A Destination in Vogue
ITS STRATEGIC LOCATION IN THE HEART OF THE CONTINENT, BEING A BRIDGE BETWEEN THE NORTH AND SOUTH, ITS CONNECTION WITH THE CARIBBEAN, ITS PRIVILEGED NATURE AND THE CANAL, A KEY TO COMMERCIAL AND CULTURAL DEVELOPMENT, HAVE PUSHED THIS COUNTRY TO IMPORTANT PLACE WITHIN THE LEISURE INDUSTRY IN THE AMERICAS.
Arecently-opened airport connecting Panama with the main cities of the hemisphere has specially contributed to the tourism boom in this country. This adds up to its latest democratic turns, economic progress –a Gross Domestic Product growth of 2.4 percent in 2009–, and dynamic policies fostering investment and infrastructure development.
In addition to be considered an international center of banks, Panama City’s full range of hotels opened by top world and local chains and the tremendous variety of cuisines offered by restaurants scattered all over the city clearly shows that it is a melting pot of races and a bridge, a port and a gateway into a place where visitors feel like home.
Old Panama (Panama Viejo) is one of the city’s assets, home to the first Spanish settlement looted by pirates in 1671, and a complex of monuments and museums including the Old Cathedral, a national hallmark. Colonial Panama or el Casco Viejo is another remarkable place to visit with its nice coffee houses, beautiful colonial architecture and the romantic environment of its numerous plazas and narrow streets. Both places were named World Heritage Sites by UNESCO.
A PLACE FOR ALL
Towards the coast of the capital city, the skyline of modern functional and elegant skyscrapers is a result of an ambitious real state project underway in Panama. In this panorama, the Trump Ocean Club, International Hotel & Tower Donald Trump rises up like a colossal ship propelled by the wind.
Panama has became an excellent tourism destination because of its multiple attractions, nice weather, infrastructures and varied offers, while showing off a high quality of life and policies favoring investment that make it a great place for the retired.
The Panama Canal is for many the hallmark of the country. This wonderful feat of engineer, annually used by more than 14,000 ships, came to crystallize the human dream of conquering time and distance by connecting the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. For ten years now, it has been strictly in the hands of the Panamanians who are now embarked on a development program seeking to improve its efficiency.
The Canal is crowned by tropical forests looking over the Gatun Lake, awe-inspiring scenario for ecotourism activities such as bird watching, as Panama shelters over 800 bird species. The Gamboa Resort, Melia Panama Canal, among other world-class hotels over looking the Canal are excellent platforms to enjoy day-long adventures, fishing and ecological tours in the surrounding areas.
There is also the Canopy Tower, a small and exclusive lodge ideal for birding lovers, where travelers can reach out right to the canopy of the rainforest.
With cruises sailing both sides of the canal, more than 200 luxurious ships enter Panama every year. The Colon 2000, a gateway to the Caribbean, is one of the most attractive “home ports” of Latin America. The Cristobal Port or the Gatun Yacht Club –which welcomes cruises in the middle of the Gatun Lake– are also very active; while the Flamenco Island stands as the port par excellence of the Pacific coast.
A very interesting site for cruise travelers and tourists in general is the Miraflores Locks Visitors Center where visitors can learn first hand about the history of the Canal and have a close up of the Canal operations. The center features the Miraflores restaurant that offers excellent international food.
Dynamic investment policies have helped streamline Panama City into one of the largest financial centers of the western hemisphere, now boasting a functional airport that has dramatically increased its possibilities of connections with the rest of the world
Panama is an indigenous voiced name that means abundance of fishes, butterflies and vegetation. It is the narrowest part of the continent with coasts and islands on both sides of the mainland. The largest populations in the Isthmus of Panama are on the Pacific side. Just one hour from the capital, very nice resorts like Decameron, Breezes, Playa Blanca, Coronado, Nikki Beach, Bristol are anchored by a belt of beautiful beaches. It is a very happy area and highly valued in the real state market.
The Panamanian Caribbean is fantastic, featuring hundreds of unspoiled islands and the well-known Bocas del Toro archipelago, a very special destination in this country
But there are many other destinations and interesting sites for tourism in Panama. There is the central region of the provinces of Cocle and Veraguas, Los Santos, Herrera, el Valle de Anton –a settlement located right on the crater of a volcano.
Such treasures as centennial towns with lovely architectures and churches featuring nicely-elaborated colonial altars like that of Nata or San Francisco and Parita. Deeply-rooted traditions, folklore, popular celebrations and fine crafts are in store for the visitors of the country.
Today, the travel industry chips in 10.2 percent of Panama’s GDP. However, the Panama Canal continues to be the top world-class allure this country has to offer.
Also promising are the province of Chiriqui or the Moon Valley, where the very important commercial city of David is located; and the Baru Volcano, an icon of the region with quetzals, forests and settlements like the Boquete, Volcan and Cerro Punta. In Chiquiri, visitors can enjoy agro-tourism and outdoors tours in a cool weather, have fresh vegetables and stay at very nice hotels and inns where hospitable people will help you have an unforgettable stay.
The Panamanian Caribbean is also a treat, where the crystal-clear waters of the beaches of Bocas del Toro and the Colon Island with its wooden buildings are a must. Everything is easy in this fun, musical, wonderful neck of the woods.
When talking about Panama, its ethnic groups always come to mind, considered iconic cultural elements of the country: the Emberas in the Darien and in the Chagres River, just 40 minutes from the city; the Kunas with 365 heavenly islands, its ancestral culture, its molas and dances; the Gnobes of the Chiricana Mountains and the Teribes of the forests and rivers of Bocas del Toro.
Panama is more, much more: its modern highways, the paradise of Las Perlas islands, the merlin fishing in Piñas Bay, that exclusive and famous resort of Tropic Star, the carnivals celebrated in every single site of the country, in particular those in Las Tablas known for being the most colorful of those popular fiestas.
Panama is on fashion. Enjoy it
Tourists at the Miraflores Visitors’ Center of the Panama Canal.