Category Archives for "Panama"

Must see locations, events and places to travel and enjoy in Panama.

Archipelago de San Blas – Panama

A Glimpse of Living History

Living a timeless existence on a scattering of small, idyllic tropical islands along the Caribbean coast of Panama, the Cuna Indians are a self-governing island community that Panama has encouraged to live according to their ancient ways. They are colorful and proud people, and their autonomous and matriarchal province is a throwback to the Caribbean before the onset of mass tourism.

The Cuna jealously guard their traditional economic and governance systems, music, dance, and dress. The men’s attire is more Western than that of the women, who wear vividly colored skirts and gold necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and often nose rings and a black line tattooed down the length of their nose. They are known for elaborate hand-stitched molas, cloths made from many layers of colorful fabrics – the most popular of Panamanian handicrafts. The San Blas Archipelago comprises 365 islands, although the Cuna say there are many more than that – some are nothing more than a palm tree on an uninhabited spit of white sand.

Panama Canal – Panama City to Colón, Panama

The Greatest Engineering Show on Earth

Built across the narrowest point between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, the epic Panama Canal remains one of the greatest engineering achieve­ments of the 20th century. The ingenious network of dams and locks linking two oceans took more than 75,000 workers more than ten years to build, Centuries of bankruptcy, mismanagement, and malaria delayed the project a number of times after the idea was first presented in 1524 by King Charles V of Spain.


An aerial view of the Panama Canal

The first ship sailed through in 1914. Today ships line up on each side, waiting their turn to enter the canal, which operates around the clock. Most cruise ships offer on-board lecturers, who describe the three sets of double locks and how they function during the eight-hour, 50-mile crossing. Large ships worldwide are built with the Panama Canal’s locks in mind (1,000 feet long and 110 feet wide), so no one has gotten stuck so far. Ships are charged according to size, the average com­mercial ship paying approximately $30,000. Individuals can no longer swim across, as Richard Halliburton did in 1928; he was charged 36 cents.