When It Co­mes to Li­ving Ad­ven­tu­res…

PA­NA­MA’S FOR­MI­DA­BLE NA­TU­RAL WEALTH AND ECO­LO­GI­CAL DIVERSITY HA­VE MA­DE IT ONE OF THE MOST SOUGHT-AF­TER DES­TI­NA­TIONS FOR THO­SE WHO LO­VE DOING THINGS OUT­DOORS

Excelencias Turísticas del caribe y las Américas - - Turismo Alternativo / Alternative Travel -

Nestled on the Cen­tral Ame­ri­can isth­mus, the Re­pu­blic of Pa­na­ma is both an eye­pop­ping and uni­que pla­ce. Gi­ven its geo­grap­hi­cal lo­ca­tion and cur­ved sha­pe, it's the only country in the world whe­re you can watch day­break on the Pa­ci­fic Ocean and ga­ze at the sun­set over the Atlan­tic.

Anot­her ex­clu­si­ve high­light is a tro­pi­cal jun­gle, just a 10-mi­nu­te dri­ve from the mo­dern ca­pi­tal, which allows visitors to ha­ve ac­cess to parks that ha­ve been de­cla­red Biosp­he­re Re­ser­ves and World He­ri­ta­ge si­tes.

Pa­na­ma stands out for its con­di­tion as a “hin­ge” na­tion, a brid­ge bet­ween two seas and a pri­vi­le­ged mee­ting ground for cul­tu­res from around the glo­be. The well-known Ca­nal –of pa­ra­mount im­por­tan­ce for in­ter­na­tio­nal tra­de- and the Co­lon Free Tra­de Zo­ne –it's by far the lar­gest free tra­de zo­ne of the Ame­ri­cas and the se­cond in the world- ha­ve ma­de ma­jor con­tri­bu­tions to trans­for­ming the te­rri­tory in­to a plat­form of ma­ri­ti­me, com­mer­cial, real es­ta­te, fi­nan­cial and, last but not least, tou­rist ser­vi­ces.

Vie­wed this way, it's not by chan­ce that the Pa­na­ma Tou­rism Aut­ho­rity (ATP is the Spa­nish acronym) an­noun­ced that the na­tion will host the Ad­ven­tu­re Week, an event that seeks to show­ca­se the top des­ti­na­tions as far as ad­ven­tu­re tou­rism is con­cer­ned. This initia­ti­ve is al­so the joint brain­child of the Pa­na­ma Tou­rism Cham­ber and the Ad­ven­tu­re Tra­vel Tra­de As­so­cia­tion (ATTA).

One of the main strengths of the Ad­ven­tu­re Week is to gi­ve a num­ber of fo­reign guests the chan­ce to dis­co­ver and ex­plo­re dif­fe­rent tra­vel des­ti­na­tions in a bid to en­cou­ra­ge vi­sits in the mid and long run.

Ac­cor­ding to ATTA, a trip is la­be­led as ad­ven­tu­re tou­rism when it in­vol­ves th­ree ba­sic ele­ments: na­tu­re, cul­tu­re and phy­si­cal ac­ti­vity, which in­clu­des trek­king, cy­cling, rock clim­bing and raf­ting. In this sen­se, Pa­na­ma has it all.

It's sound to say that ad­ven­tu­re tou­rism –it's in­deed a re­la­ti­vely new initia­ti­ve- has al­ready yiel­ded po­si­ti­ve out­co­mes and sa­tis­fac­tory ex­pe­rien­ces to tho­se who ha­ve put their smart mo­ney on its po­ten­tials, eit­her in the form of eco­tou­rism (ex­plo­ra­tion of na­tu­ral areas), ac­ces­si­ble tou­rism (cul­tu­ral in­cur­sions or ex­tre­me ac­ti­vi­ties, such as bun­gee), ex­ci­ting tou­rism (pa­ra­sai­ling, moun­tain clim­bing, buil­ding bun­gee, rock clim­bing and spe­leo­logy) or ethno-tou­rism (the ap­proach to dif­fe­rent cul­tu­res th­rough long walks down poorly-de­ve­lo­ped areas).

