We get a lot of questions on Panama. It is a fairly recent addition to Apple Vacations product offerings. Gina West, one of our Regional Sales Managers, recently returned from Panama. We were able to get her to share her experiences with all of us. Now you can decide if Panama is right for you!
As a baby-boomer, in grade school, I learned the significance of this small country. It is barely more than a strip of land, the “isthmus” on the globe connecting North and South America. Until my visit, my understanding was simply this. A strip of land connecting two continents and home to the Panama Canal – a passageway critical to the world’s commerce and economy. Boy was I wrong! There is so much more to Panama than in our history books. The Panamanian Tourist Board should put me on their payroll as I have now become a self- proclaimed “unofficial ambassador” and passionate promoter of Panama. Panama should be on everyone’s travel or “bucket list” and here’s why…
Besides the critical role that the Panama Canal plays in transporting goods from the Pacific to the Atlantic, the workings of the three locks of the Panama Canal is amazing to witness and i’s history is worth exploring. My fourth grade geography class came flooding back and I was in awe, as I watched a cargo ship carrying 1500 containers maneuver it’s way through the locks from the Pacific (to the south) to the Caribbean and Atlantic (to the north). Even more amazing was seeing ship after ship stacked up behind it waiting for their turn. This 24/7/365 day operation is “business as usual” in today’s world of commerce but still one of the coolest and most amazing engineering feats ever accomplished.
I expected to be WOWED and impressed by the Panama Canal, and it did not disappoint. What I did not expect, was everything else that Panama has to offer. I truly fell in love with this destination.
In recent years, Panama has modeled itself, the government and lifestyle similar to The United States, so it’s no wonder that American travelers find Panama a very comfortable destination to visit. Panama has coin currency called the “balboa”. The value is the same as the U.S. dollar and the U.S. dollar is the standard currency used throughout Panama. Just about everything in Panama is up to U.S. travel standards. The accommodations are spacious and clean. You can drink tap water because the filtration systems are the same as here in the U.S.
There is so much to do in Panama, and so many areas to visit. It is a city destination, is it a beach destination, there is a rainforest. You can dip your toes in both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans in the same day! If you want to take a vacation to Panama, but are wondering just how to get the most out of your visit, here is what I would recommend: Plan to spend at least one week. But, don’t spend the entire week all in one place. There are three distinct areas in Panama and you should visit each.
Stay tuned to this blog and I’ll give you the sample itinerary that Gina recommends.