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Discover Panama on a family holiday

Panama for families

Although it may not be the first place you think about for a family holiday, Panama actually has a lot to offer parents and children alike. The country is so diverse that there really is something for everyone and, if you split your time between Panama City and one of the natural parks or coastal areas, you'll almost feel as though you're having two separate trips in one.

Panama is wonderful for children with inquisitive minds, as you can not only introduce them to some of the world's most incredible nature, but also to one of the top feats of engineering on the planet. There are numerous opportunities for your kids to learn while they're on holiday in Panama, always in a fun and exciting environment.

Paying a visit to the Panama Canal is a real must, as you and the kids will be amazed by its sheer scale and the size of the ships that regularly pass through it. In Panama City, meanwhile, you can take your children on a trip back in time by walking around the Old Town district, which is full of colonial buildings, or visit Mi Pueblito - a village where you can explore houses from a selection of cultures.

The Museum of Biodiversity is an excellent place for a day out with your youngsters, with this fascinating establishment home to countless exhibits detailing South America's biodiversity and explaining why Panama is considered to be a "bridge of life".

Introducing kids to nature

After a visit to the Museum of Biodiversity, make sure you take your children into Panama's rainforests and coastline to see many of the creatures mentioned on the exhibits in real life. The Gamboa Rainforest Resort is a brilliant place to come to - and it's just a short distance from Panama City, meaning you don't have too far to travel with the kids.

There are several hotels within the Gamboa Reserve, giving you plenty of places to stay surrounded by all of Panama's incredible nature. Walks into the forest can be easily arranged and you may be lucky enough to spot the likes of capybaras, sloths, howler monkeys, iguanas, parrots and many other creatures as you explore.

A real highlight for parents and children alike will be taking a ride in the canopy-level cable car, which takes visitors through the treetops high above the rainforest floor. This presents an unrivalled opportunity to glimpse a variety of birdlife, as well as butterflies and other insects that are often spotted in the canopy.

Fun activities for the whole family

As well as exploring an exotic and thriving country, families can try a host of fun activities together during a holiday in Panama. Kayaking along one of the nation's rivers is a wonderful way to get back to nature and have a lot of fun in the process, while horseback riding in the countryside and jungle is another way to see a little more of Panama's natural landscapes.

If you're planning to spend some time on the coast, try surfing with your youngsters. The Pacific coast is particularly well known for its consistent swells and therefore makes a brilliant choice if you're keen to have a go at catching some waves.

For families with older children, white water rafting can be a lot of fun - there are several rivers around the country where you can try this activity. As well as the thrill of riding the rapids, there will also be more sedate sections where you can sit back and enjoy the sight of the rainforest gliding slowly past you.

Family-friendly hotels in Panama

While what you can see and do on a holiday in Panama is obviously important, where you stay is also something you need to consider carefully, especially when you're going to be travelling such a long way with the kids.

Luckily, Panama can fully deliver on this front, with many excellent family-friendly hotels for you to choose from, both in Panama City and elsewhere around the country. In addition to well-appointed, comfortable rooms, you'll usually have access to a swimming pool and, depending on where you stay, other facilities to help keep you and the kids occupied on any days you spend around the hotel, rather than out discovering Panama's delights.

In Panama City Beach there are some outstanding resorts for families, such as the Palmetto Inn and Suites, the Marriott's Legends Edge at Bay Point or the Osprey on the Gulf. There are many more that are well-suited to children with excellent family-friendly amenities, but the list might grow too long if we name them all. If in doubt, just check with one of our senior travel experts and enquire about the child-friendly facilities of a particular hotel that draws your interest or just ask them to point you in the right direction.

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