Growing up hearing about the Panama Canal mainly in terms of how it expedites freight traffic between the Atlantic and the Pacific I had a very limited understanding of the country of Panama.
It proved to be a wonderful place to see interesting wildlife, beautiful flowers and fascinating people. The canal operates 24/7 and has a capacity of 40 ships a day. It cost anywhere from $500 for a sail boat to go through to over $200,000 for a large craft to pass through the locks.
The three-toed sloth was sighted a couple of times. Imagine sleeping 15-20 hours a day (though some teenagers could probably match that) and living your whole life in the treetops.
It seemed very far from the modern Canal Zone to go by bus then boat to visit an Embera native village. About 100 people lived there and made their living primarily by hosting tourists .The birding is exceptional in Panama. The Audubon Society for a number of years had their largest Christmas Day bird count on the Pipeline Road in Panama: 350-400 species sighted in one day.