2011's tourism hotspots: What to do in Panama
Wednesday 30 March 2011
Panama has been undergoing one of Latin America's biggest hotel booms to date and it shows no sign of slowing down as it steams through what could be a golden year for the country's tourism.
According to hotel analyst STR, the Central American nation will see more than half the current number of hotel rooms available being added within the next three years, the largest jump in Central and South America.
It's no surprise that major chains are piling into the tropical nation - it offers stunning natural scenery, a rich cultural heritage, excellent tourism infrastructure and in Panama City, one of the best nightlife offerings in the region.
A look at what visitors can do in a country selected by Lonely Planet as one of its "top 10 countries for 2011."
Sunbathe. Panama boasts 2,857 km of coastlines and well over 300 days of sun ever year, along with plentiful islands.
See the fortresses. The almost intact walls of the Caribbean fortifications such as Portobello & San Lorenzo hark back to Panama's colonial past, offering stunning views out to the Caribbean sea.
Go rafting. Panama has near 500 rivers lacing its rugged landscape, affording some excellent whitewater rafting excursions - although they're not for the faint-hearted.
See the canal. Probably Panama's most famous feature, the Panama Canal is one of history's greatest engineering works and one of the country's top tourist attractions. Visit the Miraflores Visitors Center for a look at how it all works and a restaurant overlooking the Canal itself.
See the city. Panama City is the starting point for most guests and offers excellent shopping, superb restaurants, and a rapidly expanding number of luxury hotels.
Get out of the city. Panama City is surrounded by dense tropical jungle, giving residents and visitors a chance to stretch their legs in stunning surroundings.
Trek. Expanding on the above, despite the fact that the Darien Gap, which straddles the Panama-Colombia border, is one of the world's most dangerous places, tourists can go coast-to-coast on the Panamanian side - according to TNT Magazine, it's one of the world's best jungle treks.
The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations
- 1 Man on naked bike ride gets ejected after becoming aroused
- 2 Charles Kennedy 1959-2015: A gifted, compassionate politician whose career was cut short by the 'demon drink' - latest news
- 3 Ann Summers survey reveals the UK's favourite sex position
- 4 Jaden Smith wears gender fluid dress to high school prom with Hunger Games actress
- 5 How much sex should I be having?
Rail strike: Two walk-outs by Network Rail staff called off following talks
Inside Travel: Greece 2015 Q&A - should we cancel our Greek holiday? Are our flights safe? And what will we be spending there?
The most powerful passports in the world
The 10 Best lightweight luggage
The 10 Best hiking boots
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination
Migrants in Kos: Photos show real tragedy after Brits abroad complain of 'awkward' holidays
British tourists complain that impoverished boat migrants are making holidays 'awkward' in Kos
Michael Gove determined to scrap the Human Rights Act – even if Scotland retains it
Threat to scrap Human Rights Act could see UK follow Nazi example, warns UN official
Why this year's general election was the most unfair in Britain's history
£25000 - £34000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: With offices in Manchester, Lon...
£15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing fitness cha...
£35-40k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing Communicati...
£23K: Guru Careers: We're seeking an experienced Membership Administrator, to ...