Cool destinations to visit in Panama
Here is a short list for some great and probably lesser known cool destinations to visit in Panama, there is MUCH more to see then just the Panama Canal, aldo thats probably a must when your visiting this beautiful country. Fore more to read on and thanks for some of the images to this story about Panama please see also PTY4u.com, they offer many more destination and travel tips plus general information about Panama.
So here we go a short list followed by some images of probably lesser known destinations in Panama:
1.) Coiba Island
A paradise and worth a trip all by itself. Specialy for snorkeling and diving, but also for some hiking, swimming and sightseeing. With an area of 50.3 square miles, Coiba is the largest island in Central America, off the Pacific coast of the Panamanian province of Veraguas. Coiba National Park ( Parque Nacional Coiba) is a group of 38 islands. Unesco declared the entire Coiba National Park a “World Heritage Site”. Worthwhile also to visit the old prison and Isla Granito de Oro a marvel with crystal clear waters good for a swim or snorkeling. You must organize a trip here with a local travel agent, all visitors must register before hand with the local authorities (ANAM) and you can only stay at the rangers stations where rooms are basic and limited in numbers. Boats to here can be hired for example in Santa Catalina.
2. Fort San Lorenzo
This visit can be done as a day tour when visiting the Colon side of the Panama Canal. One must drive to the Gatun Locks first and from there to Fort Sherman where they have a check point and then to the Fort. You have a great view from the Fort and below is a small beach in case you want to go for a little swim in the Caribbean Sea. There are no reataurants or hotels here so bring your own lunch and have a little picknick at this magical spot, if your lucky you might even see some howler monkeys along the way or around the ruins.
3. Isla Grande
Since we are talking already about the beautiful Caribbean coast of Panama here is a beautiful spot to relax a few days and go for a swim or for diving around the area. Beach side restaurants, small hotels and a little resort are available here. Book in advance and best during the week as weekend it might be crowded with local visitors. Also on the way there plan a stopover in Portbello and old town with ruins from the Spanish area and little church that has the statue of the so called Black Christ.
4. The Dracula Orchid Farm in Cerro Punta
This is a magic place to visit in the mountains of Chiriqui that features guided tours to show of one of the most complete collections of rare American orchids (with a variety of over 2000 species). That place is pure magic and a delight for every nature lover. Hotels in the area include the Queztal in Cerro Punta or along the way the Hotel Bambito. The area is also a good starting point for birdwatching and tours to El Volcan Baru, but you must hire a local guide as one can get easily lost in those cloud forests.
5. The Pipeline Road and the Panama Rainforest Discovery Center
This area can be visited in a day tour from Panama City or from the Rainforest Resort Hotel in Gamboa where you can stay for a few days and do a variety of tours including to the monkey islands along the Panama Canal. From the City the drive is around 45 minutes along the Panama Canal, passing Miraflores and Pedro Miguel Locks and turning left after you pass under a small Railroad bridge where the turnoff is market by a sign that also indicates the limits of the Soberania National Park that starts there. Here you come first along the Summit Zoo also well worth a visit then the Plantation Road and Charko Hike, later the old bridge over the Chagres River unfortunately this bridge is in a shabby conditions and one wonders why they spend millions on the Canal expansion but can not afford a few thousands to fix that bridge. Anyway just after the bridge right turn off os to the Hotel Gamboa and strait on passing Gamboa to the Pipeline Roand and to the Rainforest resort see this website PTYbirds.com for some details and maps. From here you can hike along the Pipeline Road and or drive to the Rainforest Discovery Center, see also more details and fees on their website here. This area is a paradise for nature lovers and birdwatchers. A warning again stay on the roads and never wander off into the forests or you will get lost!
6. La Tavida – Cerro la Vieja
We cuote from PTYbirds.com: Cerro la Vieja (The old Lady’s Mountain) is located about 40 minutes up into the mountains from Penonome in Chiguiri in the province of Cocle. Up there you find the Eco Lodge called Posada Ecológica Cerro La Vieja, unfortunately they closed on January 2014 but still have the cabañas available at the waterfall (see the Posada Ecológica Cerro La Vieja website here for up-to-date info) Around the Hotel there are a few trails to go hiking and bird watching and don’t miss to visit the impressive waterfall La Tavida close by where the water rushes down from a height of 30 meters and you may take a refreshing bath. The cabañas at the falls are a great place to hang out for a weekend, you wont regret it!
Now there are MANY more beautiful spots to visit in Panama so start and discover some yourself and please let us know what you found! So enjoy and have a great time!
Here we attach a few images that highlight some of the destinations mentioned here: