Beyond the Panama Canal

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Panama City receives approximately 1.8 million visitors each year. The vast majority come for business, cruise ships, and the obvious, to witness the opening and closing of the locks of the Panama Canal, a monumental engineering masterpiece that has served the world since 1914. Panama is full of history, culture, flavor, and mainly, nature and adventure.

An example of its natural beauty, biodiversity and stunning landscapes can be found at the Gamboa Rainforest Reserve, only a 45 minute drive from the capital. This Resort, on the edge of the Chagres River, offers an eco touristic setting that combines lodging with a variety of activities to ensure multi-experiences with its surrounding environment.

The Reserve has an Aerial Tram; from where you can observe the impressive scenery, also great for bird watching. Once at the Top, there is an observation Tower allowing you to take in the spectacular view of that side of the canal. You may also navigate the Chagres River in Kayak, go on a recreational fishing trip or adventure on a night safari.

The Gatun Lake expedition is another activity you may want to embark on; if conditions are favorable you may spot different species of monkey and crocodiles. Their flora and fauna conservation efforts include a butterfly farm, a frog farm, an orchid nursery and a wild life rescue center.

This historic countries’ culture is another of its many appeals. You can’t miss the opportunity to uncover their fascinating and wonderful indigenous roots during a visit to the village of the Embera Tribe on the Chagres River. The tour starts with an unforgettable canoe ride through the river; reaching your riverside destination and after a moderate hike, you reach a spectacular natural waterfall to enjoy a well deserve splash.

We were then guided to the tribe; we received a warm welcome and were entertained with typical music. The community leader shared information regarding their customs, traditions, life style, general culture, and dances. It was also an opportunity to learn some of their dances.

The community is very organized. They have an artisanal market where you can find wood carvings, baskets, hand bags, and jewelry at the fair price of $1.00 per day of construction time. This tour will exceed your expectations.

We highly recommend the spectacular sunset views on one of the Canal & Bay Tours boats and a magical night full of lifetime memories. On this canal tour you can watch the opening and closing of the gates, as they flood to allow the passing through the Miraflores Locks, to the Pedro Miguel Locks and navigate down river to Gamboa. At Gamboa a bus awaits to take you to your destiny; this is a required tour when you plan your visit to Panama.

You must also visit the historic district of Old Panama City; discover its colonial architect, history, night life and gastronomy. Food as well, will make you fall in love with this destination, which you must include in your list of places to visit. For more information please visit www.visitpanama.com or its social networks.