Panama connects the world, and not only because it’s the bridge between North and South America. For centuries Panama has been a crossroads for humanity and a meeting point for peoples, goods and ideas. Settled thousands of years ago by ancient civilizations, the land that has become modern-day Panama boasts a rich melting pot of cultural diversity where indigenous roots meet African heritage and Spanish influence. It is also a place that many travelers have passed through for hundreds of years.
A visit to Panama will not only expose you to some of the oldest colonial relics in this part of the world—including the oldest Spanish fort and the first European settlement in the Pacific—but, you’ll also get the chance to see the burial grounds of an ancient civilization that once lived in the area at the ongoing excavation site, known as El Caño Archaeological Park.
Aside from the rich history of the land, Panama is home to 7 different thriving indigenous communities, two of which—the Guna and the Emberá—can easily be visited by tourists eager to learn more about their well-preserved traditions and unique cosmogenic views. Visitors can explore Panama’s Congo culture in places like Portobelo, as well as the unique gastronomy of Panama’s Afro-Carribean community. In the central provinces of Los Santos and Herrera, you’ll get to learn about the traditional folklore and Panamanian customs including the pollera, cutarras and diablicos.