Central America is a tropical isthmus that connects North and South America. It lies on the Pacific and the Caribbean Coast, making it rich and diverse in both Latin-American and Afro-Caribbean culture.
Sailing between picturesque islands, trekking through dense cloud rainforests, seeing spectacular wildlife, climbing ancient Mayan ruins, dancing in lively salsa bars, walking through bustling markets and visiting historic coffee and chocolate plantations – Central America is jam packed with adventure! Here’s In the Middle’s guide to planning the trip of a lifetime, starting in Panama.
Casco Viejo (the old city)
The old city is much quieter and a lot less touristy, making you feel as though you’ve travelled back in time. Beautiful colonial buildings and old-fashioned horse-drawn carriages are a far cry from the skyline of sky scrapers and heavy traffic that pervade the main city. Narrow cobbled streets are pathways to quirky bars, restored churches and cathedrals and authentic restaurants.
The San Blas Islands
Close your eyes and imagine a turquoise sea so clear it is a window to the colourful coral and tropical sea life that it houses. Imagine burying your feet in white sand so warm and soft that it feels like your embalming them in layers of silk.
Can you feel the wind’s soft breeze cool your skin from the sun’s powerful rays and hear the sporadic fall of coconuts from the palm trees? No, this is not heaven. This place exists and is truly paradise.
The San Blas islands comprise of 378 Caribbean islands, of which 49 are inhabited by the Kuna or Cuna, the indigenous people of Panama and Columbia. They are incredibly friendly, and for a small fee invite you to stay on their islands.
Here, you can learn to live without electricity, sleeping in wooden huts or in hammocks under the stars, catching and eating your own fresh food, snorkelling along the reefs and playing with the local children. Although you feel a million miles away from civilisation, it’s incredibly refreshing and makes you think twice about our chaotic and stressful lives.
Bocas Del Torro
Bocas Del Torro is another favourite for travellers due to its laid back Rasta and hippy vibes. The community is mainly made up of West Indians, Latino’s and resident gringos (English speaking foreigners) who are extremely welcoming. It is also an eco-tourism favourite lush tropical vegetation and marine wildlife make it the perfect place for diving and snorkelling.