This post is also available in: Spanish
Most Germans, upon hearing “Panama,” are prompted to repeat a phrase they’ve heard from a tale: “Oh, wie schön ist Panama.” It is the title of a children’s book published in 1978 that means “Oh, how beautiful is Panama.” The phrase is repeated several times throughout the book, creating a nice image regarding our country in the minds of a vast part of the German-speaking population.
The twist, however, is that in the story, the main characters (a tiger and a bear) actually never reach Panama, their destination. And as it turns out, neither have most Germans. Panama remains a little-known tourism destination for the German market.
In this piece we offer a glimpse of just how beautiful Panama really is. After all, we are certain that German tourists would like to find out why the bear who found a box of bananas was so taken by its scent that he and a friend would set out to find this magical place.
In the press
Truth be told, Panama is a major exporter of bananas. It is also famous for its canal, considered to be one of the post-1900 wonders of the world. Today, Panama is receiving a big helping of good press by international tourism pundits like The New York Times, Condé Nast and CBS Radio who are getting the word out about all that Panama offers.
What the isthmus offers above all is the opportunity to discover it. Whereas competing destinations like the Dominican Republic and Costa Rica have long been crowded by throngs of sun-seekers, Panama offers an off-the-beaten-track feel that many travelers still seek – outside the capital city, that is.
Panama City is the shining gem of Latin American capitals. The skyscrapers, dining scene, shopping and nightlife immediately apparent upon arriving in the capital are often unexpected surprises.
Out in the country side
But upon leaving the metropolitan urbe, whether to the Caribbean via superhighway (a trip that takes just over an hour from the Pacific side) or by plane or car to the mountain or beach destinations scattered throughout the country, it is immediately apparent to visitors that they are part of the discovery of a very special and blessed nation.
The population of Panama is historically diverse In every city and town in the nine different provinces, people celebrate their unique heritage in their very own ways. Crafts, vernacular, religious ceremonies, folklore and food varies from region to region.
This year, Panama ranked best out of Central and South America in the World Economic Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report, beating out better-known tourism neighbor Costa Rica. The report analyzed criteria including environmental sustainability, safety and security, air, tourism, transport, information and communications infrastructure.
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