The Canal and Central Panama: Places to Explore


  • Colón

    The provincial capital of Colón, beside the canal's Atlantic entrance, is named for the Spanish-language surname of Christopher Columbus, though the Americans called it Aspinwall in the 19th...

  • El Valle de Antón

    A serpentine road winds north from the town of Las Uvas, on the Carretera Interamericana between Playa Coronado and Playa Farallón, to a small, lush mountain valley and the town that is sheltered...

  • Gamboa

    Though it lies a mere 40 minutes from downtown Panama City, the tiny community of Gamboa feels remote, no doubt due to the fact that it is surrounded by exuberant tropical nature. Its location on...

  • Isla Barro Colorado

  • Isla Contadora

    The island of Contadora, a mere 20 minutes from Panama City by plane, has some of the country's loveliest beaches. Half a dozen swaths of beige sand backed by exuberant foliage line Contadora's...

  • Isla Taboga

    Isla Taboga is known as the "Island of Flowers" for the abundant gardens of its small town, San Pedro, spread along the steep hillside of its eastern shore. The traditional celebrations on Isla...

  • Lago Gatún (Gatún Lake)

  • The Panama Canal

  • Parque Nacional Chagres (Chagres National Park)

  • Parque Nacional Soberanía

  • Playa Coronado

    Playa Coronado began to develop as a weekend destination for wealthy Panamanians decades ago, and today the coast is almost completely lined with condos and weekend homes, leaving few spots for...

  • Playa Farallón (Playa Blanca)

    For years, few people visited this lovely, long stretch of white beach because it lay behind a military base used by Panama's national guard and was restricted. The base saw heavy fighting during...

  • Playa Santa Clara

    The small beach town of Santa Clara lies just to the east of Playa Blanca. For years, it consisted of a tiny fishing enclave, a handful of vacation homes, and a few budget hotels. It now has the...

  • Portobelo

    Portobelo has an inspiring mix of colonial fortresses, placid waters, and lushly forested hills. Christopher Columbus named it "beautiful port" in 1502 during his fourth and final voyage to the...

  • San Lorenzo Protected Area

  • Santa Isabela

    To the east of Portobelo, the coast becomes wilder, and the ocean more pristine. Nestled in a remote cove about two-thirds of the way between Isla Grande and the Guna enclave of El Porvenir, is...

  • Sierra Llorona

    Sierra Llorona is a small but steep mountain range east of Gatún Lake and southwest of Portobelo that spends much of the year enveloped in clouds, and the abundant waterfalls that result from...


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