A natural bridge

Scientists believe the formation of the Isthmus of Panama to be one of the most important geological events in the last 60 million years. It had an enormous impact on Earth’s climate and environment and also changed dramatically our continent’s biodiversity.

This geological event allowed plant and animal species to pass from North America to South America and vice-versa using the Isthmus as a natural bridge to populate new areas, explaining why Panama's biodiversity is so amazing! For example, felines originally coming from North America successfully invaded the vast lands of the south, becoming top predators. On the other hand, toothless mammals such as sloths, armadillos and anteaters were able to migrate from South America to the forests of the north.

Today Panama hosts almost 1,000 species of birds (more than the USA and Canada together!), as well as 220 species of mammals and 354 species of reptiles and amphibians.
As for the plants, there are more than 1800 tree species in the Canal Zone alone! Speaking of the Canal Zone there is no other capital in Latin America where you can walk a rainforest trail searching for monkeys, sloths or toucans less than 45 minutes from your hotel downtown.

Almost 30% of Panama's land is protected in 14 national parks and more than a dozen forest reserves and wildlife refuges.

A new ocean

The rising of the isthmus not only connected the American continent but it also separated the oceans, creating what we know today as the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans.

Panama's natural condition is highly influenced by the country's geography. The presence of two oceans so close one of the other and our location not far away from the equator are essential factors to provide lots of rainfall. Such abundant rainfall combined with warm temperatures creates the best environment for the development of the rainforest that still covers about 35 % of the territory.

Panama has 4 archipelagos, more than 1700 islands and islets, large extensions of mangrove and pristine coral reefs both in the Atlantic and the Pacific, which are home to a fascinating marine life. In the Atlantic (Caribbean Sea), the San Blas islands (Guna Yala) have been described as the most beautiful in the world. And to the western we have Bocas del Toro archipelago with the most incredible vegetation close to its precious beaches.

The Pacific Ocean’s particularly rich wildlife makes it a world class destination for deep sea fishing. From July to September humpback whales are a common sight around Las Perlas archipelago and the island of Coiba. Coiba is the largest island of Central America, entirely covered with untouched primary rainforest and home to numerous endemic species.>

Volcanic activity

Today what remains of the original volcanic unrest are two extinct volcanoes: Barú Volcano, the tallest peak in the country (3500 m.) in Western Panama and El Valle de Anton, a huge 5 km. wide crater 100 km west of Panama City.