Cosmopolitan and contradictory, Panama City is the most striking capital city in Central America, its multiple personalities reflected in the frenzied energy of its international banking centre, the laidback street-life of its old colonial quarter, its polished nightlife and the antiseptic order of the US-built Canal Zone. Located in the centre of the country, it is also a natural base from which to explore many of Panama’s most popular destinations, including its best-known attraction, the monumental Panama Canal. The colonial ruins and Caribbean coastline of Colón Province are also within reach of the capital. Southeast of Panama City stretches Darién, the infamously wild expanse of rainforest between Central and South America, while to the north, along the Caribbean coastline, Guna Yala is the autonomous homeland of the Guna, who live in beautiful isolation on the coral atolls of the Guna Yala Archipelago. West of Panama City, the Carretera Interamericana runs through the Pacific coastal plain, Panama’s agricultural heartland. This region lures travellers intrigued by the folkloric traditions and nature reserves of the Azuero Peninsula, also a major surf destination, and the protected cloudforests of the Chiriquí Highlands on the Costa Rican border. The mostly uninhabited Caribbean coast west of the canal meets Costa Rica near the remote archipelago of Bocas del Toro, a popular holiday destination thanks to its largely unspoiled rainforests, beaches, coral reefs, surfing hot spots and easy-going vibe.

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Panama features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

16 pictures that show the colours of Panama

16 pictures that show the colours of Panama

After a recent trip to Central America, travel photographer Nori Jemil shares some of her best pictures of Panama.  The geographically strategic isthmus of …

30 Dec 2015 • Nori Jemil insert_drive_file Article
10 things you didn't know you could do in Panama

10 things you didn't know you could do in Panama

There’s a whole lot more to Panama than its famous canal. Hiking, rafting, surfing and diving are just a few of the excellent adventure activities on offer, a…

08 Sep 2015 • Megan Eileen McDonough insert_drive_file Article
A little piece of paradise: visiting Panama’s San Blas Islands

A little piece of paradise: visiting Panama’s San Blas Islands

Let’s clear one thing up straight away: getting to the San Blas islands is not easy, whichever way you’re coming from. And that’s quite deliberate. The…

23 Oct 2014 • James Rice insert_drive_file Article
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