GMT -5 hours
Bustling cities and unspoilt islands
Panama was once called 'The Bridge of the World' as ships arrived from Spain and cargo crossed the isthmus to Panama City. Today this intoxicating country boasts a diverse range of exciting sights. The Panama crossing, beaches, islands, rainforest and architecture are steeped in history. Holiday here and uncover stories just waiting to be told.
Best time to visit Panama
• In Central America the dry season is from December to April with a wetter season from May to November, peaking in September.
• During the wetter months mornings are generally bright and sunny, with rain in the afternoon and evening.
• Though only a short distance apart, Panama’s Caribbean and Pacific coastlines experience different seasons.
Panama holiday highlights
Central America’s most cosmopolitan capital and dubbed the ‘Miami of the South’ – Panama City contrasts modern high-rise buildings with the historic city centre of Casco Viejo which boasts charming colonial architecture. This international crossroad is a cultural melting pot offering an array of cuisines and a range of fascinating and iconic attractions. For a more peaceful atmosphere, explore further afield – the city sits on the Pacific coast near tropical rainforests, breathtaking beaches and the famous Panama Canal.
Named as one of the seven wonders of the modern world, the Panama Canal is an incredible feat of engineering. Since it was opened in August 1914, following 34 years of construction by the French and Americans, it has saved many vessels the long and often dangerous journey around Cape Horn or via the Strait of Magellan. Stretching for 48 miles from the Caribbean Sea to the Pacific, the canal features a series of artificial lakes and channels as well as three sets of locks which raise and lower over 13,000 ships a year.
The stunning archipelago of Bocas del Toro is one of Latin America’s best-kept secrets. Remotely located on Panama’s northwestern Caribbean coast, the cluster of laid back islands boasts secluded beaches, tropical forests, pristine coral reefs and clear waters teeming with tropical marine life – making it a coveted diving spot. Highlights of these Caribbean Islands include Red Frog Beach, which is named after the frogs whose skin produced venom which was used by local Indians as poison in their arrows, and Coral Cay, a small island surrounded by mangroves.