One of the most attractive and unknown countries in Central America is Panama. When mentioning it to many, only its famous Canal will come to mind. Others may have heard that it is one of the most biodiverse countries in the world. And it is possible that some that has paradisiacal beaches. To all this we must add colonial cities, a tasty gastronomy and the presence of seven different indigenous groups in its territory. As you will see, there is much to see in Panama, an emerging destination that has long remained in the shadow of its neighbors Costa Rica and Colombia.
Old town of Panama City
We continue along the Pacific, in the Panamanian capital. A surprising city with a skyline made up of modern skyscrapers that are reflected in the ocean. This part of Panama City is perfect for shopping, eating or having drinks in the most modern places in the city or staying in luxurious hotels of international chains. But for me the unmissable part of the city is its old town. There you can visit the colonial city, which was Panama City until the famous canal began to be built in 1904. Historic squares, cobbled streets, colored houses, churches in different state of conservation.
Museum of Biodiversity of Panama
Did you know that there are 1,800 species of butterflies in Panama? That is just one of the many things you can discover in this museum in the capital of Panama. The building that houses the museum is the work of architect Frank Gehry. Just to see that mosaic of intense colors that contrast with the blue of the sky and the sea, it is worth going there. If the exterior is attractive, a tour of its rooms reveals what the characteristics of Panama are to be able to boast of being one of the countries in the world with the greatest biodiversity.
This place may not be as impressive as many might hope. Most of the structures at the site have almost completely disappeared. And yet, visiting the place the first European settlement on the American Pacific coast is one of the essential places to see in Panama. Located between the mouths of the Algarrobo and Abajo rivers, off the coast of the Pacific Ocean, Panama Viejo seems to be miles away from the modern capital of the country although both places are very close to each other.
We left the Pacific to cross the country to the north and reach the Caribbean. There are some of the best beaches in the country. And also forts that recall the passage of the Spanish conquerors through Panama. One of those places is Portobelo. Christopher Columbus said when he saw it “what a beautiful port” and when you get there and see that bay in which the blue of the Caribbean blends with the vegetation that reaches the sea, it is impossible not to think like the discoverer who was looking for the Indies and found himself with America.
Fuerte San Lorenzo
This place is so spectacular that no one should leave Panama without visiting it. Built on a cliff overlooking the mouth of the Chagres River in the Caribbean, this fort is part of the UNESCO World Heritage. The fort has some very well preserved areas, such as the moat and several vaulted rooms. Built by order of Felipe II, carved coral blocks were used. It is enough to look a little to discover remains of shells or forms of coral on the walls of the fort. This not only had a defensive function. It was also a prison and you can visit some of the old dungeons.