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There is a great deal of uncharted territory throughout Panama, and this in part is what makes it such an extraordinary place to visit. Stay off the beaten track with this guide to the best hidden gems the country has to offer.
A Pacific beach so off-the-radar that it feels like a private beach, Pedasi is a famous surfer’s paradise just five hours from Panama City. Despite its beauty and lapping waves of warm water, this destination continues to stay off lists of featured places to visit in Panama. If you prefer a beach that feels exclusive to you, Pedasi will be paradise. If you are more interested in a lively beach, try Bocas del Toro.
A Caribbean seaside sleepy town that was originally named Puerto Bello, meaning “beautiful port,” has over time become Portobelo today. Built by the Spanish to protect their riches from pirates in the 18th century, Portobelo is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with a rich history. Often lost in the noise of larger, more popular nearby Caribbean towns such as Colon and Bocas del Toro, Portobelo offers a quaint paradise unlike any other.
The Amador Causeway was built from excavated rocks from the construction of the Panama Canal, and stretches four miles (six kilometers) to connect three islands. Popular among local Panamanians, it is rarely advertised to visitors. It’s lined with restaurants and shops, and locals love to bike along the Causeway; you can, too, as there are plenty of bike rentals available here. The causeway boasts an outstanding view of Panama City from one side, and a view of the Panama Canal on the other.
Everyone makes sure to visit Casco Viejo, and with good reason: it’s incredible. However, the less-visited area, Panama Viejo, packs an interesting punch of important Panamanian history. The Welsh privateer Captain Henry Morgan destroyed most of what was then Panama in 1671, but until then it had been an important Spanish trading town. Nowadays there are a number of ruins left behind from that time that make for a fascinating visit.