Famous for its canal, Panama is much more than just a quick shipping route from one ocean to another. Panama City’s historic old part Casco Viejo is gearing for its second coming and the newer parts of the capital are home to wonderful restaurants, shopping, dance clubs and hotels by the ocean. The best way to experience the ingenuity of the canal is to take a boat tour through the locks and marvel the way people figured out to how balance the different sea levels between the oceans and make transport possible. Most of the country is easily accessible by excellent roadways making it an anomaly in the region.

In the Caribbean side you will find Bocas del Toro, a laid-back island community with small hotels, dive shops and restaurants. Here healthy reefs, dolphins and mangroves delight divers and snorkelers. Also on the Caribbean side, the beautiful San Blas island chain is the home of the autonomous indigenous Kuna people. Panamanian highlands offer small towns and excellent hiking, white water rafting and bountiful wildlife. The best diving in Panama is on the Pacific side at Coiba Island. Here you will find big fish action, reef sharks, schools of jacks and trevally, dolphins and golden rays. Coiba Island, a former penal colony is today a gorgeous wildlife preserve. To experience the diving at Coiba at its best, join one of the Yemaya or Inula liveaboard charters.  

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