Off the Beaten Path: Exploring Panama’s Hidden Gems

When researching amazing places to visit, invest, or relocate to Panama often makes the short list. With a business and foreigner-friendly government, easy access from the United States, and a wonderful year-round average temperature, Panama has a lot to offer.
While Panama City is often the port of entry for many visitors, the country offers so much more than just its cosmopolitan capital city and legendary canal. Here are some of the experiences and places you need to add to your Panama bucket list.
Bocas del Toro
This archipelago chain offers no shortage of picturesque beaches, swaying palm trees, and aquamarine waters. The islands are a hub of surfing, rainforest exploration, and Panamanian natural beauty. Here you can rent an over-the-water villa, enjoy a trek through the forest, or catch a glimpse of dolphins playing offshore. Plan to start your adventure in Bocas Town, the capital of the province, on Isla Colón and explore from there.
Bucket List Item: Get your real-life Ariel on by swimming among the starfish at Starfish Beach.
Barú Volcano
Located in the Chiriquí province and with summit elevation of 9,200 feet, Barú Volcano is the highest point in Panama. The inactive volcano is located just outside Boquete, near the border with Costa Rica, and would-be visitors should be aware of the extreme climb and sometimes below-freezing temperatures that await them at the top. The easiest and most practical way to arrive at the summit is via a Jeep 4×4 operated by a local tour guide.
Buck List Item: Witness the sunrise from the highest point in Panama and stand in one of the few places in the world where you can see both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans with the naked eye at the same time.
Los Cangilones
Los Cangilones is a geological formation pushed up from the ocean during the creation of the isthmus of Panama. Another attraction starting from Boquete (the canyon is actually in Gualaca), these unique rock formations are cut by turquoise waters leading to a unique swimming experience. The area is accessible by vehicles making this a great opportunity for adventurous exploration for all ages and skill levels.
Bucket List Item: Experience a swimming excursion unlike any other with turquoise water and an open,yet cavernous, feel.
El Valle de Anton
Home to the world’s second-largest extinct volcano, El Valle de Anton is home to many natural exotic attractions. Here you can visit the El Nispero Zoo and Serpentario, check out the sites at Aprovaca, an orchid nursery and conservation center, and explore the many waterfalls and markets dotting the region.
Bucket List Item: Check out the Butterfly Haven where you can be surrounded by 100s of beautiful jewel-toned butterflies.

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