Often called the "Bridge of the Americas" and located in Central America is the small country of Panama. It is home to the famous Panama Canal, which connects the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. With a population of just over 800,000, its capital, Panama City, is the country's largest city and is located on the Pacific entrance to the Panama Canal. It is also where all politics and administration of the country, are headquartered. This 2003 American Capital of Culture, is also a popular stop for cruise ships both before and after passing through the canal, so tourists go through the area on a regular basis.
When you visit Panama City, you will see many highrise apartments and condos as well as offices and hotels to house its large population. It is also one of the most popular places in the world to retire, according to International Living Magazine, due to its low GDP. Panama City is also a center for trade and banking and is considered to be very technologically advanced in communications and the internet.
The airport, Tocumen International Airport PTY/MPTO on the out skirts of Panama City is the busiest and largest in Central America and is listed as one of the busiest in the world for international travel.
Panama City's location near the tropical rain forests of Central America make it a great place to enjoy birdwatching as many unique birds make Panama their home. Not only birdwatching, but wildlife watching can also be enjoyed as many animals make their homes here such as the tapir, the puma, and the alligator. Located near the canal is the Centro de Exhibiciones Marinas, which is managed by the Smithsonian Institute, where you can learn about the tropical life in the area's marine waters. These nearby tropical forests provide the materials necessary for the Panama Canal to function properly. Since the canal is a vital part of the region's economy, this need for the rain forests have helped preserve them in their natural state, so you can explore one of these ecologically protected areas. While in the area, visit the Parque Nacional Soberania where you can visit a zoo and botanical gardens.
There are many things to do and places to visit in Panama City including the Las Bovedas, which is a man-made waterfront that juts out into the Pacific Ocean. There is also the National Institute of Culture Building and the French Embassy, which are right across the street from each other. A visit to Panama City should also include a visit to the Cathedral on Plaza de la Catedral and Teatro Nacional, which provides amazing natural acoustics where about 800 people can enjoy local cultural performances. Also, since the Panama Canal is so vital, consider a visit to the Museo del Canal Interoceanico, where you can read about the history of the canal and why it is so important to the area. There are also many great restaurants to please the palate located right near the French Embassy and National Institute of Culture Building, so you will not go hungry during your stay.
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