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Crossroads of the World


Backpackers' Survey  Rate : 9.97 /20 Rank : 5 /5
Passplanet's Survey  Rate : 16.27 /20 Rank : 2 /5


>> Description ?  Panama is a world of contrasts, a connection between the Americas, a synthesis between modernism & tradition, Indians & bankers (in traditional costumes), natural retreats & shopping centers.

>> Why go there ?  Admire the triumph of men ingenuity at the Canal / Shop to save or save to shop / Meet colorful Indians, inside or outside of their natural habitat / Get away from the tourist crowd / Discover sandy or underwater paradises /  Breathe fresh air and cool down in the mountains 

>> Drawbacks ?  The slightly higher cost of accomodation / The ridiculous cost of some resorts near Panama City / The airport's related costs (taxi or departure tax) / The safety issues in the cities / The lack of safe land connection with South America / The obvious exploitation & misery of the Indians in some parts / The overpriced experience of the San Blas / The very bad welcome from some immigration officers

>> Cultural Highlights ?  Watching a huge vessel as it passes the locks from one ocean to the other / The charming colonial San Felipe district in the Capital, a UNESCO world heritage site / The traditions of the Kuna people in Eastern Panama

>> Natural Highlights ?  The white sand, blue water & multi-colored coral reefs of Bocas Del Toro Archipelago / The fresh air, wild torrent, coffee plantations, amazing gardens and volcano of Boquete area / The wilderness of San Blas Archipelago / The many surf spots

>> How long ?  One week for the central parts (minimum requirement), one week for the San Blas adventure and one week for additional discoveries ?

>> Budget ?  $15 per day or less if eating in basic comida. Much more for San Blas.

>> Visa ?  Necessary for a few Anglo-Saxon nationalities in theory but usually suppressed in practice 

>> When to go ?  Outside of the busy season between December & April : Panama is not too affected yet by tourism (except maybe Bocas del Toro) but Costa Rica is...