it also plays host to over 290 square kilometres of untamed coral reefs teeming with life.
Getting to know you
Due, again, to the natural location of the country Panama has become a complete cultural melting pot. As culturally diverse as it is geographically diverse, the nation’s music, art, native dress and cuisine are all affected by global influences.
Although the country’s geography affords local chefs the ability to utilise delicious fresh ingredients like fruits, herbs and meats, the local cuisine is, again, heavily influenced by other cultures. The mix of Caribbean and Pacific waters around the land bridge have given rise to infamous fish markets like Mercado de Mariscos. So seafood is also a prevalent, and delectable, part of Panamanian cuisine.
If you fancy getting more of an immersive Panamanian experience you could travel to the Azuero Peninsula in the south of the Central American country. The Azuero Peninsula is the largest in the region and is synonymous with baseball. Plus, if you’re heading out to Panama towards the end of February you should definitely head to Las Tablas in the Azuero Peninsula as it will be in the height of Carnival celebrations!
Where to rest your head
In-keeping with this on-going theme of perfect placement, Dreams Playa Bonita couldn’t be better positioned to help you take in everything this beautiful country has to offer. You’ll just wish you had booked a longer stay!
Located on the Pacific side of the country, Dreams Playa Bonita is perched majestically on the edge of the crystal-clear turquoise waters of the ocean. With the rain forests to its rear you really are in the perfect position to enjoy all of pristine Panama.
If you can pull yourself away from the four swimming pools, seven restaurants, five bars, fitness centre and on-site spa you can make the most of your surroundings. Introduce yourself to the locals by heading out on a safari, or an expedition to beautiful Gaton Lake, or if you feel like going urban, Panama City is just a short ride away.
You may be able to see both sides of this thin sliver of land in a couple of hours, but there’s so much fun to be had in-between. Whether you choose to lounge around the pool, chillax on the beach, head for the hills, trek through the jungle or feel the pull of the city. There’s something for everyone on this land bridge. Give our team a call to get your Panama adventure started on 0844 644 8351.
Find out more about the brand new destinations we have available now and try some new sun this year.