Panama

Seeing the Panama Canal is a dream for many guests on IE'’s Panama tours. While the canal is currently being expanded, here are four interesting facts that you may not know about one of mankind’'s greatest feats of engineering.

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Although not the most natural of attractions in Central America, the Miraflores Locks are still an important part of society in Panama and have important implications there. It is hard to imagine a time before the Panama Canal, even though it was not too long ago that it was dug out. Finished in the early 20th century, it forever changed the face of shipping in North and South America. Locks are a crucial aspect of the canal, lifting ships up 85 feet to the main elevation of the canal.

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Researchers are constantly discovering previously unknown species, and sometimes these species have been extinct for millions of years. A team of scientists from the Florida Museum of Natural History and the University of Florida recently uncovered and identified two of the oldest species of ancient camels in Panama, Aguascalietia panamaensis and Aguascalietia minuta.

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Birds, amphibians and reptiles are all exciting aspects of nature travel, but larger mammals like the three-toed sloth make for an especially memorable sight, especially for families traveling with children.

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Panama is full of fascinating sights, both man made and natural. And while exploring the historical and engineering wonders of the canal is a highlight for many first-time visitors to Panama, nature travel enthusiasts will want to check out Soberanía National Park for a different kind of excitement.

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The lush fields covering the mountainsides of Panama’s Chiriquí Highlands in Boquete are home to various forms of wildlife, including the sought-after resplendent quetzal, making nature travel through the countryside memorable for any wildlife or birding enthusiast. But they also produce one of the country's largest exports, a commodity that no traveler should pass by: coffee.

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It’s truly International Expeditions’ enthusiastic local guides that make our Panama tours so special, and no one is more passionate about his work than Panama Expedition Leader and Naturalist Ivan Hoyos! We recently asked Ivan five quick questions.

If you could be any animal, what would you be?

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Travel + Leisure readers (and our guests) have just named IE one of the Top 10 "World's Best" Tour Operators and Safari Outfitters! To qualify for the awards, tour operators were judged on six criteria, including the food. And while our small-group journeys remain committed to exploration, even confirmed "foodies" will find meals worth raving about in Earth's wild regions.

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Just 1.5 million years before humans began taking leisurely dips in the ocean, the waters were home to an immense shark "Megalodon" (formally known as Carcharocles megalodon). Despite coming in at more than 60 feet long, young C. megalodons would still have been vulnerable to other predators of their time, much like young great whites are today. According to a new study published in PLoS One the "mega-toothed shark" may have protected its young by delivering them in nurseries.

June 05, 2009

Travel Trivia: Panama

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Think you know everything in the world? Test your knowledge with our new Travel Trivia questions!

Simply e-mail your answer to our trivia question to eharley@ietravel.com. One winner will be selected at random from the correct answers to receive a prize (books, IE t-shirts and more!). There’s a new question every week, so keep trying!

What role did Panama’s Emberá Indians play in the U.S. Space Program?

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