The arid Azuero Peninsula extends into the Pacific Ocean and forms the Gulf of Panamá to the east. Azuero is known for traditional festivals and customs. Azuero is a magical place: almost isolated from modern Panama, frozen in an idyllic past, the peninsula offers a lot of charm and natural beauty. The region is shaped by folklore traditions: impressive costumes such as the pollera or handicrafts such as pre-Columbian ceramics. This is also the place of origin of important musical and literary traditions in Panama. Even the national drink, a sugar cane schnapps called “Seco”, is produced here. The beaches of the Azuero Peninsula are long and deserted, the ocean is full of large fish and in certain places there are incredible coral reefs. There is enough to do on the peninsula: Explore the area by kayak or on horseback, visit the Sarigua National Park, traditional mask factories in Las Tablas or the rum distillery in Pesé. Isla Cañas in the south of the peninsula is the most important nesting site for sea turtles on Panama’s Pacific coast.
The Panama Canal, which connects the Atlantic with the Pacific for shipping, has long been a dream of all seafarers, as it allows them to avoid the almost 15,000 km long dangerous sea voyage around Cape Horn on the southern tip of South America. During a stay in Panama City there are several ways to experience the Panama Canal: You can see it from the Bridge of the Americas, you can drive to the Miraflores Locks and learn more about the functioning, history and dimensions of the Panama Canal in the visitor center there. Or you can take a four-hour boat trip through the canal itself. Since up to 14,000 ships pass through the canal each year and the dimensions of the ships are becoming ever larger, Panama decided to expand the canal in a referendum in 2006.
The city of Panama is the largest settlement in the country and is located on the Pacific coast on the Isthmus of Panama. The city experienced a strong economic upswing with the construction of the Panama Canal, which is noticeable in a modern business district and which is becoming increasingly stronger with the expansion of the canal. The city combines many different cultures and traditions. The old quarter is still preserved in Casco Viejo with buildings from the colonial times. There is also the Presidential Palace in the city. With the Casco Viejo it offers a picturesque colonial quarter, but also modern glass and steel buildings, as well as numerous excellent restaurants. One of the numerous local attractions are the ruins of Old Panama. The predecessor of today’s city, Panama Viejo, was devastated in 1671 by the notorious pirate Henry Morgan. Colonial ruins still exist from the old city. Parts of the ruins were used to build the new city of Panama City 3 miles southwest.
Boquete is one of the most famous tourist cities in Panama. It is a small and charming village on the eastern flank of the Barú volcano at around 1,200 meters above sea level. The sunny yet cool climate is a pleasant contrast to the heat in the lower regions. The mountain village is ideal to discover on foot. There are numerous coffee plantations around Boquete, as the small town is famous for its excellent coffee, which is harvested by Guaymi Indios between October and February. The harvest time is a festive time during which the colorfully dressed Indian families from various parts of the Chiriquí province arrive to harvest the coffee beans. You can hike to the Baru volcano or the Ruta Quetzal and enjoy the wonderful landscape. There is even the possibility of the Quetzal, to meet the sacred bird of the Maya, which has its home in the forests around Boquete. But Boquete is also a haven for outdoor and adventure activities. Hiking, mountain bike tours, climbing, canopy and rafting are the most popular activities.
Bocas del Toro
Bocas del Toro is a province in the northwest of Panama and includes six larger and numerous small islands in addition to the mainland. This area was explored by Christopher Columbus as early as 1502. Along with the Panama Canal, it is one of the most popular destinations among tourists. The area is so popular with tourists mainly because of the beautiful beaches, the picturesque surroundings and the paradisiacal flair. The main island is Isla Colón, which is also the most touristy island. A special tourist-free atmosphere and wonderful fauna can be found in the marine national park of the island of Bastimentos, which includes large parts of the island of Bastimentos, many smaller islands and, for the most part, marine areas. A visit to this province of Panama offers surfing, kayaking tours, boat trips, Dive and snorkel excursions. The species-rich and wooded islands are best explored by hiking and cycling. As there are several communities of Ngobe Indians in Bocas del Toro, a visit to an indigenous village is one of the main activities.
The charming town of Colón is located on the island of Isla Colón and attracts visitors with its good food, friendly residents and Caribbean flair. In a bay further east are the picturesque ruins of Portobelo, a former fortress that got its name from none other than Christof Columbus. The former fortifications were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1980. The ruins are very popular with travelers, but their continued existence is unclear. The facility is not being properly maintained and is therefore slowly falling apart. Therefore it was included in the UNESCO red list in 2012. On the island you can also take a chocolate tour and get very interesting insights into the cultivation and production process. Of course you can also try it. All chocolate fans get their money’s worth here!
The islands of San Blas form another wonderful archipelago. This is where the Kuna Indians live, who protect this paradise made up of hundreds of small islands with snow-white beaches and turquoise water. The experience on the island is not designed for mass tourism, but is very authentic. That is why there are no large hotels here, only small lodges and the Kuna are also happy to have visitors who can bring their culture and everyday life closer to them. The clothing of the Indian women is particularly interesting. It is traditionally designed and consists of brightly colored fabrics, headscarves and jewelry that shimmers in various colors alongside gold. You can get to the islands by plane from Panama City or by ship.
Coiba National Park
The national park of Coiba on a Pacific island off the coast of central Panama is worth a visit. It is considered one of the largest maritime national parks in the world and is therefore on the UNESCO World Heritage List for a reason. Some endemic species live here. In addition to the large variety of plants and land dwellers, the underwater world is particularly impressive. You can observe up to 760 fish, 23 whale and dolphin and even 33 shark species. A real underwater paradise!
Darién National Park
The Darién National Park, a UNESCO natural heritage site, is also located here. The biodiversity is unique and definitely impresses all visitors. However, expeditions in this area should only be carried out with experienced guides. One often moves through complete seclusion and can experience real adventures. The area is very little developed for tourism, so you have to accept larger deductions in terms of comfort. Visit computerdo for Central America Tourism.