Getting there: regular flights from major cities to Tocumen International Airport near Panama City
What to see: Panama City, Panama Canal, Panama Viejo, Caribbean and Pacific beach resorts
Currencies: Panamanian balboa, US dollar
Official language(s): Spanish, English
Strategically located on the isthmus that forms a bridge between North and South America, Panama is often thought of in connection to the Panama
Canal, a tourist attraction in its own right and engineering marvel that links the Pacific to the Caribbean Sea.
Besides man-made wonders, Panama is a breathtakingly beautiful place to explore offering adventure travelers, surfers, and beachcombers alike miles of tropical fun in the sun.
The capital and sprawling metropolis of Panama City is usually a good starting point for exploring the entire country.
The city offers its own urban charms, including duty-free shopping (a bit overrated, although bargains can be had). but definitely don't miss a close look at the local flora and fauna at Parque Natural Metropolitano, a true urban oasis and tropical forest inhabited by monkeys, iguanas and birds. Also get to know the local history and culture with a trip to nearby Panama Viejo, a virtual open-air museum featuring the ruins of the first Panama City built in 1519.
Farther afield is the country's main appeal for sun worshipers, Panama's Pacific or Caribbean coastal beaches (as well as world-class golfing at Coronado Beach), or find your own private piece of heaven with a boat excursion to one of the sunny tropical islands just off the coast - offering snorkeling, windsurfing, and fishing, all easily accessible from Panama City.
DID YOU KNOW? Panama Travel Fun Facts
• Panama is the only place in the world where you can see the sun rise on the Pacific and set on the Atlantic.
• Many Americans have retired to Panama. The reason? There are many -- including the tropical weather, cheap real estate, special tax exemptions, and the familiar currency used -- the almighty American dollar.
• For an international crossroads, Panama is pretty isolated. Although bordered by Colombia, there is still no overland access to their only neighboring country.
More about Panama tourism around the Web:
to Panama - The official site of Panama Tourist Bureau with in-depth information on major attractions, islands and beaches with practical travel tips and background on the country's history and culture.
Panama Report - The latest travel news and blog reports with what to see and do around the country, special reports on shopping, hotels & restaurants, guides to retirement and real estate investments, photo galleries and overviews of Panama history and culture.
Panama travel guide - Wikitravel - Excellent overview of the country, its history and people with insider tips on top attractions, getting around by car and bus, suggested hotels and nightlife hotspots, local customs, dialects, and even a guide to the Panamanian sense of humor.
panamainfo.com - Extensive directory of all things Panama including hotel & restaurants guides, feature articles on top destinations, photos.