Panama’s Top 12 Experiences

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From jungle adventures to bicoastal diving, Panama offers terrific experiences that should be on every traveler’s list. Here are Fodor’s top picks for a memorable trip.

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Handicraft Markets

Exploring Panama City’s handicraft markets is a must even for non-shoppers. Browse the colorful stalls and learn about local cultures from shop owners who are often indigenous people.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Panama City Travel Guide

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The Panama Canal

One of the world’s remarkable engineering achievements, the Panama Canal is all the more amazing when you consider its construction took place a century ago.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s The Canal and Central Panama Travel Guide

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Barro Colorado

Hop a boat on Gatún Lake to explore the island of Barro Colorado, one of the world’s first wildlife reserves and home to more than 400 bird species and 120 kinds of mammals.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s The Canal and Central Panama Travel Guide

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Jungle Adventures

The Darién is a lush region cloaked with dense jungle. For an unforgettable journey, explore this remote land with an experienced guide.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Eastern Panama Travel Guide

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Panama Beaches

With some 1,500 miles total of Pacific and Caribbean coastlines and with no spot in the country more than fifty miles from a coast, Panama is a country fringed by beautiful beaches.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Panama Travel Guide

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Bicoastal Diving

In Panama you can dive the Pacific and Caribbean on the same day. Pacific dives have bigger schools of fish; Caribbean sites offer sponge, coral, and wreck diving.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Panama Travel Guide

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The Emberá

The Darién province was the original homeland of Panama’s indigenous Emberá people, and if you venture there, you’ll see this group at its most authentic.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Eastern Panama Travel Guide

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Surf Tours

Hotshot surfers flock to Panama for the challenging reef breaks, but many operators offer lessons for beginners. Take a surf tour to access Panama’s best waves.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Panama Travel Guide

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Seafood

A trip to a country whose name means “abundance of fish” isn’t complete without a fresh seafood meal. One Panamanian specialty not to be missed is ceviche (marinated, raw fish).

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Panama Travel Guide

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Bocas del Toro Town

Slow down and unwind in Bocas Town, where there are almost no cars but plenty of bicycles. Stroll or pedal its wide streets lined with brightly colored, wooden Caribbean houses.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Bocas del Toro Archipelago Travel Guide

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Casco Viejo

Stroll beneath latticework balconies on brick streets and discover this historic Panama City neighborhood, a World Heritage Site with a pastel patchwork of ancient churches, convents, shops, and homes.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Panama City Travel Guide

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Land of the Guna

The indigenous Guna people hold the deed to what is arguably Panama’s most stunning scenery: white-sand beaches, coconut palms, and 300-plus islands off the northeast Caribbean coast.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Eastern Panama Travel Guide

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