Mention "Panama" and the first thing most people think of is the canal. The second thing is David Lee Roth screaming/singing Paaanamaaaaa! in the 1984 Van Halen song. And that's about it... unless you get a history buff who knows a little bit about pirate lore.
But Panama is much more than a canal and a song title, (which was really about a car, but that's another story). I recently had a chance to spend some time in Panama and see the country with several tour guides, and Fritz Hanselman, an archeologist who discovered a shipwreck off the coast believed to be part of Captain Henry Morgan's lost fleet. (That post is coming soon, stay tuned.)
What I found is Panama is a booming city with soaring skyscrapers towering for miles along its coastline. It's also rich with history and archelology, and was critical in the battles between Spain and England along the Spanish Main. And when it comes to outdoor adventure, Panama's got it, from lush tropical rain forests, to mountains, to miles of ocean. So here are 3 pretty good reasons to hop on a plane for the short flight to Panama City:
Famed "privateer" (or pirate, depending on which side you talk to), Captain Henry Morgan made his name taking several impenetrable Spanish forts, Panama City, and a lot of booty along the way. Besides becoming the namesake for a popular rum, Captain Morgan left his mark all over the country.