By Kathryn Dunmore
From crystal blue waters to lush tropical rainforests, travellers can pack a lot into their days in this small Central American country.
1. See the rainforest: Just a 30-minute drive from Panama City and you’ll find yourself in lush, cool rainforests. Here, you will find many activities: kayaking, fishing, and even aerial trams to give you a bird’s-eye view of the flora and fauna.
2. Go bird-watching: Nearby Pipeline Road offers serious birders or curious travellers the opportunity for a glimpse of toucans, tiny Green Honeycreepers or even hawks. It’s an easy hike, and bird-watchers are likely to see many monkeys and sloths, as well as birds. Don’t forget binoculars!
3. Visit the Panama Canal: The Miraflores Visitor Centre is worth the trip to learn the marvels of this man-made canal. Here, there’s an observation deck where you can watch, in sheer awe, as massive cargo ships pass through the 50-foot-deep locks.
4. Wander Panama City: Panama City is the perfect blend of old and new – just one look at the city’s skyline and you know this is a modern economic centre. But, beyond the glass skyscrapers, you’ll find the Historic District, recognized as a World Heritage site for its original buildings from the 1600s.
5. Relax in Bocas del Toro: This stunning archipelago is mostly covered in rainforest and spectacular white sand beaches – perfect for sunbathing, swimming, snorkelling or diving. Known for its laidback vibe and colour clapboard houses, Bocas del Toro is also one of the world's biodiversity hot spots.