Πέμπτη, 8 Σεπτεμβρίου 2011

PANAMA




YOU KNOW THAT PLACE IN YOUR MIND WHERE THE WORLD IS YOURS ALONE?

IT’S CALLED PANAMA!

IT IS ONE OF THE MAJOR CROSSROADS OF THE WORLD, THE LAND BRIDGE BETWEEN NORTH AND SOUTH AMERICA, THE CONNECTING POINT BETWEEN THE ATLANTIC AND PACIFIC OCEANS. THAT MAKES PANAMA AN IMPORTANT DESTINATION BUT NOT THAT ALONE…
PANAMA HAS A GREAT VARIETY OF ATTRACTIONS ALL IN CLOSE PROXIMITY. EXOTIC TROPICAL RAINFORESTS, MOUNTAIN REFUGES, CARIBBEAN BEACHES, SEVEN LIVING INDIAN CULTURES, HISTORICAL SITES, MIAMI-STYLE CAPITAL, GREAT DIVING, SURFING, CANOPY, KAYAKING AND RAFTING AREAS AND OF COURSE THE PANAMA CANAL.

THE PANAMA CANAL HAS BEEN CALLED “THE EIGHT WONDER OF THE WORLD”! IT TOOK 250.000 PEOPLE FROM ALL OVER THE GLOBE AND MORE THAN TEN YEARS TO BUILD! IT USES A SYSTEM OF LOCKS-COMPARTMENTS WITH ENTRANCE AND EXIT GATES. THE LOCKS FUNCTION AS WATER LIFTS: THEY RAISE SHIPS FROM SEA LEVEL (THE PACIFIC OR THE ATLANTIC) TO THE LEVEL OF GATUN LAKE (26 METERS ABOVE SEA LEVEL). THE SHIPS THEN SAIL THE CHANNEL INTO THE OCEAN. AT THE MIRAFLORES LOCKS YOU CAN SEE THE VESSELS RISE AND DROP MORE THAT 50 FEET AS THEY MAKE THEIR WAY FROM ONE OCEAN TO ANOTHER! A VISIT TO THE PANAMA CANAL IS A UNIQUE EXPERIENCE!

PANAMA CITY IS A COSMOPOLITAN CITY WITH HIGH SKYSCRAPERS AND IT IS ONE OF THE SAFEST CITIES IN THE AMERICAS. THERE ARE THREE SITES TO VISIT: PANAMA VIEJO WHICH IS THE HISTORICAL RUINS OF THE 16TH CENTURY, CASCO VIEJO WHICH IS THE 17TH CENTURY SPANISH COLONIAL AREA WITH THE CHURCH OF THE


GOLDEN ALTAR, RUINS OF COLONIAL CONVENTS AND ORIGINAL DUNGEONS. AND THEN THERE IS THE MODERN SKYSCRAPER CITY WITH ITS BUSINESS DISTRICT, THE PANAMA CANAL MUSEUM, THE FORMER AMERICAN CANAL ZONE, THAT CONSISTS OF THE AMERICAN CITY THAT USED TO HOUSE THE PEOPLE WHO WORKED FOR THE
CANAL CONSTRUCTION AND THE ADMINISTRATIVE BUILDING. THE AMADOR CAUSEWAY IS A ONE MILE PROMENADE, CREATED BY CONNECTING FOUR SMALL ISLANDS IN PANAMA BAY. THE CAUSEWAY IS SWEPT BY FINE RESTAURANTS, CAFÉS AND SHOPS. HERE IS ALSO LOCATED A YACHT CLUB AND THE SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTE OF TROPICAL RESEARCH AQUARIUM.
THE METROPOLITAN PARK IS A RAINFOREST WITHIN THE CITY LIMITS AND GUIDED TOURS ARE OFFERED TO THIS NATURAL RESERVE.

THE PANAMA CANAL RAILWAY TRANS-ISTHMUS RIDE IS ANOTHER MUST DO WHILE VISITING PANAMA. IS THE ORIGINAL TRANSCONTINENTAL RAILWAY OF 1850 THAT HAS BEEN RE-OPENED. THE RIDE TAKES YOU ACROSS THE ISTHMUS FROM PANAMA CITY ON THE PACIFIC OCEAN TO THE PORT OF COLON ON ATLANTIC OCEAN. ALONG YOU CAN ENJOY VIEWS OF THE LUSH RAINFOREST.

PORTOBELO IS A PICTURESQUE BAYSIDE TOWN WITH THE RUINS OF FOUR SPANISH FORTS AND A RESTORED CUSTOMS HOUSE. IT USED TO BE A TARGET FOR THE PIRATES BECAUSE IT WAS THE SHIPPING POINT TO SPAIN FOR ALL THE TREASURES OF THE INCA EMPIRE.

FORT SAN LORENZO IS A STUNNING RUIN OF A SPANISH FORT AT THE MOUTH OF RIO CHAGRES IN THE CARIBBEAN SEA.

PANAMA IS PROBABLY THE ONLY COUNTRY IN THE AMERICAS THAT HAS STILL SEVEN ANCIENT CULTURES LIVING! ONE OF THEM, THE EMBERA INDIANS ARE ALLOWING TOURISTS TO VISIT THEM IN THEIR VILLAGE. THEY LET YOU IN THEIR BUNGALOW-STYLE HOUSES, THEY COOK FOR YOU, THEY DANCE FOR YOU AND THEY LET YOU GET TO KNOW THEIR CUSTOMS. WITH AN INDIAN “CAYUCO”, SMALL BOAT, YOU WILL TRAVEL ACROSS LAKE ALAJUELA THROUGH THE BEAUTIFUL, TROPICAL RAINFOREST REALLY MUST DO-UNIQUE EXPERIENCE!!!!



WITH MORE THAN A THOUSAND ISLANDS ALL OVER THE COUNTRY AND MANY OF THEM WITHIN EASY REACH FROM THE CITY, IT IS THE PERFECT PLACE FOR BEACH LOVERS AS WELL! CORONADO ISLAND IS ONE OF THEM, JUST AN HOUR FROM PANAMA CITY AND YOU ARE IN THIS SEA-SIDE VILLAGE-ISLAND, WITH WHITE SAND AND SAPPHIRE BLUE WATERS IN THE PACIFIC OCEAN – SIMPLY PARADISE! ALSO IN THE PACIFIC ARE THE PEARL ISLANDS WITH GREAT SNORKELING OPPORTUNITIES.


IN THE ATLANTIC OCEAN AS WELL AS THE CARIBBEAN SEA, THE
ISLANDS ARE OF THE SAME PERFECTION! BOCAS DEL TORO ARCHIPELAGOS AND THE SAN BLAS ISLANDS OFFERS STUNNING BEAUTY WITH GORGEOUS BEACHES AND TROPICAL SCENERY. SNORKELING IS SUPERB WITH CORAL REEFS SO BEAUTIFUL, DESCRIBED TO LOOK LIKE GARDENS! 

TRAVELING TO PANAMA IS EASY. THE HARD PART IS SAYING GOOD BYE…IS IT BECAUSE OF THE BEAUTIFUL LANDSCAPE, THE LUSH RAINFORESTS, THE PERFECT-TROPICAL ISLANDS OR THE FRIENDLY PEOPLE? OR IS IT MAYBE BECAUSE TIME PASSES SLOWLY AND HAPPILY, NO ONE SEEMS TO MIND!...


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