|Panama City||C$ 408|
|San Blas||C$ 408|
|Buena Vista||C$ 408|
|Las Lajas (Chiriqui)||C$ 636|
It may be best-known for a hat it did not invent and a canal it did not build, but Panama is nevertheless a destination well worth visiting. Despite these less-than-stellar claims to fame, travellers arriving on cheap flights to Panama will discover a land that combines the tropical appeal of diverse flora and fauna with secluded beaches and a rich history.
Bordered by Colombia and Costa Rica, Panama features two coastlines along the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea. Thirty per cent of the country is made up of national parks and nature reserves. As such it is no surprise that Panama translates from a native dialect to “abundance of fish and butterflies”. These are certainly plentiful as are breathtaking scenes scattered throughout one of the most magnificent wilderness areas in Central America.
When the explorer’s life gets tiring, the wonders of Panama City, easily the most vibrant and engaging capital city in the region, await.
Regardless of what attracted you to Panama, it’s not often you can find yourself able to swim in two different oceans in one morning.
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Panama has a tropical climate with high temperatures of 32 C and lows of 21 C. The Pacific coast has a dry season from December through March, and can be the best time to visit.
Several religious festivals dominate Panama’s social calendar and attract huge crowds resulting in higher prices for visitors. The best-known of these is the local Carnival celebration that takes place over the four days leading up to Ash Wednesday. The exact date varies from year to year but it is celebrated across the country and features raucous celebrations in the form of parades and outdoor dance clubs as well as fireworks. Several weeks later, during Holy Week (the run-up to Easter) features yet more public festivities with street processions marking the event. In Kuna Yala, February is the time of Independence Day celebrations of the indigenous Kuna peoples.
Although the temperatures remain fairly high throughout the year, most people taking cheap flights to Panama tend to avoid the rainy season between May and November.
By car: Roads in Panama are reasonably good and car rental agencies are well-represented throughout the country but keep in mind that you need to be at least 23-years-old to rent a car. If you’re planning excursions off the beaten path it may make sense to opt for a four-wheel drive vehicle.
Taxis are common throughout the country but are not metred meaning that it is wise to agree a price in advance to avoid any potential misunderstandings later. Nevertheless taxis are quite cheap and drivers do not expect tips. Finally, seat belts are mandatory for passengers in the font seats.
By bus: There is an extensive bus network in operation throughout Panama and they are popular way for the locals to get around. However, keep in mind that they can be excruciatingly slow at times and avoid if in a hurry.
By rail: The Panamá Canal Railway Company operates a 76km passenger route from Panama City to Colón. However, this is more of a sightseeing rather than transportation option.
(prices quotes are from London)