A small-scale country on the surface, Panama is a Central American giant and gem just awakening to its vast potential. Among its allures are sweeping rain forests teeming with exotic animals and birds; cloud forests cloaking the summits of rugged mountains; vibrant indigenous cultures that predate the conquistadores; and a cornucopia of wildlife wonders that is also brimful of castles and sleepy colonial villages where life revolves on a yesteryear hub.
Esteemed travel writer Christopher Baker takes the reader on a journey of this fascinating place in seven fact-filled chapters in this fully updated edition of this comprehensive guide. Beginning in the cosmopolitan, steamy capital of Panama City, the most cosmopolitan metropolis between Miami, Florida and Maracaibo, Venezuela, you move on to the Canal Zone and the central Caribbean, effusely forested and offering world-class birding, hiking, and white-water rafting; Kuna Yala, an island chain and narrow mainland strip administrated anonomously by indigenous Kuna people; the Darien, a biological Eden protecting the largest pristine wilderness habitat in Central America; and Central Panama, a region blessed with tourist attractions of every sort, from fine beaches and magnificent mountain scenery to pre-Columbia sites and important colonial architecture. The Azuero Peninsula evokes a different feel, home to cowboy towns simmering with sentimental allure, the heartland of folkloric tradition beckoning visitors to its festivals and pockets of colonial charm; while Khiriqui spans remote, surf-washed beaches and mist-shrouded volcanic heights; and Bocas del Toro remains the most popular tourist destination beyond Panama City, synonymous with a funky, laid-back lifestyle.
As in all the National Geographic Traveler guides, the National Geographic Traveler: Panama, 2nd ed. includes many detailed close-ups, attractive new features, such as Insider Tips from National Geographic and local experts on favorite or little known sites and events. Sidebars highlighting experiences that allow the visitor to truly get inside the local culturesuch as sampling fresh-grown coffee in Boquete; getting a jagua juice tattoo in Darién; celebrating the Festival de la Pollera in Las Tablas, where women adorn their big, colorful Spanish skirts (polleras) for a week filled with parades, music, competitions, and more will be added to the multitude of existing entries.
Christopher P. Baker has established a career as a travel writer, photographer, and lecturer. He has written several guidebooks about Cuba and Havana, as well as ones on Jamaica, The Bahamas, Turks & Caicos, and California. He is author of the National Geographic Traveler: Costa Rica (2000), the National Geographic Traveler: Cuba (2007), National Geographic Traveler: Dominican Republic (2008), and National Geographic Adventure Press's Mi Moto Fidel: Motorcycling through Castro's Cuba (2000).
The award-winning National Geographic Traveler has been enhanced with engaging new features and a contemporary redesign. Each guide begins with an introduction that enables you to sample a bit of the culture, history, and attractions before you go and plan the trip based on your own interests and length of stay.
Immerse yourself in active, in-country "Experiences" and "Off-the-Beaten-Path Excursions" you won't find anywhere else.
Other new features, such as "Insider Tips" from National Geographic photographers, writers, and experts, and "Not-To-Be-Missed" lists ensure that each visit will be memorable.
The guides' design has been simplified, opened up, and enhanced with easy-to-read tinted sections. Gorgeous color photographs, high-quality maps, and the popular walking and driving tours are still highlights of our crisp, new look.
This is an exceptionally well written and informative book. I was gravely disappointed, however, by the very small type print. Even with my bi-focals, I had difficulty reading the tiny print of the book. I continue to read in small increments, however, attemptig to read when I can barely make out the print is very frustrating.
Bottom Line No, I would not recommend this to a friend