Latin America is wide-ranging with some truly amazing destinations to visit, yet many are still overlooked.

Between Mexico and South America lies Central America, home to just 7 nations.

Even then some countries don’t receive the recognition they should.

Yet one of them has become very popular with Americans who want to explore the vast diversity of culture and nature.

While neighboring Costa Rica has become one of the best beach destinations in the world, Panama is more than sun and sand.

Panama is expecting just under 3 million tourists with Americans leading the way.

Here are 5 reasons why Americans love visiting this diverse Latin American country:

The Cultural Haven Of Panama City

Palm trees swaying in Panama City

Not every trip to Latin America has be high-end resorts along incredible beaches.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with that, but neither is exploring historic cultural cities.

Panama City is a mix of old and new and that’s instantly noticeable with your eyes to the skies.

At first glance, you can’t help but notice the impressive skyline, but don’t let the pizzazz throw you off as this city is jam-packed with history and cultural experiences.

Besides Mexico City, this is one of the few major cities easily accessible in Latin America that’s worth a visit.

Many avoid Guatemala City and San Jose and if we’re being honest, travelers aren’t visiting Central America’s fastest-growing country to spend the majority of their time in San Salvador.

That leaves Panama City as one of the best options for a city break which just so happens to be surrounded by stunning nature offering some of the best views in the country.

But back in the concrete jungle is an incredible nightlife scene inviting to all travelers and the historic district of Casco Viejo dating back to the 1600s tucked away from the high-rises.

Enjoy a cigar, shop for a classic Panama Hat, and indulge in traditional food dating back centuries. Some might say this side of the city is “the New Orleans of Panama”.

Safe To Visit

Colorful street in Panama City

Sometimes bigger cities get a bad rap with the fear of taking a wrong turn into a dark underbelly of crime-ridden streets.

Some of Central America’s bigger cities already touched on don’t have the best reputation and this extends west into Mexico and east into South America from Colombia to Brazil.

Panama City, and the whole country really, is widely considered a safe destination. Tourists can wander Panama’s streets without the fear of becoming victims of a crime like many other similar cities.

The U.S. State Department advises travelers to avoid the”Mosquito Gulf”, which sounds like a nightmare anyway, as well as the Darien Region.

Up, Up And Away

Passengers boarding Copa Airlines flight

Panama isn’t far away in terms of air travel and there are many flight options to get here, including Panama’s own Copa Airlines.

Copa is your best bet for a nonstop flight, but for those who remain loyal to U.S.-based carriers then American, Delta, and United offer a select few from Atlanta, Miami, and Houston.

You will likely touch down at the Tocumen International Airport just outside Panama City, the busiest airport in Central America.

Surprisingly Affordable

Waterfall Chorrillito Veraguas Panama

When you arrive in Panama City, the modern cityscape can throw you for a loop thinking you’re about to splurge.

That doesn’t have to be the case, however. Panama is surprisingly affordable and definitely cheaper than neighboring Costa Rica, while rivals their immense beautiful nature as Panama City borders a gorgeous tropical rainforest.

Costa Rica is certainly more trendy to explore jungles, waterfalls, and even beaches, but travelers can save money by going just one more country over for a very similar experience in nature and lots more to do in a vibrant cultural city.

It’s not unreasonable to get by on a $500 budget for a weeklong stay.

An Underrated Beach Vacation

Aerial view of San Blas Islands, Panama

Latin America is also jam-packed with beaches with Mexico the clear favorite destination. Panama can’t argue against that, but Panama is full of surprises including affordable all-inclusive resorts.

Within a 2-hour drive away from Panama City is the beautiful Coclé province lined with beach resorts, including brands we love like Riu.

Also not discussed as much are Panama’s islands – there are 1,000 of them! Perfect for a blissful escape away from the action-packed city life, the islands of Taboga, Coiba, and Colón are a few of the most popular.

While the bucket-list-worthy San Blas islands are unlike any other as occupied by the indigenous Gunas.

Many are easy to reach and very affordable, Panama’s beaches are yet another great reason Americans lead the pack in coming here for an awesome trip.

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