Discovering Panama - A Journey Through Its Vibrant Contrasts

Written by Peter Lauffer
May 24, 2023

Panama is a country of contrasts where modernity and tradition coexist in harmony. It is a small country located in Central America that has a unique combination of natural and cultural wonders.

On one hand, Panama City is a modern and cosmopolitan “Singapore-Like” metropolis with a skyline full of skyscrapers, luxury hotels, and shopping malls. It is the financial center of the country and a hub for international trade. Panama City is also home to the famous Panama Canal, which connects the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. The canal is one of the most important engineering feats of the 20th century, and it is considered a marvel of modern engineering. The Panama Canal is a major attraction for tourists from all over the world, who come to see the ships passing through the locks and to learn about the history of the canal.

Entrance to the Panama Canal

On the other hand, in the rural areas of Panama, traditions, and customs have been preserved for centuries. Indigenous communities continue to live in harmony with nature and maintain their ancestral way of life. The Embera people, for example, live in the heart of the rainforest and have preserved their traditional way of life, including their language, music, and dance. Visitors to the Embera community can learn about their culture and traditions and even participate in a traditional dance ceremony.

🚌 Travel Tip: Panama offers a unique opportunity to visit the Embrera Communities in just a day trip from Panama City. These authentic villages are located just an hour's drive and a canoe ride away from your hotel in the city. It's rare to find a place where you can experience both rainforest cultures and cosmopolitan city life in such close proximity.
Embera Women preparing food

Panama is also a country of contrasts in terms of its natural beauty. The country has a rich biodiversity that includes rainforests, mountains, beaches, and coral reefs. The rainforests are home to an incredible variety of flora and fauna, including jaguars, tapirs, monkeys, and hundreds of species of birds. Visitors can explore the rainforest on foot, gondola or by boat and experience the beauty and diversity of this unique ecosystem. The mountains of Panama, such as the Chiriqui Highlands, offer breathtaking views and opportunities for hiking and birdwatching. The beaches of Panama are also worth a visit, with their crystal-clear waters and white sands that offer unparalleled relaxation and tranquility.

Chiriqui Highlands Waterfall

In contrast to the modern infrastructure of the capital, rural areas are home to vast expanses of tropical rainforest, where visitors can enjoy a wide range of outdoor activities such as birdwatching, hiking, and kayaking. The Chiriqui Highlands are a popular destination for birdwatchers, with over 500 species of birds identified in the region. Visitors can also explore the area's coffee plantations and learn about the coffee-making process. The beaches of Panama are also a popular destination, with their crystal-clear waters and white sands that offer unparalleled relaxation and tranquility. The Bocas del Toro archipelago, for example, is a popular destination for surfing, snorkeling, and scuba diving.

Bocas del Toro Beach, Panama

In conclusion, Panama is a country of contrasts that offers a unique travel experience. Whether it is the modernity of the city or the tranquility of the countryside, the beauty of nature or the richness of culture, Panama has something for everyone to enjoy. With its diverse landscapes, rich history, and vibrant culture, Panama is a destination that should be on every traveler's bucket list.

Panama Canal Train

Our tour "Coffee & Rum by Rail in Colombia and Panama" offers you a chance to witness the contrasts of Panama firsthand. Along with the contrasts mentioned in the blog post, we also take you on a partial transit cruise through the Panama Canal, a ride on the Panama Canal Train from the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean, and an exploration of the most fascinating locks.

Get inspired by some photos of this amazing trip:
Liked this post? Share this post with your friends on social media!