October 15th, 2012 @ // No Comments

Panama: Crossroads of the The Americas

Perhaps the world’s only country that lies at the crossroads of North and South Americas, Panama is without any doubt an underrated tourist destination that is worth of visiting at least once in a lifetime. It boasts a very interesting culture, a canal that connects the Pacific and the Atlantic Oceans, the largest rain-forest in the Western hemisphere not counting the Amazon Basin, great beaches and very affordable vacationing. Panama is a great romantic honeymoon destination for laid back, yet active couples who want to experience off the beaten tourist paths.

A few interesting facts about the country: all Survivor episodes were taped in Bocas del Toro, Caribbean part of Panama and one of the country’s top tourist attractions;  the region claims to have the most diverse wildlife in the world; the unique Archipiélago de las Perlas includes over 200 islands and islets (many of which are uninhabited and unnamed); one of them was picked as a residence for Iran’s shah – Mohammed Reza Pahlavi – who was exiled after the Iranian revolution of 1979. The archipelago got its names from abundance of pearl oysters in the area. One of the most notable islands in the group – Isla Contadora – offers Central America’s poshest resorts. But what makes Panama very attractive is its friendly and welcoming people as well as its accessibility!

Panama’s unique geographic location is home to equally unique flora and fauna.  A lot of effort goes into reserving the natural heritage: almost 30% of Panama’s land is dedicated to conservation purposes. Majority of the National Parks and Wildlife Refuges are publicly accessible, thus allowing you to wander through jungles, mountain ranges, dormant volcanoes, beaches and even deserts. Volcan Baru National Park, for example, is named after the highest point in the entire country which rises to 11,400 feet above sea level! In the Bay of Portobelo (which is a UNESCO- designated World Heritage Site since 1980), you will see swampy mangroves, lagoons,  turquoise beaches and ruins of a once-thriving trade colony.  Apart from abundant flora and fauna , pristine islands, surrounded by crystal aquamarine water, and white sandy beaches, you will have an opportunity to learn about the region’s history and culture, including its pre-European settlement era. The excursions to native communities , such as the ones run by the Kuna and Embera tribes, will be one of the highlights of your honeymoon. Besides, you can get really unique, locally made souvenirs, such as molas (colorful blouses)  that will remind you about unforgettable journey to Panama.

exotic honeymoon_Kuna village

Moreover, marvelous islands both in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans give you an incredible variety of activities: sunbathing, snorkeling, sailing, swimming, scuba-diving  Your honeymoon definitely won’t be boring. And returning to the country’s capital and largest city – Panama City – it should be mentioned that Casco Viejo, the old section of town, protected by the UNESCO Heritage Site status since its buildings and churches date back to the XVII century. Some of the city parts are great examples of the Spanish colonial architectural style. Finally, do not forget to marvel one of the 20th century’s construction feasts : the Panama Canal.

sweet honeymoon in Panama City

In conclusion,  Panama offers the advantages of modern urban centres like Panama City and easy access to  excellent nature sights, all of which can be explored on a tight budget.

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