Panama occupies a strategic position between North and South America on the narrowest point of the Central American Isthmus. On a cycling holiday in Panama you can discover the greatest variety of nature in Central America with an abundance of tropical plants, animals and birds including many endemic species. A number of indigenous tribal groups survive and add an interesting aspect to Panamanian culture. A bike tour of Panama also showcases the influence of Spanish rule that lasted nearly 400 years from the grand colonial architecture of Panama City to the villages, traditions and costume of the cattle ranching farmlands.
While the coastal strips are generally flat cyclists can find more challenging ascents and thrilling descents in the mountains that are cloaked in cloud forest and run down the spine of Panama, dividing the Caribbean and Pacific coastline. In the central area between Colon and Panama city the mountains become hills and home to one of the greatest engineering feats of the 20th century – the Panama Canal – creating a navigable waterway between two oceans. It is possible to cycle alongside giant ocean-going ships or on easy trails through the tropical rainforest reserves and national parks that create a corridor along the length of the canal.
Marine and riverine life is also an important aspect of a country with 500 rivers and countless tropical islands that dot the Caribbean and Pacific coastline. You can take a break from the bike to enjoy exquisite palm-fringed beaches, clear seas and excellent scuba and snorkelling. From the Caribbean lilt of the Bocas del Toro archipelago to the indigenous Kuna people of the San Blas Islands this small country offers a surprising diversity.