Panama City
  Panama City
Parks & beaches

Parque Natural Metropolitano
The Parque Natural Metropolitano (access via Avenida Juan Pablo II, tel. 507-232-5552, www.parquemetropolitano.org) is one of few nature parks in a very urbanized area. Three quarters of its 265ha territory is deciduous Pacific coastal forest, a rich ecosystem that has disappeared from many of Panamá's other regions. This large park is only 15min from downtown, and is inhabited by monkeys, iguanas, exotic birds and sloths.

Isla Naos
On Isla Naos, the Smithsonian Institute has opened an educational and well laid-out interpretation centre: the Centro de Exhibiciones Marinas (tel. 507-212-8793, www.stri.org), which is devoted to the understanding and preservation of the thalassic environment. Explanatory signs on a trail skirting the island's headland introduce visitors to various aspects of marine life. With a little luck, sloths or iguanas can be spotted.