Introducing Canal Zone
The Canal Zone is home to a number of impressive attractions, especially if you’re into wildlife-watching, hiking and bird-watching. On a day trip from Panama City, you could visit the Miraflores Locks and finish at the Parque Nacional Soberanía and the Panama Rainforest Discovery Center. With prior arrangements, you could also take an organized tour of Isla Barro Colorado, one of the world’s most famous tropical research stations, or an Emberá or Wounaan village on the shores of the Río Chagres. If you want to spend the night in the area, it’s worth parting with a little cash for the experience of staying at either the Canopy Tower or the Gamboa Rainforest Resort.
All of the attractions in the Canal Zone are located along the highway that runs from Panama City to Gamboa, the small town where the Río Chagres enters Lago Gatún. They can be reached by taking the Gamboa bus, which departs frequently from Albrook bus terminal (US$0.85).
Parque Nacional Soberanía
A few kilometers past Summit Botanical Gardens, across the border into Colón Province, the 22,104-hectare Parque Nacional Soberanía is one of the most accessible tropical rainforest areas in Panama. It extends much of the way across the isthmus, from Limón on Lago Gatún to just north of Paraíso, and boasts hiking trails that brim with a remarkable variety of wildlife.