There are very few places in the world where an eco-tourist is able to view ecological wonders that come as a result of the melding together of two large continents as well as the molding of land created by the two largest oceans in the world. There is just one such place, which is Panama. It is not a surprise that Forbes Magazine referred to Panama as being the best destination for eco-tourism in 2007.
Panama is actually the narrow isthmus responsible for connecting the Americas. While this is easy enough to remember, many people tend to forget the fact that Panama is also a delicate strip of land that works to separate both the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean by way of the Caribbean Sea.
Wildlife And Nature
Just off of the waters of Panama, you have the ability to watch whales navigating along the Golfo de Chiriqui, or you can set out to snorkel around the colorful coral reefs in either ocean. As small as it may be, there are actually over 1,500 Panamanian islands, each of which has their own white, sandy beaches. You also have the chance to watch four different sea turtles species as they nest on the beaches and wetlands of the county. The marine and aquatic life in Panama are so rich that they evoke comparisons with the Galapagos Islands that are a bit further south.
There are a number of national parks that you are able to visit for each ecological habitat that you would like to experience. The mountains that are located along the Panama’s spine also have their own beguiling charms. You have the ability to hike through forests covered with clouds or take a swim in crystal clear mountain streams. If you are feeling adventurous, you can take a trek up to Volcan Baru, which is the highest peak in Panama. Here, you will be able to have the unique experience of seeing two of the largest oceans as well as the largest continents, at the same time.
The jungles are some of the most explored regions in the world, offering a visual treat for any eco-tourist. With the 500 rivers and the 22,000 square kilometers of beautiful rainforest, you will find 940 bird special and another 125 animal species that are truly unique to Panama. If you are one of the lucky travelers, you may get to view quite a few of them.
What To Do
Panama is a region offering numerous colonial ruins and the fortifications that worked to defend old Panama, which is Spain’s capital in the new world. You can take a peek at the many fortresses that are still standing along the stunning Caribbean coast. If time permits, you can also attend the colorful festivals that take place in the towns where the Spanish legacy still lingers on.
Are you interested in dinner and a night out on the town? If so, Panama City is filled with just about any type of cuisine that you are after, including quiet cafes that overlook the city and the bay, or nightclubs that play the best music.
Best Time To Visit
This all depends on what your plans may be. Peak tourist season coincides with a dry season on the Pacific side, which falls between the middle of December and the middle of April. Weather is mostly sunny in the region and the places that are south of the Continental Divide during this time. When you are on the north side, or the Caribbean side, the rains are known to come all year long. There will be relatively less rain in February and March or September and October.
When you want to experience hiking, hitting the beaches or trekking through National Parks, the December and January dry season might be the best time. Just remember that the hotel prices and airfare could be higher during this time as well.
Plan Your Trip
With the ecological diversity in Panama, it could be tempting to take on a spontaneous adventure. It is good to make your plans before you travel to make sure that you are able to schedule everything that you want to see and do. There are some destinations that are very popular, which require reservations.
Visiting Parque Nacional Darien will give you beautiful views of nature in the tropics, but you need to book your lodging well in advance. Similar arrangements will be necessary when you want to visit Isla Barro Colorado for the Smithsonian Institution’s Tropical Research Institute.
There are a number of charming B&B hideaways and five-star lodges that have seascape views. However, Panama is also well known for being an eclectic city that will be able to accommodate any budget. There are many different places that you can go and experience the splendor even if you are tight on funds.