Panama City is dynamic, sophisticated, multi-cultural and friendly. With a greater population of nearly 1.5 million, this is a major regional hub for trade and finance. It is not only the most cosmopolitan, high-rise capital in Central America, but it is surrounded by tropical rainforest. The forest is precious both as an important natural habitat and because it provides water for the commercially essential Canal, so it is very well cared for.
You will not have to go far to enjoy the typical Central American profusion of incredible wildlife. The rainforests of Soberania National Park to the east of the Canal are easy to reach and perfect for hiking and birding. Also located beside the Canal, just ten minutes from the city is the Metropolitan National Park, home to caimans, tapirs, birds and many butterfly.
The old city’s historic centre, Casco Vieja, is a delightful colonial maze of plazas, bars, churches, cafés and palaces. In contrast, the modern 1,000 metre long Centennial Bridge, built in 2004, carries the Pan-American Highway over the Canal. You can enjoy superb shopping here (high-end to ethnic) or wander through the Los Pueblos open-air mall. And just outside the city, don’t miss the stunning new Frank Gehry Biodiversity museum. Its world-class interactive exhibitions cover Panama’s emergence from the oceans and its importance in the world’s biodiversity.
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