Panama is most famous for its canal, one of the great engineering feats of the 20th century. Less well-known is the fact that the country is host to some magnificent natural scenery, including some of the most pristine areas of rainforest in the world.
The country is home to a diverse wildlife population, with over 940 recorded endemic bird species and 125 animal species found nowhere else on the planet.
The developing tourist industry is concentrating on the limitless possibilities for eco-tourism. Lodges are being established to rival those in neighbouring Costa Rica where the infrastructure is long-established. Stay in a small boutique hotel in the lush highlands and islands of the Chiriquí region or enjoy the superb facilities of the Gamboa Rainforest Resort.
Panama has almost 3,000km of beautiful coastline of coral reefs and unspoilt sands as gorgeous as any of the more celebrated beaches in the region. Several groups of low-key tropical islands provide the ultimate wind down: the remote San Blas Islands – home of the Kuna people; the jungle-swathed archipelago of Bocas del Toro; and the Pearl Islands, rich in wildlife. Those with a spirit for adventure can also kayak around the islands of Kuna Yala.
See our selection of beach hotels and resorts.
An alternative to a land-based itinerary is a cruise aboard the Discovery, which includes a visit to the remote Darien region.