Panama is inevitably best known for the canal and its strategic location as a key business hub between North and South America. The canal is fascinating to see, but there is so much more to Panama, which boasts a rich colonial history dating back to the Spanish conquistadores and the pirates like Captain Morgan who spent their time ransacking the towering coastal forts.
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The local indigenous culture is equally fascinating with a large number of tribes such as the Kuna living in the San Blas archipelago or the Embera tribe living in the rainforest just a short distance away from the high rise wealth of Panama City.
This narrow isthmus of land stretching 750 kms between Colombia and Costa Rica is also home to an astounding degree of biodiversity with beautiful coastlines on its Caribbean and Pacific sides, unspoiled beaches and coral reefs, many National Parks and beautiful peaks and volcanoes and thousands of square kilometres of tropical rainforest that are home to an amazing variety of flora and fauna including almost 1000 species of birds.
Despite its neighbour Costa Rica being far better known for its ecotourism, Panama is gaining ground fast, but still has the benefit of a much richer culture and getting fewer visitors. And as the local saying goes, ‘In Costa Rica there are 15 tourists watching each Quetzal bird, but in Panama there are 15 quetzals watching each tourist!’
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