The list of pla­ces for the­se to-dos re­com­men­ded by ex­perts in­clu­des Va­lle de An­ton, the wa­ters of the Chi­ri­quí Vie­jo River, the La Ye­gua­da Re­ser­ve, and the na­tio­nal parks of Is­la Coi­ba (World He­ri­ta­ge), the Ba­rú Vol­cano and Cha­gres.

EVERY LIKING IS CO­VE­RED

Di­ving, es­pe­cially in one of the best-pre­ser­ved co­ral re­efs of the Ame­ri­can Pa­ci­fic coast, at the Coi­ba Na­tio­nal Park, or in Por­to­be­lo –the coast fea­tu­res a sun­ken air­craft- finds in the­se two pla­ces ma­jor stan­douts among visitors loo­king for this kind of th­ri­lling ex­pe­rien­ce. Zi­pli­ning or ca­nopy finds in pla­ces li­ke Bo­que­te or Cho­rro del Ma­cho a couple of set­tings ideal for this ac­ti­vity, both bles­sed with a com­bi­na­tion of good weat­her con­di­tions and la­vish fo­lia­ge.

As to raf­ting, the Ma­mo­ní and Chi­ri­quí Vie­jo ri­vers ta­ke the ca­ke. The­se two wa­ter­cour­ses are ran­ked among the top-ten lo­ca­tions on the planet for wa­ter ad­ven­tu­res. In the same breath, wa­ter sport buffs can wa­llow in a su­bli­me ex­pe­rien­ce if they hap­pen to snor­kel off Bo­cas del Toro, or do ka­ya­king in the Ga­tún La­ke.

The ideal rou­tes for cy­cling are per­ched on the Gam­boa and Ce­rro Azul areas, to­get­her with the trails near the ca­pi­tal, such as Ca­mino Plan­ta­ción, clo­se to the Sum­mit Mu­ni­ci­pal Park. And when it co­mes to moun­tain rou­tes, not­hing com­pa­res to the Ba­rú

Ac­cor­ding to ATTA, a trip is la­be­led as ad­ven­tu­re tou­rism when it in­vol­ves th­ree ba­sic ele­ments: na­tu­re, cul­tu­re and phy­si­cal ac­ti­vity, which in­clu­des trek­king, cy­cling, rock clim­bing and raf­ting. In this sen­se, Pa­na­ma has it all

Vol­cano, la­den with ac­ces­si­ble peaks and dif­fe­rent dif­fi­culty le­vels.

Ex­tre­me ac­ti­vi­ties al­so em­bra­ce wind­sur­fing, which finds in Pun­ta Cha­me a glo­rious set­ting. Wa­ke­boar­ding (sli­ding on a board that's tet­he­red to eit­her a mo­tor­boat or a wa­ter bi­ke), wet rap­pel (des­cen­ding wa­ter­falls with the help of ro­pes) and sur­fing, eit­her on the Pa­ci­fic or the Atlan­tic coast, ha­ve great allies in a num­ber of mag­ni­fi­cent bea­ches with spec­ta­cu­lar con­di­tions for the prac­ti­ce of the­se sports. The hu­ge ro­lling wa­ves of San­ta Ca­ta­li­na are one ca­se in point.

And if that's not good enough, Pa­na­ma boasts dif­fe­rent en­cla­ves that let you watch hump­bac­ked wha­les. Along the Las Per­las Ar­chi­pe­la­go, the Gulf of Chi­ri­quí, Mon­ti­jo, San Mi­guel, Pa­na­ma Bay or on the is­lands of Igua­na, Coi­ba and Ta­bo­ga, you can sta­re at tho­se ma­jes­tic sea crea­tu­res du­ring their ma­ting and spaw­ning sea­sons

Eit­her on the ground, sli­ding th­rough the air or just let­ting your adre­na­li­ne pump up as you battle choppy wa­ters, Pa­na­ma al­ways co­mes up with a per­fect –or al­most per­fect­pac­ka­ge of ac­ti­vi­ties. The isth­mus, two oceans, plen­ti­ful flo­ra and wild­li­fe, heights and risks; that's all it ta­kes to enth­rall peo­ple with the most ad­ven­tu­rous spi­rits.

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