A captivating exuberance
Encompassing cloud-forested highlands, glorious palm-fringed islands, vibrant indigenous cultures and Central America’s most ebullient capital city, a holiday to Panama offers a surprisingly varied landscape for such a small country.
This slender, serpentine nation has a unique history: from the loot-laden mule trains of the Spanish Camino Real to the scything open of the rainforest by the world’s most famous canal, Panama has long proved valuable as a shortcut between the Caribbean Sea and Pacific waves.
Constituting a biological crossroads, too, the isthmus boasts an even greater density of plant biodiversity than Amazonia.
Panama’s compact size means the vast majority of its sights are easily accessible.
On a cruise to Panama you’ll encounter the irresistible juxtaposition of ancient and modern, artificial and natural: vast computerized Panamax container ships transiting the canal slice through primeval rainforests teeming with fluorescent frogs and elusive wild cats, only half an hour by dugout from where Emberá villagers practise subsistence agriculture.
Visiting the country’s fringes and little-visited interior, you can explore archipelagos and untracked jungle, basing yourself in small towns, friendly villages and remote eco-lodges, and from Volcán Barú – Panama’s highest peak – you can witness the unique and breathtaking sight of the sun rising over both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.