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Why This Affordable Country Is One Of The Top Destinations To Visit For 2024

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Thanks to its low consumer prices, vibrant culture, and sunny climate, Latin America has arguably become the leading destination for budget-conscious tourists, particularly Americans looking to escape the gloomy Northern Hemisphere winter.

From Mexico down to Brazil, these sunny spots are stealing the limelight and posting record arrival figures.

Still, there is one much smaller Latin gem that often gets forgotten but that has just recently been crowned one of the best travel destinations this year by CNN.

Colonial Square In Panama City, Panama, Central America

If you're looking for a unique destination that is yet to be saturated in the media and where prices aren't absurd, Panama is where you should be headed:

A Tiny Country With An Impressive Diversity In Nature

A transcontinental country sitting at the exact divide between North and Central America, at the Southernmost tip of the Central American isthmus, Panama is a small country boasting access to both the Caribbean and Pacific coasts and an impressive abundance of nature.

Aerial View from Panama City in Panama.View to Casco Viejo and Panama Canal

Traversed by hiking trails, bounded by azure waters, and with over 60% of the national territory being covered by a dense jungle, it is primarily a natural world destination, meaning it tends to attract tourists who are adverse to big cities and who are actively seeking adventure.

As the CNN writer notes, Panama has countless national parks, including Volcán Barú, home to the highest peak in the country, La Amistad, dotted with majestic waterfalls, and Coiba, a UNESCO-protected island 12 miles off the mainland offering marine life sanctuary.

panama city skyline

Other than its vast open spaces, Panama is famous for its ingenious self-titled canal, a man-built waterway that cuts across the American landmass to allow for the passage of ships between the Atlantic and the Pacific and an unparalleled feat of engineering.

Of course, there is Panamanian culture.

A Fascinating Cultural Tapestry

Beautiful Caribbean houses over the water in Bocas del Toro, Panama

Though the land was mostly forest and inhabited by native Americans originally, Spanish settlers who arrived in the 16th century would permanently alter the landscape and demographics through their introduction of urbanization and Western civilization.

At the apex of Transatlantic Spain, the constant migration influx transformed Panama into one of the most ethnically diverse territories on this side of the Atlantic, having hosted not only Spaniards but also other Europeans and, of course, enslaved Africans throughout its nation-building.

Old Historical Monument In Panama, Central America

It may have moved forward from the horrors of colonization, but modern-day Panama has stayed true to its multicultural character.

The cuisine has elements of both the Iberian (Spanish) and Native American diet, and its historical cities are reflective of the fading grandeur of an extinct empire, and that's only one facet of it.

According to CNN, Panama City is a ‘vibrant capital' with a UNESCO World Heritage Site for the city center, distinguished for its colonial architecture and Baroque churches.

Despite being a sprawling urban center, it is the only national capital to border a tropical rainforest.

Panama City Skyline

That is not incidental: it's proof that, in spite of humankind's best efforts, nature can't be beat, at least not in verdant Panama.

One thing CNN does not make mention of is how shockingly affordable Panama is for American visitors.

Panama Is Very Cheap For American Tourists

Based on data available on Budget Your Trip, a one-week trip to Panama costs only $548, on average, for one person, including accommodation, food, and local transportation.

That is approximately $78.28 per day, against Costa Rica's average daily costs of $115.

View OF A Footbridge In Boquete, Tropical Jungle In Panama, Central America

On Airbnb, you can find rooms in Boquete Garden Inn, one of the top-rated properties in the small town of Boquete, in the heart of the jungle, for only $159.86 per night, or conveniently-located guesthouses like Buena Vista Boquete for as cheap as $56.92.

In Panama City, the capital city, restaurant owners will run you between $7 and $10 per person, and even fine dining won't weigh heavy on your wallet, with main courses at some of the most traditional eateries costing $25.

Tourism in Panama is growing, and taking into account its thriving nature, fascinating culture, and high affordability, we can't say we're surprised.

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