At the south end of the Canal, the Pacific port of Panama City has (naturally) a large duty-free shopping zone. We’d recommend touring Panama City instead. Its sophisticated, modern downtown area is the heart of Latin America’s banking industry, yet it still has Spanish colonial remnants in Casco Antiguo.
Top draw The new Frank Gehry-designed Biomuseo (www.biomuseopanama.org ) has exhibits explaining the critical role of the Isthmus of Panama the link between North and South America upon the planet’s biodiversity.
Iconic sight The Amador Causeway offers great views of the city skyline and the gleaming Bridge of the Americas that spans the Canal.
For nature lovers Metropolitan Nature Park is the only rainforest within a capital city in the Americas. Observe toucans, woodpeckers and parrots within their natural habitat. Or venture out to Soberania Rainforest, just 25km (16 miles) out of Panama City, to view monkeys, sloths, crocodiles, and 500 different bird species.