Panama is a country of cultural and natural beauty; its roots reach back into history as a trade hub and today, its skyline ever-evolving as a real estate and travel hotspot. But with all the widely-publicized beauty the country retains, here are our 5 spots you’ll rarely read about in pamphlets or see on TV.
Isla Canas, Los Santos: This small island just south of Pedasi in Panama’s Azuero Peninsula is a gem waiting to be discovered. It is the home to a thriving native population, some of the most secluded beaches in the country, and the nesting location of giant leatherback turtles. Bring a tent as few, if any, accommodations exist.
Lago Bayano, Darien: This giant lake sits in the province of Darien which, on paper, is a dangerous place due to its proximity to the border with Columbia. However, this region is far north enough to void you of harm; its pristine good looks enough to impress even the most seasoned eco-traveler. Explore the caves surrounding the rim of the lake, or discover hidden waterfalls on perhaps on of Panama’s most far-flung paradises.
Boca Brava, Chiriqui: An island, lying just off the coast of Boca Chica in the Chiriqui province, Boca Brava boasts white sand beaches and that great jungle-to-sea contrast. Hire a local boatman for the day (no commercial tours do this yet) and explore the surrounding coastal areas where, chances are, you’ll be the only one in sight.
The sport fishing is world-class, the indigenous Indians are culturally rich, and it’s only an hour from the capital city of David! Playa Chiquita, Colon: The Caribbean coast in Panama tours is developing at a slower rate than the Pacific, but there are still wonderfully quaint towns to enjoy. Drive up to Colon and head past Portobello to find this lovely beach area identified by a small fishing village and a tiny hotel. It’s about 25 minutes by boat from the nearest docking area and sports that wonderful Caribbean calm; clear waters, rustling palm trees, and a beer on the beach are in order.
Torio, Veraguas: Veraguas in the only province in the world that coasts two different oceans. Wander down the Azuero Peninsula to the sleepy town of Torio for surfing, hiking, or simple beach relaxation. It’s an easy drive from the hub town of Santiago on a finely-paved road. Stop at one of the roadside shacks for fried fish or enjoy some of the last remaining $0.25 beers in the Republic.
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