Beachside and Rainforest Resorts near Panama’s Historic Canal
It took 34 years to complete the Panama Canal, but for ships trying to get from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean, it was worth the wait. Following the canal's completion in 1914, vessels no longer had to brave the perilous Strait of Magellan at South America’s southern tip, and travel times were cut in half. The historic canal, named one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World by the American Society of Civil Engineers, is just a short trip from both the beachside Westin Playa Bonita Hotel and Gamboa Rainforest Resort, the two hotels featured in this Getaway from Jet Set Vacations. The trip also includes a guided sightseeing tour with a stop at the canal on the itinerary.
Additionally, the tour lets you explore both the modern and colonial areas of Panama City. A visit to the Casco Antiguo district, built in 1673, transports you back in time via cobblestone streets, old-fashioned plazas, and Spanish colonial architecture. You’ll visit the French Quarter and landmarks such as the San Jose Church, home to a stunning gold-covered altar.
The trip includes two nights at the Gamboa Rainforest Resort. From a hammock on the private patio, you can gaze out onto the Chagres River and the 55,000-acre Soberania National Park rainforest. To help you take full advantage of the surrounding jungle, the resort offers a number of tours (additional fees required), including a night safari and an aerial tram ride through the rainforest canopy that supplies up-close glimpses of monkeys and exotic birds.
The other three nights are spent beachside at the Westin Playa Bonita. Located a 20-minute drive from Panama City, the hotel cultivates an atmosphere of quiet and serenity. Chill in one of the tiled infinity pools overlooking the Pacific or grab a cocktail at Oasis Bar. Seven dining options run the gamut from Mediterranean to Thai food. You can nibble on a casual poolside sandwich or dress up for dinner at Café Pacifica, where the meal is complemented with spectacular views of the ocean and neighboring hills.
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