Few countries of Panama's size (it's smaller than South Carolina) can pack such a diversity of landscapes and travel experiences.

Panama's rugged interior of jungle and volcanic terrain slopes down to sandy beaches, with deserted islands dotting both the Caribbean and Pacific coasts. Between Panama's natural wonders, underwater adventures, cultural sites and buzzing capital, there's plenty to fill a lengthy travel itinerary.

What's more, American-based travelers can fly to Panama in about three hours from Miami — and you won't need a visa. Read on to learn more what makes Panama such an exceptional destination, including where to go and what to do in Central America's new tropical playground.

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