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Panama see + do

In Panama, it's easy to get off the well-worn trail; in fact, many of the country's best sights are still largely undiscovered. Almost all visitors start in Panama City, which is worth spending a couple days in for the historical sites, restaurants, and access to the Panama Canal. After that, it's an easy jump to the rainforests of Gamboa (by car or bus) or the more remote Darién (by plane). The mountainous coffee-growing region of Chiriquí, which has Panama's best whitewater rafting, is also just a short flight away. Beach lovers, if they're short on time, can head from Panama City to the Gulf islands—or take a more leisurely trip to the Caribbean coast for snorkeling and surfing in Bocas del Toro, or indigenous culture exploration in the San Blas islands.

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San Lorenzo Fort, Panama City

This ancient fort on the Caribbean coast, originally built by Spaniards in the late 16th century, is set on an isolated, windswept promontory...more

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San Blas Archipelago

This string of 365 islands off the Caribbean coast is, hands down, the best reason to visit Panama. The indigenous Kuna people run it as a semi-autonomous...more

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Panama City, Panama City

It's impossible to avoid hot and humid Panama City; chances are you'll have to stay overnight before moving on to the beaches of Bocas del Toro or the volcanoes...more

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Panama Canal

Locals like to call it the "Eighth Wonder of the World," and the Panama Canal, completed in 1914 at the cost of $375 million and 5,609 human lives, really is an...more

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Gulf of Panama Islands

There are no beaches around Panama City, so resident sun- and sand-lovers head to the islands in the Gulf of Panama. Beautiful and historically rich Isla Taboga...more

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The Darién

This 1.4-million-acre jungle preserve, which separates Panama from Colombia, is the country's biggest draw for nature-lovers—and like a mini–Amazon...more

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Chiriquí

Chiriquí Province, in the southwestern corner of Panama, is muy fresco, thanks to the cool mountain air. It's the same air that makes the hills outside...more

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Bocas del Toro

The archipelago of Bocas del Toro, on the northwestern coast, is one of the country's most popular ecotourism destinations—but it's still relatively...more

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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