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6 Places You Wouldn’t Think to Visit in 2014 (But You Should)

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Panama - Canal jungle2 (2)

The nation of Costa Rica has long been a popular destination for Americans, but now we’re starting to discover other parts of Central America that also offer ecotourism, adventure travel, and beautiful beaches. That’s where Panama comes in.

What’s cool about Panama is its location. It’s easy to access, with non-stop flights on Copa Airlines from Miami, Chicago, Los Angeles, and other major hubs. Plus, you can literally go surfing in the Pacific and sailing in the Caribbean on the same day.

Most people only know about the Panama Canal, or see it from a cruise ship. But what you don’t know is that there’s a whole other side of the Canal—a much wilder side called Gatun Lake.

Panama City is totally modern and accessible, but if you want a more immersive experience, there are several indigenous tribes that welcome visitors. The Embera tribe is one of them—and their livelihood depends on handmade crafts like basket weaving, wood carvings, and other crafts.

And here’s a tip: One of the best VIP tour guides on the island is Omar Ching at PBA Holding Group. He can tell you all the local hidden gems and lesser-known spots throughout the country.