Straddling the waters of the Caribbean and North Pacific, Panama forms part of land bridge fusing North and South America. Crystal-clear turquoise waters, rugged mountains and a contemporary capital create an enticing diversity of sights. Soaring skyscrapers loom over the multicultural metropolis of Panama City, offering first-class shopping sprees, old city ruins and vibrant nightlife. Don’t leave town without witnessing the famous Panama Canal – best seen from the Miraflores locks where you can watch the colossal ships sail by. Panama also offers the best of beach life, with sandy shores all over. On the Caribbean side you’ll find the idyllic island shores of Bocas del Toro, while the Pacific side boasts the white-sand beaches of Boca Chica and the Gulf of Chiriqui National Marine Park. Numerous national parks make it easy to find your perfect hike, with the mountain town of Boquete featuring the famous Quetzal Trail. There are dozens of other activities to take the adventure level up a notch, including scuba diving with sharks, horseback riding or rock climbing in the highlands. After a tiresome day, you can let off some steam at the hot springs around the Baru Volcano. You’ll find hordes of high-class hotels in glitzy Panama City, with rustic lodges and villas hidden away in the highlands. A wide range of B&Bs and hostels are also available in most parts of the country.